People try to rationalize the world around them and frustration comes from the persistent irrationality other people introduce into the mix. We all do it, make mistakes, mess things up for others. The result is that we make others unhappy at least as often as we make them happy. That can’t be the way things are supposed to work. There has to be some other way to redesign things for them o work. Yeah, I’m idealistic like that.
A long time ago it occurred to me that part of the reason for being here, being alive, is to make things easier for others. Contrary to popular belief – at least what most people appear to believe in the ME generation, life is not about self, but instead it is all about others. It appears to be otherwise because that’s what we want to believe, being focused internally. After all, in an existential sense, the only person we are relatively sure exists is self, right?
Until you start to look at those who are focused on self and see where they are headed, you will probably pursue their goals. You see their wealth, power and influence over others and it appears they have an enviable life, except it is all focused on self and, if you really get to know them they are often the most insufferable assholes you have ever met. It’s not always the case. There are some nice people who make it and somehow they aren’t corrupted. Whether it is their rearing or the integrity of their spiritual centers, they are not all about money or themselves, even though they have some wealth and appear o be as popular as even the most self driven people.
Life’s journey is not smooth, no matter how much wealth you accumulate. Unless the selfish turn a page and begin to help others, they wind up miserable despite all their wealth and power. You may say you’d like to be that miserable, if only for a day, but wealth and power destroys people from the inside because, if their focus is on self, what else is there that can be affected?
You may wonder why some people are compelled to give millions even billions away to charity. Billionaires giving away half their fortunes to benefit others. Do they achieve some sen of enlightenment? I believe there comes at point at which you realize that money is a way of keeping score between selfish people and that after you have too much – more than you can possibly ever spend on selfish pursuits – you decide to do something else with it. Maybe it’s a means of making amends for how the money was acquired, soothing a guilty conscience. Maybe it is just becoming aware of the disparity between the haves and the have nots in the world. You see, for all the good having money can do to a person, there is balance as well. Money can and does destroy lives as often as it makes them.
I’m no preacher and I’m certainly no saint. I’ve read the Scriptures, though, and the often misquoted line about the money being the root of all evil comes to mind. The actual phrase states that it is the LOVE of money that is to blame. So in the effort to satisfy self and rack up all the points in the game, drubbing the competition into submission in a way measured in dollar bills and pennies, worshipping money is what destroys relationships with others around us and the world in general.
What amazes me is that when I was in high school a general concept occurred to me. I had more in common with people who had not money than with those who had it, simply because my parents taught me to respect money but not worship it. A lot of the people around me in school strove to wear the newest clothes, and appear to be well-to-do even if they were not. For a time I fell into that trap as well, wanting to fit in. But then, I started seeing how hollow and plastic many of the cool people were. By the time I reached college, the lines between were even more clearly drawn. The egotistical, rich guys driving the fancy sports car that was a graduation present, hitting on the prettiest girls. They were cliche. The real people were the students who worked jobs to pay for expenses, had scholarships or grants and wanted to be there.
Yes, I get it that it is easier to have money than to not have it, but the question becomes how much do you really need. The answer is just enough. Only you can define what is enough, I suppose. For me, over the course of my life, I have had money and I have not had it. In some ways life was easier when I had money, but in other ways it was not. There was a good deal more stress in my life. My wife was focused on money far more than I was and always wanted more. She needed for me to strive for a better position where I worked – even though I was relatively happy and comfortable doing what I did and made a good living at it. She wanted a better house, more things, better futures for the kids. It’s hard to argue with any of that because it is all ties into the American Dream, doesn’t it? In pursuit of satisfying her goals I became unhappy and focused on the wrong things. As a direct result our financial situation deteriorated. And eventually so did our marriage fail.
Out of tragedy comes some good though. You see, when you’re least happy with the world around you, you become compelled to reshape it in some way. With me, I started creating a fantasy world way back when I was a kid and, the more my marriage was falling apart, the more I wanted to create a fantasy world where I could find some peace of mind. I don’t know whether I started out with that as my life’s goal but it’s simple. If you’re not happy with your world, make a different one. In my case I created one with my writing. Actually just the one into which all my books fit in some way. It may be similar in some ways to the world around us but not always. That’s the beauty of fiction, you make the rules as you go.
#fiction #philosophy #life #wealth #money #happiness