Material Things and Happiness

Thursday, October 21, 2004
I don't like it when people say "Material things don't make me happy" because really these people are full of it.

How can I be so materialistic? People who know me know I am not, I live way below my means and don't really buy flashy or expensive things .... besides jeans :) I just think people need to qualify their answer slightly. I mean if material things don't make you happy then why work at all? Unless you have a job you love why not just do whatever you want however impractical? Your house is a material object. Your clothes are material objects. You have a job to pay for these things. So if your job makes you miserable why do it if not for these material things?

I think the better statement might be "Past a certain point, material things don't make me happy". I wonder if the people who make the first claim have ever been really poor. I mean really poor. I mean living without a roof over their head. I mean wondering when the next time you might eat. I mean wondering how you are going to pay the doctor to look at your sick child.

I live a comfortable life. Will buying a huge house and that new Mercedes make me exponentially happier? To some degree sure but it wouldn't make everything great if everything else in my life was crap. Having great friends and people who love you are by far more important, but please don't discount the importance of having money. Too many people do, but that's because they have it.


susan said...

I always wonder about those people who scrimp and save and live in very poor condition and then die and leave some college millions of dollars. I guess material things matter less to them than they do to me. But I agree with you, past a certain point, material things don't matter. That point is just different for different people.

Jenny said...

Terrence, I think what people mean when they say that material things don't bring them happiness is to say that material things don't bring them happiness as a means to the end. Certainly you have a good point, that there is some amount of happiness which is derived from material things. However, I think that happiness is never complete and it just adds to a situation.

However, it is when looking to find happiness solely through material things that we get disillusioned because those material things cannot fully bring joy. So, in your instance of owning a house, there is some amount of happiness that people have by having a place of shelter, in giving them a space of their own to show their identity, etc. However, having a house just to make one happy will never fully succeed because I think that full happiness cannot come from an inanimate thing.

Anonymous said...

I been poor before and i have a met a wonderful rich man that gives me everythin i dream of but never has timefor me i am more miserable now then when i was poor