We are the most evolved society, which means we have access to everything any time. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. It means there are more things to want, and we are getting further away from our needs. It has been proven study after study that lower socio-economic countries like India have much higher happiness levels. America is strung out on anti-depressants, up 400 times in the last 2 decades! http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_117723.html I really think these things correlate.
A few years ago I went with two guy friends to Big Bend state park in Texas. It is a mountainous terrain of about 11 miles, a hikers paradise. We only did 8 miles and finally struck camp on a peak that looked over a tiny replicated scene just like the Grand Canyon. Since we were very near the Mexican border, the next day we thought nothing of paying a Mexican guy and his son less than $10 to take us all across in his little paddle boat. Talk about 3rd World! Plastic sheets for windows, not even sealed, flapping in the wind, deep orange sandy roads getting hotter by the sun, and concrete cinder blocks that served as home dividers and make-shift walls. It was fairly quiet and really desolate, but there was that oddly typical sound of a rooster cockadoodle doo in the background, his hours numbered. We found the only restaurant, opened the swinging creaky door to communal benches and waited for the lone host/cook woman. Eat here? No way! Have a cold beer? Definitely!
What I remember most about the environment was the sound and site of a little boy, maybe 8, kicking a soccer ball against some incomplete scaffolding structure. He was full of joy and energy. There was a mongrel of a dog right at his heels, chasing after the boy as he’d run to punt the rebounding ball. He kept laughing, every time the dog would almost trip him. Over and over, the monotony…but also his smile.
This was his life, what he knew. The dog and the ball were what he had and his joy was palpable.
Sometimes I would rather have the simplicity over the stress. “The richest man is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.”