‘Cause we’re livin’ in a material world…


Les Murray’s 1999 poem “ The Cool Green” takes aim at the emptiness of the contemporary soul. No longer are humans motivated by art, enlightenment, nature or searching for the meaning of life. No. Making money now drives human desire. We value the elevated status that money brings rather than our basic accomplishments.

“Our waking dreams feature money everywhere

but in our sleeping dreams

it is strange and rare.

How did money capture life

away from poetry, ideology, religion?

It didn’t want our souls.”

The last two stanzas of Murray’s poem sums up perfectly the modern world we live in. We have sold our souls to jobs that we hate only because it pays well – it allows us to live the lifestyle we are accustomed to. At what price?

Five years ago I walked away from very successful career and a highly paid job. I had lost the passion for the industry I had worked so hard to achieve in. I was well respected and well known. I walked away. I wanted my soul back. I needed my soul back. I came to realise that there were more important things in life. I was not prepared to sacrifice my happiness for the sake of a well paying job. I discovered that the more money I have, the more I spend. I have a house full of `nice’ things – but I don’t need any of it. In the end, none of it matters. What matters is if you are a good person, how you treat your fellow human beings, what you give out to the world.

“this type of modern life- is it for me?

this type of modern life- is it for free?”

-American Life: Madonna Ciccone (2003)


2 Replies to “‘Cause we’re livin’ in a material world…”

  1. Hi Brendon!

    I must certainly have enjoyed reading your analysis on “The Cool Green” by Les Murray as it is a fantastic poem and it is interesting to see what you have written about it. I too agree that money has, as you state, “humans are no longer motivated by art, enlightenment, nature or searching for the meaning of life” but instead have become compulsive, materialistic beings that have become soulless.

    Your personal experience is very intriguing and I enjoyed learning more about you and how you see your life and what brings happiness to your life which is liberating to read. I too agree that treating people kind and being a good person, brings more happiness to your life than what unlimited amounts of money will.

    I just wanted to suggest that because Les Murray views money as an “alien” it suggests that people that enjoy the luxurious lifestyle do not recognise its impact and how its power is blind to the human eye.

    Great entry Brendon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Maria,
    Thanks for your feedback- it is very much appreciated and I am glad you enjoyed my post. I too agree with your view on people that enjoy the luxurious lifestyle do not realise the impact it has. Thanks for stopping by.


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