We live at an era in which humanity have enough resources to feed, dress, shelter and educate every living sole on this planet. A quick look around, however, reveals just how far we are from fulfilling these goals.
The governing economic rule is “the winner takes it all“. The goal of those living by it is to get the most for themselves, each according to his/hers appetite. Greed and selfishness are no longer a moral issue, and instead are considered as normal part of modern living.
Most of us are convinced that the more we own – the happier we are. Many believe, consciously or unconsciously, that the way to test our happiness is by evaluating the things we own or are capable of owning rather than by testing our spirit, integrity, wisdom and all the other virtues that guide us.
It is common knowledge that an increase in income (beyond a certain point) is not benefiting to the mental health of its owner. Not many social science researchers have studied, however, the effect that thriving for wealth has on our happiness.
In two studies conducted by Tim Kasser of Knox College (which will not be covered here) the following patterns emerged:
- Those that adopt material values and desires report high level of anxiety, are in more danger of developing depression and experience uncomfortable physical symptoms far more than those that are less material driven.
- When people set up material goals in life, they are unable to improve their happiness even when they fulfill their goals. The real price of choosing such a life style is double. The time and spiritual efforts needed to achieve these material goals are subtracted from the resources such people can set up for achieving goals that prefer self development, relationships and community.
Eric Hoffer put it best – “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy “.