It's worth a thought

As I write this we were travelling from Myaungmya to Yangon on a rather bumpy bus. We have just fare welled the staff and students with whom we have been working the last few days. Our students have experienced a rich cultural exchange and so the separation was a little emotional, however they have learned much from the opportunity.

One of the often repeated observations from our students is ‘how can people be so happy when they have so little?’  From our western point of view we often assess the level of success someone has achieved by the number of things they own, however this is a deception. Perhaps we ought to say that ‘the people are happy because they have so little.’  This reminds me of an article from Rolling Stone magazine some years ago where Brad Pitt was interviewed. Let me share some of it with you.

Rolling Stone: To play devil’s advocate, what is the point that they’re missing?

Pitt: The point is, the question has to be asked: “What track are we on?” Tyler starts out in the movie saying, “Man, I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us - the car, the condo, our versions of success - but if that’s the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness?” If you ask me, I say “Toss all this, we gotta find something else.” Because all I know is at this point in time, we are heading for a dead end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the spiritual being. And I don’t want that.

Rolling Stone: So if we’re heading toward this kind of existential dead end in society, what do you think should happen?

Pitt: Hey, man, I don’t have those answers yet. The emphasis now is on success and personal gain. [ Smiles ] I’m sitting in it, and I’m telling you, that’s not it. Whether you want to listen to me or not - and I say to the reader - that’s not it.

Rolling Stone: But, and I’m glad you said it first, people will read you saying that and think....

Pitt: I’m the guy who’s got everything. I know. But I’m telling you, once you get everything, then you’re just left with yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It doesn’t help you sleep any better, and you don’t wake up any better because of it. Now, no one’s going to want to hear that. I understand it. I’m sorry I’m the guy who’s got to say it. But I’m telling you.

Maybe Brad Pitt is on to something there and perhaps the numbing of the soul and the loss of the spiritual are connected. At least it aligns with my observations of this great country in which we live – where we have grown and developed and become financially more affluent, but where the loss of a connection with our Creator God has left us poor in spirit.

So what are the big and important things in your life?


It’s worth a thought.

Mark B Vodéll