How Much is Enough? Enough is Enough

David Sirota writes in In These Times about Embracing Enough.  How much is enough?  I consider this one of the most important for humans to answer both for themselves and to out a reasonable relationship with the other people on this planet.  He writes:

Of all the no-no’s in contemporary –and there are many–none has proven more taboo than the ancient of dayenu. Translated from the original Hebrew, the word roughly means “It would have been enough.” The principle is that a certain amount of a finite resource should satisfy even the gluttons among us.

I know, I know–to even mention that notion is jarring in a nation whose consumer, epicurean and cultures have been respectively defined by the megastore, the Big Mac and the worship of the billionaire. Considering that, it’s amazing the word “enough” still exists in the American vernacular at all. But exist it does, and more than that–the term’s morality is actually starting to suffuse the highest-profile debates in the public square.

Observers of politics in almost any era, have probably exclaimed, “Enough is enough!”  Politics and power are prone to excess.  Resisting the ability to acquire something when someone has the power to acquire it is perhaps the most difficult human challenge.  In fact, that is the whole of by its very is about restraint, not doing something that we could do.  Thus the concept of “enough” is integral to defining the boundaries of one’s .  I agree with the author of this article that somehow the concept of enough is viewed as anti-American.  This probably goes a long way to explain why many people are critical of ’s behavior, i.e., the of it.  In discourse, I usually see the term as a code word for overrunning boundaries.  Ironically, it is often people of the traditionally conservative bent, who view themselves as particularly , that seem to espouse so-called .  On close inspection, you will likely note that when they are espousing , it is typically their own .  This sets up a certain aspect of lovers, demanding a or restraint in behavior in others and expecting that their own desires for be respected.  It is this derived from overblown that eats away at the social fabric.  Certainly, a just of requires a just of between oneself and others.  Unfortunately, it is all too convenient to demand morality of another in lieu of the difficult task of restraining their own desires and abilities, i.e., behaving morally and ethically ourselves.  Of course, this takes us back to the concept of power.  Perhaps the great privilege of power is the ability to enforce an unjust of .  In other words, in having greater power we have a greater ability to act unjustly, immorally, and unethically.  Thus, the truism that with greater power comes greater , being legitimately held to a higher standard.  Unfortunately, and perhaps ironically, having greater power gives a greater ability to enforce a different standard for other people than ourselves.  I suspect this is why politics, the way we deal with power between people, is routinely and authentically observed as much of the .

Ultimately, to be free and , we need to define how much is enough.  We cannot outsource this to the free .  We cannot blame it on others.  At some point we need to declare, and act in accordance with, enough is enough!

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