It’s times like this, as the bare necessities of daily life such as food, shelter, and clothing become more difficult to afford, that we take a good look around and notice all the things you have, but never needed.


We can’t help but notice how they seem out of place amongst the rest of our more commonplace possessions. There’s no continuity or flow between the department store items that furnish our daily lives and the awesome designer fashion pieces hanging elegantly in the closet, or the soft leather sofa with matching chair that really wasn’t necessary, but that you probably just wanted.

Let’s face it

Most of what we do and things we have are experiences and possessions we mostly want rather than need.

Up until recently, I’m sure many of us have routinely surrendered to the urge to go out and purchase some new things to match the beauty of the things we previously bought on a whim.

Did I really need that?

These reactive purchases are what is known as the “Diderot Effect”, or how the act of obtaining a new possession creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more and more things. We end up acquiring  new things to go with what we previously never needed in the first place, simply to feel happy or fulfilled.

Why do we need $5 coffee, 15 pairs of shoes, a 52″ television, or a Tesla for that matter? If you bought a new dress, were the gold earrings and other accessories really necessary?

Once you start the consumption spiral, it’s really hard to kick the habit when the music stops. Of course, no one ever expects the music to actually stop.


I do believe it stopped.  There are scratch marks all over the vinyl.

While most were just following a natural tendency to become filled with more because most of what goes on in this world is out of our control, but having things, especially if we don’t need them, offers a feeling of being in charge of our own lives.

Change Course 

Theories abound on this and without going into them, let’s just say that’s it’s all understandable.

But the music, whose DJ is largely beyond our control, had the audacity to slam on the brakes.

So, now it’s time to ditch the Diderot Effect and focus on the things that matter.

I’m going to leave this here for now, but If I can just say that there is something that we do not want to lose sight of as we ponder what to do now, and that is our underlying desire to be in charge of our own lives.

I encourage you to recognize that outside of the spiritual realm, this is what truly matters. Because in taking charge of our own lives, we become the master of the tiny part of the universe we occupy, providing a sense of assurance and stability in a time and place where there are many unknowns.

Photo by Marissa Grootes

Photo by Charlota Blunarova

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