The secret ingredient of happiness


The most prophetic thing Thomas Merton ever did was to say to a Louisville shopkeeper who asked him what brand of toothpaste he preferred, “I don’t care”. Merton was intrigued and troubled by the store clerk’s response. “He almost dropped dead” he wrote,  “I was supposed to feel strongly about Colgate or Pepsodent or something with five colours. And they all have a secret ingredient. But I didn’t care about the secret ingredient ….the worst thing you can do now is not care about these things”

This not-caring attitude is important to hold onto these days and still prophetic, because the ultimate goal of the marketer is to have us see consumer products not as mere things, but as keys to our identity.  Brands are marks that owners out on their property, often by painful means, and we are in perilous territory when our self-image, and even our self-worth, is founded on which brands and labels we can afford to purchase and display.

Kathleen Norris, The Secret Ingredient

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