Everyone Wants to be a Millionaire

June 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Have you ever noticed that everyone wants to be a millionaire? Or, at least look like one. Las Vegas is probably the ultimate manifestation of the market trying to satisfy this almost universal desire, allowing the common man the chance to experience the “good life”. Cell phones, large houses, expensive cars and perhaps even an air of indifference to those around us – we communicate to others with these symbols of seeming success. The problem is that these benchmarks aren’t necessarily rooted in reality even though we convince ourselves of many “needs.” I’ve lived in large houses and found that I usually end up in the same three rooms, day after day, while the others collected dust until its occasional use.

But, where does this universal desire come from? My guess is that it grows from another universal, but rarely acknowledged human condition – insecurity of self. Speaking from my own experience I think it stems from the desire to attract others to you – be it parents, siblings, friends or lovers. They are symbols of success and happiness we use to communicate indirectly simply because we don’t know any better. We don’t know where to find happiness and we don’t know what to communicate. But, like the blind leading the blind we continue looking for happiness in the same place our parents did, the same places our friends look and where society tells us we’ll find it.

Is this necessarily a bad dynamic? Well, in my opinion it has two major consequences. One, by seeking fulfillment in others, happiness will continue to elude us. And, if dealing with depressed people were the only consequence, I wouldn’t necessarily bother you. But, it is the second consequence that disturbs me: that we’re destroying our planet in this seemingly ever expanding cycle of consumption that gets us nowhere but more frustrated because what we bought hasn’t made us any happier! Sustainability dictates that we have to “get over” this indirect communication with the stuff in our lives.

You won’t find existential happiness in the stuff you buy or in the relationships these symbols attract. But I think it primarily comes from you liking yourself. And, the intimate relationships we seek can only result after we’ve made peace with ourselves. But, when you finally do, you have something to offer that is both unique and that you believe in. No, not everyone is going to like what you have to offer, but that’s okay. The only people we truly want in our lives are those who appreciate us for who we are and we definitely don’t need to be a millionaire to do it either. :-)

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Entry filed under: Philosophy, Sustainability.

A Trickle-Up Economy? Our Common Future

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