Hi,

A commentary on an unattractive aspect of one’s character may be in order. For the sake of continuity, let’s illustrate with a glimpse at what I take to be a component of my own character.

I like more.

I also like “big,” “quick,” “and “full.”  I do like “better,” but prefer “best.”

This desire for completeness is perhaps partially defines me as a modern American. I suppose that the wish for “more” is not be the most attractive or compelling component of my character, but it is right up there.

I think that the American character, if such a thing may be said to exist, tends strongly in the direction of “more.”

We are compelled in no small way by the modern advertising industry, but this compulsion has allowed a certain ignorant laxness on our part. Ignorance and laziness is a bad combination in one’s character (although one might argue that it’s not as bad as my least favorite combination of character traits: arrogance, ignorance, and denial.) No offense, but you do see my point about the influence of advertising, don’t you?

Mind you, I’m not saying that this is only or even mostly a bad thing.

After all, striving for achievement or reaching for perfection is commonly reckoned to be an admirable trait. It’s something that the conscientious parent strives to instill in the character of the child. “It is…” as Martha Stewart says, “…a good thing.”

And, while it may be a useful quality to weave through one’s character, I suppose that it’s best when one is quite CONSCIOUS of that characteristic and therefore better able to willfully employ and direct one’s own desire for “more” to good effect.

Of course, living consciously doesn’t necessarily meet with universal or even personal approval.

For one thing, conscious living can be a lot of work. And for another it can result in a one’s seeing a common set of circumstances differently than many others. The resulting conflict can complicate life for a social animal with herd tendencies, like humans.

Here I’m blindly hoping that we may no longer be discussing me, or my character.

Ha!

This isn’t such high-faluting philosophizing as it might seem at first. The desire for more can influence the most everyday of our activities, often with unimagined (and certainly unintended) consequences.

I’ll give you a recent example, to discretely return to my own experience.

Here we are in Illinois, a state that has never made my list for “most interesting” for anything, despite what you may have read in previous postings on www.elotrowa.com. We’re headed to the Iowa State Fair; I do imagine that the Iowa State Fair will be interesting, as will the I-80 Truck stop, the world’s largest. But for purpose of this illustration we’re in Springfield. We’re touring Abraham Lincoln’s home and the very well-done museum that bears his name. We’re also fortuitously booked into a Bed and Breakfast called The Barn. The Barn is located two hours to the northwest of Springfield, and in the general direction of the Iowa State Fair. The schedule we’ve set for the day is quite manageable.

You’ve got the picture?

But who could guess that Springfield would be so attractive and that we might wish to spend another day poking around the city itself? Or who could foresee that the Barn is such a special place as might warrant a whole additional day of rest and relaxation?

But our (my) desire for “more,” in this case more “quickness,” more “adherence” to schedule, more “consistency” with the plan is not so admirable. In fact my desire for more gets in the way of the best outcomes. The desire to get to someplace other than where we are is preventing us from enjoying Springfield and, in turn, the Barn, to a more fulsome point.

We’re anxious to make it to the Iowa State Fair before all of the vegetables wilt and as a result incompletely experience two places otherwise fully available to us.

It seems that sometimes the desire for more can hinder the full appreciation of what one already has. Were I a comedian or a philosopher, I might call this “irony.” But I’m neither, and so we’ll just catalog this as another interesting fact of life.

Anyway, I recommend Springfield, Illinois to you all, and the Barn Bed and breakfast in Dahinda, IL (www.thebarnbedandbreakfast.com) warrants at least a couple of nights when you’re in the neighborhood.

Bill

The Barn, A Bed and Breakfast.

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