johnny cash’s “satisfied mind”

I recently rediscovered Johnny Cash’s version of “Satisfied Mind,” which was made famous a few years ago in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Volume 2 (in the scene where Michael Madsen’s “Budd” is about to shoot Uma Thurman’s “The Bride,” as she hunts him in his trailer).

While made famous by Cash, it was originally written and performed by Red Hayes (with Jack Rhodes), after Hayes’ father-in-law suggested to him that “the richest man in the world … is the man with a satisfied mind.”

In this way, the song does a great job of speaking to the temptations, and limitations, of material wealth. And its lyrics remind me of this quote from John Heider’s The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age (yes, today’s post will include thoughts on New Age philosophy as related to Johnny Cash):

“There is a problem with owning a lot. There is a problem with getting more and more. The more you have and the more you get, the more you have to look after. The more you might lose. Is that owning or being owned?” (#44 on linked page)

The lyrics to “Satisfied Mind” are including below, as is a video of Cash performing the song, with pictures from various stages of his illustrious career.

Cash on the limits of material wealth. But of course.

How many time have / You heard someone say

If I had his money /I could do things my way

But little they know / That it’s so hard to find

One rich man in ten / With a satisfied mind

Once I was waitin’ / In fortune and fame
Everything that I dreamed for / To get a start in life’s game

Then suddenly it happened / I lost every dime
But I’m richer by far / With a satisfied mind

Money can’t buy back / Your youth when you’re old
Or a friend when you’re lonely / Or a love that’s grown cold

The wealthiest person / Is a pauper at times
Compared to the man / With a satisfied mind

When my life has ended / And my time has run out
My friends and my loved ones / I’ll leave there’s no doubt

But one thing’s for certain / When it comes my time
I’ll leave this old world / With a satisfied mind

How many times have / You heard someone say
If I had his money / I could do things my way

But little they know / That it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten / With a satisfied mind

The Man In Black would have been 79 this week. Happy birthday, Johnny.

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Filed under American Dream, Consumerism

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