Audre Lorde / On Contentedness and Stopping



"About stealing food from supermarkets -- I felt that if we needed it badly enough, we would not get caught. And truth to tell, I stopped doing it when I no longer had to, and I never did get caught."
~Audre Lorde, "Zami: A New Spelling Of My Name" (p.216)

In coming to know the wisdom behind the saying "everything in moderation", I've found that contentedness is what actually allows us to live according to this wisdom. I've also found that capitalism does not encourage contentedness, rather it encourages unlimited consumption and discontent that can only be cured by two things: "more" or "new".

This quote from Audre Lorde is beautiful to me because it shows she was in tune enough with that wisdom to know that her theft was justified as long as she NEEDED it, and that it was no longer justified when she no longer needed it. And only her internal conscience could measure that, not laws, not commandments, not anything outside of herself. She was honest enough with herself and in tune with her inner voice enough to recognize the point at which she should stop -- and that, more than the traditional literal morality of "not stealing", is what I see as a wonderful human characteristic.