October, 2015

This is one of my favorite stories/poems of all time, and I would like to think many of us can embrace it.

Authors Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph (Joe) Heller were at a party, in a mansion on Shelter Island, surrounded by people and things worth billions of dollars.

Heller says there are “…different kinds of wealth: there is the kind we can accumulate and touch and see, and the other, which comes from a much deeper, more gratifying place.  Sometimes enough is just … enough. This is the goal, isn’t it?”

This poem was written by Kurt Vonnegut as a tribute to his friend Joseph Heller, after his death.


Joe Heller

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!”

—Kurt Vonnegut

The New Yorker, May 16th, 2005


Ambition is not a bad thing in and of itself.  To strive for perfection can be a thing of beauty.  But there is a negative side to the acquisition of trophies, money, and things.  Some people can’t stop. They’ll lie, cheat and steal to get what they want.  They’re  unhappy, and make everyone around them unhappy.  Anyone who has less than them is some how “lower”, and those with more are to be emulated and idolized.

For sure,there are people who really do need more – the basics of food, clothes, and a roof over their heads.

Assuming we have the basics, let us be happy with what we have.  Let us feel equal to all people.  Let us adopt the mantra, “I HAVE ENOUGH”…and soon we’ll know it’s true.