The Concept Of Enough

You don’t need to be rich, famous, or powerful to be happy. You just need enough


When you hear about someone famous or rich you think “oh they must be happy, I’d be happy if I was like that.” But are they? Rich and famous people don’t seem more happy than anybody else. Often less. Whatever they have, it doesn’t seem to work, or at least it wears off.

When I was young I thought I wouldn’t be complete without power but now I’m generally powerless and it feels fine. I have some marginal control over a Beagle and avoid most oppression and this is more than enough. The people with power seemed stressed out all the time.

Especially when I was younger (I’m 40 now) I thought of happiness through other peoples’ eyes, how they would look at me, how they would talk about me, how they would feel. But as I got older I got experiences of that approval and it meant very little either way. Beyond the general feeling of not being a pox on your community, beyond the comfort of not being marginalized, I’m not sure how much happier you can be.

Our society is based on this driving ambition, not to start a company but to make a startup, not to run a profitable business but to make a killing, not to have enough but have a lot. But is it enough? Do we have a concept of enough?

The Global Village

Marshall McCluhan talked about the global village, how electronic media extended the experience of a village across ever vaster time and space. I think it’s really true that democracy, a technology means for city-states, would not function without mass media (especially TV), and also that it has become terribly corrupted at scale.

But that sense of a global village isn’t an abstract thing, we really live in it. You are reading this, for example, you probably hear more from me than your neighbors. I actually respond to people on my newsletter whereas I don’t email relatives at all. Our village theoretically involves everyone on Earth, but practically we build our own communities that are very small. We keep in close contact with maybe a hundred or so people on average.

If someone does become famous, it’s usually a rather one-sided interaction. Many people might feel close to…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at