I was listening to MSNBC on the radio the other day when a feature came on entitled, ‘The Good Life.’ They proceeded to discuss a $14,000 dessert being offered in Sri Lanka that included, amongst other things, an aquamarine. No kidding. This is how MSNBC characterizes the good life. It struck me how in our culture we define the good life more in terms of the consumption of material goods than in relationship to any other quality. Cristal Champagne, Expensive Cars, First Class Jet Airline Seats, Bling…
Simply listen to the vast majority of contemporary music on the airwaves these days for confirmation. I have two teenagers in my house so I know all too well: Cristal champagne, expensive cars, first class jet airline seats, bling…the list goes on and on. This is what our kids are being taught: the good life is about having things, not about who you are as a human being. Where are these values coming from? I believe it is a trickle down effect from what they see being honored in our society. How is it that so many People who have so Many Things have lives that Lack so much Satisfaction and Meaning?
So if the good life is about having things, how is it that so many people who have so many things have lives that lack so much satisfaction and meaning? I am not saying that having money is not a good thing, quite the contrary. We all need financial security. We need to know that we can provide for our families and be free of the pressure of struggling to make ends meet. We all want to live a comfortable life. But where is the point of no return?
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), (attributed)
The Worldwide Institute in its 2004 State of the World report explains:
Societies focused on well being involved more interaction with family, friends, and neighbors, a more direct experience of nature, and more attention to finding fulfillment and creative expression than in accumulating goods. They emphasize lifestyles that avoid abusing your own health, other people, or the natural world. In short, they yield a deeper sense of satisfaction with life than many people report experiencing today.
What Provides for a Satisfying Life?
In recent years, psychologists studying measures of life satisfaction have largely confirmed the old adage that money can’t buy happiness — at least not for people who are already affluent. The disconnection between money and happiness in wealthy countries is perhaps most clearly illustrated when growth in income in industrial countries is plotted against levels of happiness. In the United States, for example, the average person’s income more than doubled between 1957 and 2002, yet the share of people reporting themselves to be "very happy" over that period remained static. So if Growth in Income has not made People Happier than obviously they are not Living the Good Life
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