Does money buy happiness?
This week at our discussion group, we discussed the topic of MONEY. We started our discussion by asking the question of whether or not we believed money could buy someone’s happiness. This question is packed with deeper questions, such as, what is happiness? what exactly do we mean when we talk about ‘money’? We discussed how some of the richest people (but not all) are not happy but in fact are sad, angry, depressed, sick, etc. We also talked about people who have very little material possessions and yet who are happy, flourishing, fulfilled. These examples forced us to look deeper at our definition of happiness.
Can we define ‘money’ as material wealth and possessions? What about the way we manipulate the monetary system by using numbers that exist solely online? What about all of the stocks, investments and bank accounts that function without the actual hard copy of paper bills? Money is obviously much more complex- it is a game. A game that ultimately rules a lot of people’s lives, due to the way that it rules our societies and cultures. The “work grind” is a grind many of us are familiar with. We work hard and often put aside other aspects of our lives, whether family, friends, social life, community participation, for the goal of making and saving up a lot of money. For what? What is the end goal to the work grind? To retire comfortably? To work away most of our lives so that “one day” we can reach a state of peace? Is it possible to reach this state, after a lifetime addicted to work?
Our discussion spiraled into many directions: money=power we decided. Those with the most money in the world also have the most power. So we often want money, so that we can have some power. We want to own our own businesses, we want to make decisions and have authority over our lives. But, if everyone is chasing this dream, we can safely assume that the vast majority of us will be left disappointed. In a group of, let’s say 20, if we all want to have power and to have the most money, we will compete and fight and hate each other until one is left on top. Perhaps we spend our whole lives fighting each other, working to compete, to please, to get ahead.. and then we miss the whole ride. What if we changed this idea and instead worked together? What if we collaborated, rather than competed and put our efforts together as a community, to throw in all of our different talents and strengths and grow from there?
Ultimately, we could all agree that money is important in today’s world. Money rules many people’s lives, in ways that are often unjust and unbalanced. We need to remember that money is something we created and gave meaning. A system ruled by money is not one that is celebrated nor recognized by all peoples and cultures and sometimes it’s possible to exist outside of this system. It’s possible to do something for someone that helps them in some way, while they do the same for you. It’s possible to cheat on capitalism. It’s possible to be creative when we are working to succeed and more importantly, to find peace with our families and happiness in ourselves. The “good life” doesn’t have to be the life we see in the movies, music videos and celebrity lifestyles. Most of the time, those lives are merely images and mirages; they are rarely as good as they appear. Let’s make the good life one where we seek peace and community and see how that affects the way we participate with and work for M O N E Y.
Thanks for coming and we’ll see you next week!!