More gets a bad wrap. People like me are always writing and raving about the dangers of our MORE obsession. About how our insatiable desire for abundance destroys and deceives us.
But there is another side to our pursuit of More. There is a case to be made that pursuing More leads to innovation, growth, and learning. It is the spur that catalyzes our progress.
So maybe More really is the answer.
Our obsession with More is dangerous because we have idolized it and derailed its potential.
But at the heart of it, our longing for More is a deep inherent hope for beauty and goodness, for truth and love. We want to experience more of life. More is the opposite of apathy, of settling for a life of complacency and indifference. It drives and moves us.
And so, there is within us this beautiful desire for More. It flows like a straight river through our very souls.
The danger comes when we take this straight river and start to dig our own trenches. We try to move the river, remaking it in our own image. We pervert the good desire for More so much that it becomes unrecognizable in its evil. It becomes an idol – we’ll take more of anything. Anything! Just more, more, more. Or we hone in on a lie we believe – more sex, money, social validation. We repurpose the good desire for More into something gross, destructive, and incompatible with the true nature of what we want.
And so we are in conflict. There remains within us this steady, straight-flowing river. But we cannot stay on course. We do not trust its current. And our lives become a scatter of derailments.
How do we get back to the river? How to reclaim the beauty of More? It starts by asking the simple and obvious question: More of what?
More of What
As imperfect human beings, there are nagging realities we have to deal with. Uncertainty. Pain. Negative emotions. And these are a part of our existence we cannot truly eliminate. But we try to.
So, for most of us, the obsession with More becomes an attempt to eradicate those elements of existence that do not feel good. We try to avoid uncertainty. We try to avoid difficult circumstances. We try to manipulate the approval of others. We think more money and better looking physical features will help us in these endeavors. We imagine people can’t argue with power and will acknowledge/value us when we are famous. So we go for that. And more of it. And more of it.
The reason more does not work in these cases is not because the idea of more is evil in and of itself but because we have attached it to evil enterprises. If a little of something is inadequate, more of it is just more inadequate. And that is the experience many of us have with trying to satisfy our longing for more.
When my wife and I traveled the world, we saw another side of More. We saw how diversity leads to More truth, how the vastly unique cultures we encountered opened us up to deeper levels of understanding, compassion, and truth. This is why humans are made for families and to participate in community. It gives us More of the good stuff.
The difficulty is that More of the good stuff often requires pressing into those unassailable realities of human existence – uncertainty, discomfort, etc.
So, at the end of the day, we have a choice to make. Love – truly loving ourselves AND one another. Or superficiality – lusting after ourselves alone. No matter which path we choose to place our trust in, the desire for More will be prevalent. It will lead us further into truth or further into destruction.