Why is it that things have assumed such an immense importance in our lives? Why is it that things, property, houses, clothes, and so on, take such a dominant place in our lives? Is it because we merely need them, or is it that we depend upon them for our psychological happiness? We all need clothes, food, and shelter. This is obvious. But why is it that they have assumed such tremendous importance, significance? Things assume such disproportionate value and significance because we psychologically depend on them for our well being. They feed our vanity; they give us social prestige; they give us the means for procuring power. We use them in order to achieve purposes other than what they in themselves signify. We need food, clothes, shelter, which is natural and not perverting, but when we depend upon things for our gratification, when things become psychological necessities, they assume an altogether disproportionate value and importance, and hence the struggle and conflict to possess, and the various means to hold those things upon which we depend.
Ask yourself this question: Am I dependent on things for my psychological happiness, satisfaction? If you earnestly seek to answer this apparently simple question you will discover the complex process of your thought and feeling. If things are a physical necessity, then you put an intelligent limitation on them, then they do not assume that overwhelming importance which they have when they become a psychological necessity. In this way you begin to understand the nature of sensation and gratification; for the mind that would understand truth must be free of such bondages. To free the mind from sensation and satisfaction, you must begin with those sensations with which you are familiar, and there lay the right foundation for understanding. Sensation has its place, and by comprehending it, it does not assume the stupid distortion which it has now.
1st Public Talk 26th May, 1940