I couldn’t help but notice that lately to survive, we have to have money. We need it to satisfy our basic needs of food, water and shelter. And for all of the accessory things we ‘need’ such as travel, electricity, entertainment and clothes. Our developed, industrialized and materialistic society is changing the way that we live.
It is no more important to us that we can run fast, hunt well, and share food in our community in order to survive. Aspiring athletes don’t have a better chance of survival because they have high endurance, cardiovascular capacity, strength and agility, but academics appear to be the key to a wholesome life. Having the ability to manipulate the industry in such a way that you make the most produce and win the most prize is highly valued. We now have introduced a concept where we can apparently own land. We value the economy, exchange rates, profit and loss. We receive great satisfaction at the ‘ownership’ of a piece of paper with a picture of a significant person’s head and writing saying “50 dollars”. But is this satisfaction real? How many people receive great happiness from earning money?
After watching the documentary I Am (by Tom Shadyac) it became apparent to me that there is a point where materialistic objects stop creating happiness. Imagine you were left with absolutely nothing, rid of all of your possessions with no shelter or food. Let’s say, you’re naked in the middle of a forest in the middle of the night. If, at that point, you came across a dimly lit hut with a fire providing warmth, and a small portion of food, some old clothes and friendly people willing to care for you, this would create happiness. You would value everything that you received. However, if you then came across a house with all of the basics (food, water, shelter, comfort) plus a TV, bed, chandelier, balcony, heated pool, spa bath, internet, and an extensive supply of clothes – would happiness lose it’s meaning?
We are entrapped in a domain where greed is good. We fitfully work day and night to produce money, make profit, just so that we can buy the accessories which drain our happiness. Our natural world where the concept ‘survival of the fittest’ once reigned as left the human world. We now function on the concept that money is happiness. That there is now a ‘cost of living’ that can only be meet by the artificial invention of money.
I understand how we are lucky to be living within a capitalist society, however it defines us a producers, not people. It is designed to produce profit. We are economic citizens if we are ill. And money is only put into health by the government so that we can work and boost the economy.
Every system we operate under is going to present a flaw. But we can at the least work to minimise these.
It is well known that Charles Darwin discovered the concept of competition of survival in nature. However not much emphasis is put on compassion, love and sharing. How many people are aware that Charles mentioned the word ‘love’ a great deal more than ‘competition’ in his original writings? Maybe we can convert this to our everyday thinking and living. Focus on love, not competition. We have the ability to share what we have and to create more happiness from this. How much more meaningful is this than continuing on being greedy and tirelessly competing against each other?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
– Charles Darwin