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Death And Materialism

“For I am involved in mankind., Therefore, send not to know, For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” John Donne 

“The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.” God 

Depressing as it may seem to say, you’re going to die. Are you ready? The wise man lives knowing his days are limited. 

death photoIn the town of Montclair where my wife and I reside there are these large houses. In the summer, when Sylvia was well, we would drive around for ‘estate sales.’ The reason for these elaborate garage sales was that either somebody was moving or somebody had passed away. My wife and I would enter these domains hunting for some kind of treasures. I liked looking at the books and she was in search of a great bargain. Usually, the houses were packed full of all sorts of stuff.

Upon reflection, these huge houses full of crap were a vacant testimony of a person’s life. They had spent their years buying and accumulating stuff all to die and leave everything behind. Perhaps in their life, these possessions brought them some measure of pleasure. I really don’t think so, for I have learned in life that material possessions do not satisfy people. In fact, the pursuit of mammon is a fault on par to alcoholism or drug addiction. When one tries to buy things to make themselves happy they consistently need to buy things. There is no end to the addiction always seeking out the next treasure.

Of course, this society teaches materialism. Christmas is the biggest holiday and that involves buying expensive gifts for others. In fact, some people will go into debt, buying presents by charging them on their credit cards. Now there is some kind of Amazon day. This is pure manipulation. I hear the advertisements where there is going to be special deals on the computer at various times throughout the day. So I guess people will be constantly clicking away to see if they can get a good buy. It reminds me of Kmart when they used to have their blue light specials.

I understand that my wife suffering from dementia is soon to pass away. A couple of friends from church came by and we cleaned up the apartment. It took several long days spread over weeks. I took so many clothes that Sylvia was no longer going to be able to use. I easily dumped a dozen of those large construction bags into the container where one could donate clothes. Now the house is a lot lighter and manageable. There is truly a time and season for everything.

Of course, because of the society we live in we are in constant need of money. I want to point out that this is only a phenomenon of capitalism and things don’t have to be this way in life. There have been many societies that functioned perfectly well with different systems. The Native Americans are an excellent example who lived in a society where there was no poor and almost no war or crime. Furthermore, they accomplished this while not having prisons of psychiatric hospitals. As it is in capitalistic America they will literally let you die if you can’t pay the bills.

We have heard those horrendous stories about how insurance companies have canceled policies because people contracted a serious illness and treatment would be very expensive. The people who did that are the scum of the Earth but it is a very revealing feature of our society, that is all business is in practice to make money. Sadly we have reduced life into dollars and cents where money holds more value than human beings. For the sake of profits, they will let you suffer and die, or even kill you. War too is a business, perhaps the biggest racket in the world.

And then you die.

Some people refuse to think about death but it is inevitable. I saw a bumper sticker which said: “Whoever has the most toys when they die wins.” I cannot disagree more with that statement. Life is about love, and our worth is measured in not how much we accumulated but how much we helped our fellow man.

It is sad that this planet Earth, which holds so much promise, is raped and rampaged by greedy men lusting after mammon. But you don’t have to live your life that way. You don’t have to compete with your neighbor over what you possess. You don’t need the latest styles and fashions, where some stupid label triples or quadruples the price. No, you don’t have to sell your soul for the dollar bill.

Please check out my book “Sunset Sonnets.” It is a spiritual look at death and dying.

Death And Materialism

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Death And Materialism. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from


Last updated: 4 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jul 2018
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