Thursday, January 03, 2013

Where Satisfaction is Found

Linda with her father Del

It's not life's failures that mostly disappoint us. Rather, it's life's successes that leave us empty and dissatisfied. "Satisfaction," writes Miroslav Volf, "is threatened by the pursuit of pleasure."

Volf writes:

"Almost paradoxically, we remain dissatisfied in the midst of experiencing satisfaction. We compare our “pleasures” to those of others and begin to envy them. The fine new Honda of our modest dreams is a source of dissatisfaction when we see a neighbor’s new Mercedes. But even when we win the game of comparisons—when we park in front of our garage the best model of the most expensive car—our victory is hollow, melancholy. As Gratiano puts it in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, “All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed.” First, marked as we are by what philosophers call self-transcendence, in our imagination we are always already beyond any state we have reached. Whatever we have, we want more and different things, and when we have climbed to the top, a sense of disappointment clouds the triumph. Our striving can therefore find proper rest only when we find joy in something infinite. For Christians, this something is God." (Volf, Miroslav, A Public Faith, Kindle Locations 1090-1097)