Better to Have and Not Need

A glutton has an endless desire to accumulate more. They are always hungry, and their appetites are never sated. Like the glutton, the materialist has the same appetite, only theirs are for things. They can never have enough. If it is shiny and new, or if it is rare and hard to find, they want it.

Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.

Franz Kafka

The beauty of Kafka’s words is that it goes beyond gluttony and materialism. It seems to speak of something of a higher nature. Like the carpenter, it is not about having all the hammers but having the right variety of hammers capable of performing the necessary work.

Rather than outside possessions, consider the following internal possessions:

Can you have too much knowledge, too much wisdom? We all know the consequences of a lack in one of these, but there is no harm in an excess.

Can you have too much discipline or too great a work ethic?

What about courage? Better to be courageous, than to lack it in your time of need.

Would you rather have an abundance of faith or not enough of it?

What about love? Antonio Porchia said, “In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing.” Without love in your heart, you will truly be barren.

Food comes and goes. Too much spoils. If you eat too much, your body will hold an undesirable excess.

Possessions will only last for a short time. Fortune gives and takes away. Whatever you have left in the end, you will leave behind.

The acquisition of virtue is sublime. It imprints a mark on your eternal soul. And wherever the soul travels in this life or the next, its character will remain intact. Better to have on that day of your need than to be without and suffer the consequences.


Feature photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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