What Matters

March 27, 2011
By AliceDean GOLD, Skopje, Other
AliceDean GOLD, Skopje, Other
11 articles 10 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
The happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.

Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.

'One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human.' — C.S. Lewis

'Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.' — Rowena Ravenclaw

Every story has an end, but in life every end is just a new beginning.

‘Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really Great make you feel that you, too, can become great.’ — Mark Twain

‘Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.’ — Plato

‘I am only one, but I still am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.’ — Edward Everett Hale

‘You are no bigger than the things that annoy you.’ — Jerry Bundsen

‘Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.’ — Jeff Valdez

'What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.' — Mark Twain

'Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.' — Benjamin Franklin

'What is essential is invisible to the eye.' — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in "The Little Prince"

'If you're holding out for universal popularity, you'll be waiting a long time.' — Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

'I have balls of yarn.' - Monika Spancheska

'Well, it [the news] changes every day, you see.' - Harry Potter

'You can't give a Dementor the old one-two!' - Harry Potter

'And they'd [the Death Eaters] love to have me. We'd be best pals if they didn't keep trying to do me in.' - Harry Potter

'There's no need to call me sir Professor.' - Harry Potter

'A Study of Hogwarts Prefects and Their Later Careers... That sounds fascinating...' - Ron Weasley

'I want to fix that in my memory forever. Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret...' - Ron Weasley

'Because that's what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library. - Ron Weasley

'Can I have a look at Uranus, too, Lavender?' - Ron Weasley

'...from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell 'die, Ron, die,' I'm chucking them in the bin where they belong.' - Ron Weasley

'Percy wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy.' - Ron Weasley

'And what in the name of Merlin’s most baggy Y Fronts was that about?' - Ron Weasley

'Well, I don't know how to break this to you, but I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts.' - Ron Weasley

'Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.' - Hermione Granger

'Grawp's about sixteen feet tall, enjoys ripping up twenty-foot pine trees, and knows me as Hermy.' - Hermione Granger

'To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.' - Albus Dumbledore

'It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Fear of a name increases fear of a thing itself.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!' - Albus Dumbledore

'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.' - Albus Dumbledore

'You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.' - Albus Dumbledore

'I do love knitting patterns.' - Albus Dumbledore

'And now Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.' - Albus Dumbledore

'I would assume that you were going to offer me refreshment, but the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Time is making fools of us again.' - Albus Dumbledore

'It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.' - Albus Dumbledore

'From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundation of fact and journeying together through the murky marshes of memory into thickets of wildest guesswork.' - Albus Dumbledore

'What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?' - Albus Dumbledore

Of course, any time the family produced someone halfway decent they were disowned.- Sirius Black

'The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure.' - Severus Snape

'Ah, of course. There is no need to tell me any more, Ms. Granger. Which one of you will be dying this year?' - Minerva McGonagall

'Really, what has got into you all today? Not that it matters, but that's the first time my transformation's not got applause from a class' - Minerva McGonagall

'We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.' - Minerva McGonagall

'I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid.' - Lily Evans

'You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts...but you cannot deny he's got style...' - Phineas Nigellus

'I'll join you when hell freezes over.' - Neville Longbotom

In his essay “On Dumpster Diving,” Lars Eighner narrates about surviving solely from Dumpster diving and gives practical advice, should anyone ever find him- or herself in a situation similar to Eigner’s. He polemicizes about the property of the items found in Dumpsters – whether they are public or private – and how much could be learned about a person from the things they throw away. Eighner concludes the essay by verbalizing his opinions on wealth and materialism. He feels that, besides himself, only the very wealthy know that there is a lot more of everything where it came from. However, they think so because they can afford more of anything, not because they understand the “transience of material being,” like Eighner does (para. 78). Being put in a situation where he was left with only his sentiments, Eighner has learned that any value of material things is relative; what is valuable to some might be valueless to others. Therefore, to achieve “a healthy state of mind,” one should not greedily hold on to their material possessions, for they will eventually lose their value, and focus more on the abstract values, such as emotions, memories, and feelings (para. 78.)

People are faced with great losses every day – that is just a part of life. Nonetheless, these losses are not all equal. Some of the most recent tragedies that have struck mankind are the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Australia. Many people lost everything they own; more important, however, is the number of people that lost their lives when these natural disasters struck. While some wept over a new television set that was destroyed, others mourned a loved one that was taken away without a last laugh, a last hug, a last word – ‘goodbye’. Even though our world is selfish and materialistic, one must remember that “what is essential is invisible to the eye,” as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so deftly put it. Those little things that remind one of someone special or of a magical moment, those memories are the things that truly matter. Because, in the end, memories are the only things they have left.

Everyone values things differently. That is because everyone has different priorities; some yearn for recognition, others wish for independence. Education, for instance, and its value are a frequent topic of discussion. Numerous children in the poorest parts of the world do not even have the opportunity to get any kind of education. They would gladly exchange places with some of the high school students who choose to drop out for various reasons each day. Additionally, while many college students rely on their parents for allowance of every kind, some have to work several jobs and get loans just to cover the cost of tuition. These two groups of people have fairly different priorities. Therefore, they value things differently. And it cannot be judged solely from one group’s opinions of how valuable something is – it is all relative. Furthermore, even personal opinions change; thus, something that was once incredibly worthy may be worth nothing today for one same person.

To realize the truths about materialism, selfishness, and wealth, one must really stop and think about the world surrounding them. Nevertheless, one should not be shocked or forced to such thinking by a specific event. These should be topics for everybody to ponder on on a regular basis. Only then could “a healthy state of mind” be achieved (para. 78).

The author's comments:
Prompt: Carefully read paragraphs 74 through 80 of Lars Eighner’s essay “On Dumpster Diving,” and then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies Eighner’s attitudes toward materialism and wealth. Use evidence from your observation, experience, or reading to support your position.

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