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We may be forced to see, even if only briefly, the deeper bankruptcy of desire-driven materialism. But we Americans do so only reluctantly, and will likely do so only so long as the recession forces it upon us. I understand that the deprivations of the Great Depression also drew people closer together for a while, but they also left deep emotional scars; our traditions do offer us some access to comfort and wisdom, but they can also exact a price in the curtailment of what we allow ourselves to consider humanly possible, and can fuel more suffering through rabid absolutism. It seems we err if we offer blind trust either to traditon or to modernity.; we must not forget that both are, in large part, human creations, and our creations are as imperfect as we are.