The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Closing Thoughts on Money and Happiness

The river of happiness is fed far less by wealth than by the streams of ordinary pleasures. "What keeps our faith cheerful," says Garrison Keillor, "is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music, and books, raising kids - all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle [and happy] people."

- The Pursuit of Happiness

Dear God, what have I been missing?! Perhaps the sense of joy that comes, as Garrison Keillor suggests, through more ordinary, ongoing moments of cheer - through identifying with children as they ride their adolescent roller coasters, through laughter and tears shared with friends, through work created and completed, through daily games of pickup basketball with friends, through happy recollections of Chinese tearooms, of family beach fires, of falling in love.

Realizing that well-being is something other than being well-off is liberating. It liberates us from spending tons of money on fancy SUVs and waterfront beach homes - all purchased in a vain quest for an elusive joy. It liberates us from envying the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It liberates us to invest ourselves in developing traits, attitudes, relationships, activities, environments, and spiritual resources that will promote our own, and others', well-being.

This is the path that I hope I am on, and with Dr. S's help, I sincerely hope I am successful on this journey.


Blogger Mark Buckaway said...

The adage "money cannot buy happiness" is so true, yet, so very much misunderstood.

For the most part, buying things only serves as a short term fix for the need for new things. Once we have one new thing, we find we get bored or it, and buy another. Manufacturers all know this fact and keep inventing new things to fill this need for new things. The thing itself is not relavent. It would be as smart as a Tim's coffee, to as large as a house. Once the thing is hand, the "high" is felt, but it soon subsides. Anyone that is a drug addict knows this high: except, this shopping addiction high, if you will, is socially acceptable.

In that, things can never provide happiness; therefore, neither can money. We can be very happy without much money. Surprisingly, a lot of homeless people are there by choice - they like the lifestyle (this does not apply to all) of being able to do whatever whenever without resposibility to anyone. One can be happy having nothing by a bag and the clothes on one's back.

A second point is, life is a struggle. It is meant to be a struggle. It is that struggle that gives life meaning. If I had all the money in the world, I would not be happy. This life would come to easily. I imagine this is a problem for Mr. Bill Gates as well as the reason he gives away so much of his money. I cannot imagine myself in a position where money was not a problem. I would get bored very fast. Even if I didn't have to work, how may university degrees could I get before that is no longer a challenge?

Lastly, eternal happiness comes from within. It comes from being at peice with yourself and understanding yourself. When you truly understand yourself, you can truly understand others, and this leads to happiness. However, this is a difficult concept to explain. As they say with the Tao, if you can explain it, you do not truly understand it.

5:40 AM  

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