johnjoseph wrote:He was content to enjoy the simple. ..but at the cost of others
That's an excellent brief summary but still far too complex to understand his behaviour which is what has made him newsworthy. He led a life of privation for decades while scavenging the work of others. He also was not a simpleton since he did exhibit cunning in not being caught sooner. Scavenging or living off the efforts of others is common; our politicians and governments do it quite successfully. They just raise it to a higher art form, but basically it is still theft.
The man said he was "content" and I believe him, but how can we understand what he did if we don't know what content is? Here is a dictionary definition:
in a state of peaceful happiness.
satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more.
That's no definition at all since it raises more questions about emotional states that we also do not understand. We know and experience these feelings but not the how and why. For instance; is "content" the presence of something or the absence of something else like anxiety? That immediately raises the question of what is anxiety and does it even apply?
My point is that we are in a similar state of ignorance in the field of human emotion as the ancient Greeks were in the understanding of elements. We need to understand the elemental in behaviour to make sense of it and avoid the detrimental. I don't need to know the elements of water if I am thirsty and want a drink of it, but I do need to know them if I want to make use of one of them. Almost all of modern science and technology would be impossible without elemental understanding.
This mans seeming irrationality is so bizarre that I think it worthwhile to find out the rational reasons. A world in perpetual war might benefit.