Can money bring you happiness?

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1 year ago

Whoever created money did it to help you be happy

Recently, in my household, a debate arose about the relationship between money and happiness. When the economy is tight: it becomes a priority to obtain money to satisfy basic needs.

Philosophizing about money and happiness on an empty stomach becomes inconsequential. In fact! It brings to my mind the model of an eminent American psychologist of the last century. 

You may have heard of Maslow's pyramid! 

Well! Several years ago, I read "Motivation and Personality." where Abraham Maslow developed the model to explain his arguments about need satisfaction. I remember my surprise when I discovered in the text that he did not use only the pyramid figure, as I had learned in the Management Capsules in the classroom. 

On the contrary, the generative idea pointed to a tiered model that varies based on how people perceive their needs. So, if you are still thinking about Maslow's pyramid: Know that there are staggered variants where the order of the steps is not immutable. 

Come back to the mentioned debate. One of my sons asserted the non-relevance of money, sparking a heated argument between them. My wife acted as an attentive referee in the fray: not intervening without reason. Meanwhile, in the other room, I sat at my computer and continued with the work I love: reading and writing.

Besides, no one came to me to ask my opinion, so intervening would be an intrusion; I would have been wrong to act as an unconsulted judge nor as a policeman. Without a doubt, money is an omnipresent issue in the consumerist world in which we live. Oh, I suppose you've had similar debates at home too.

Now! I don't know if you noticed a missing and relevant detail in my anecdote. Yes! So, ask yourself, what is happiness? You will agree about the imperiousness of money to the system we live in as an instrument to satisfy needs and wants.

But does money bring you happiness?

Fortunately, the first question (as a brilliant article made me remember) has an answer by eminent philosophers with still valid prescriptions; And it is available in the information age to anyone with access to the internet and avid curiosity.

Image generated by Stable Diffusion and edited by me.

However, if I know anything from experience, it is the difference between the ideal and reality. Feeling reality and understanding it: takes us to another philosophical dimension.

In any case, in short: happiness is a state of mind that derives from the satisfaction of enjoying the beauty of the moment, having friends with whom to share the beauty of the here and now, enjoying what we work on, and learning to live with less. 

Wait a minute, friend! You may say, what do you mean, learning to live with less? And I hear you! The consumerist paradigm tells you that it's conformism and self-justification to soothe the shortages.

To avoid deprivation in this life, you must earn a lot of money, and with it comes the pleasures you deserve. Hence the saying: "Money does not bring happiness (peace of mind), but how it helps."

You see, money brings peace of mind! You'll jump out at me when you read the above. Hahaha, Just a digression on my part.

Imagine the mental state of a billionaire who sees his portfolio turn to salt and water in a market crash. Let's be a bit more extreme, the taxman (out of legalism) decided to confiscate all his assets. 

Well, okay, I'm exaggerating! 

In any case, peace of mind or soul, as the ancients used to say, does not depend on the intrinsic quality of money. Perhaps tranquility is a function of what is needed to live. Hence the expression: One is rich who needs the least.

So, you and I agree that money brings us relative material and emotional stability. Besides, it is a fact that both excesses and shortages are harmful. It is pertinent then to establish the difference between pleasure and happiness (although related) are not synonymous. 

Pleasure is eminently sensorial and fleeting, while happiness transcends the material plane by prolonging the enjoyment of the here and now. It is, indeed, a kind of spiritual experience.

Furthermore, he considers that many of today's problems stem from the excesses that money allows when it becomes an end in (itself) and a means (power) to abuse others. 

Money can even lead to self-destructive behaviors that come from comfort. Yeh! It sounds crazy but thinks of obesity and malnutrition: two sides of the same coin. I hope the example is sufficiently explicit.

There is nothing wrong with money, and how it can help you to be happy. 

Then the relevant thing would be to determine how much money I need to be happy. 

Perhaps it would be necessary to determine the money-happiness threshold. 

Ask yourself, how happy are Billionaires? 

Or perhaps, how unhappy are beggars?

I suspect both groups will have something in common that goes beyond money. Of course, generalizing produces judgment biases. There will be happy billionaires as well as supposed beggars. 

In any case, don't forget the advice of ancient philosophers and try to implement it in your life. Maybe you will find happiness in yourself with a little or a lot of money in your wallet.

Image generated by Stable Diffusion and edited by me.

Final thoughts

I'll be blunt, but I only see one problem with today's money (fiat), it attempts against the happiness of the person because it undermines freedom by being inflationary. 

Yes, fiduciary money based on infinite debt is an instrument of slavery that concentrates wealth (goods and services) in those who issue the money.

Ask yourself, can anyone without freedom be happy?

Maybe yes. But I have my doubts.

So, the rise of Bitcoin should not surprise you: a bid to return the freedom hijacked by the current system. Let's hope that the Bitcoin experiment will contribute significantly to happiness for people by giving them greater financial freedom. 

An original article by @Jnavedan

The thumbnail by Stable Diffusion (Open source AI)

Cover image from Stable Diffusion (AI) edited by me.

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