How you make your money is more important than how much you make.
We don’t value people
(As much as I feel we should)
Because we have ‘too much access’ to people.
This is something of a supply and demand issue.
As a general principle
We tend to value less which is more abundant
And this can apply to people.
You’d probably be much happier to see another person
After spending a year alone in the wilderness
Than you’d be
Spending yet another day (another year?)
Fighting through the crowds at your metro station
If there were less of us, maybe we’d value each other more.
Though seeing as this is probably not going to happen any time soon
We should come up with better ways to value each other
Ways that take into account how many of us that there are now.
Put another way
Come up with a way not to dehumanise people
Considering how many people there are.
The current MO is to treasure a small group of people
And look on at everyone else with some degree of ambiguity or neutrality.
Are there ways of valuing everyone equally without the ‘us and them’ mentality?
In other words – can we think of everyone as part of our ‘in-group’?
I don’t know.
Perhaps imagine that one of those people
In the teeming mass of humanity that surrounds you
Is the only person that you have seen in the last 10 years?
Note: this probably doesn’t apply to people who enjoy their work, though I have read this is less than half of people who do…
When you think about it
The workplace is a con.
Taken to its worst extreme
It’s an absurd situation.
The idea that
You have to get up before you want to
Put on clothes you wouldn’t choose to wear
And travel to a place
To do work you don’t want to do
For people you don’t really care for.
And this is for five-sevenths of your week
And one-third of your waking hours (…but realistically more)
Of course, many of these hours are your best hours
The better part of the day, in which you have the most energy
And get the best ideas
And this all eats up the better part of your ‘productive’ life,
When you are young, vital and most capable.
The sooner you realise
How sorry a state of affairs it all is
How much a wholesale theft of your very life it all is
And the sooner that you come up with a means to support yourself
That doesn’t involve this masochistic slog
You can take pride
In working for a noble cause.
You must surely expect more from your life
Than working for a living
Whilst you die inside.
Just because you’re proud of who you are,
Doesn’t mean you hate other people.
(…though many people do).
Seek to be understood by others
But do not seek to understand others.
Assume that you are understood by others
Whilst not seeking to understand them.
There’s that old saying:
“Money can’t buy happiness”
The phrase is incorrect.
Though it perhaps serves a purpose:
Helping those of us who don’t have enough money
To feel better about things.
Here are some examples where money can buy happiness:
There is the first, obvious, example:
Money has the ability to alleviate your material needs
(…emphasis here on your ‘material needs‘, not your ‘material wants‘)
These include a roof over your head
And food in your belly.
This, by default,
Will increase your happiness,
By curtailing the things that make you unhappy.
Things like being hungry and exposed to the elements.
Photo by Christopher Combe Photography
Disregarding the obvious and logical question
Around exactly how much you really need…
(…answers on a postcard, please)
This alone is a pretty good argument
For redistributing some wealth
From those who have ‘more than they know what to do with’
(…people who are long past the point where additional money creates any improvement)
To those who need only a little more to be noticeably happier.
I take the oft-cited example
Of the über-wealthy person
Who spends millions on luxury goods
That he’ll soon tire of.
Put another way
Why buy another shitty piece of modernist art
When you could feed an entire village,
Somewhere in the developing world
For a long time?
I don’t know.
That’s the subject for another day, and I’ll leave it here.
Money can buy happiness another way too.
One that is tied closely to the first.
This, of course, is
(…with a few caveats.)
Studies seem to show that
Charity can make the giver very happy
The money is given voluntarily
In ways that the giver can see
Tangibly benefit the recipient(s).
In this way
Having more money (than you actually need) can make you happy.
You have to give lots of it away
And see the good that it’s doing in the world
Seems like a pretty good argument for giving more, don’t you think?
Cover photo by Hipnos
We celebrate diverse* perspectives
But with limits.
We can’t celebrate diversity around
Our core values
Such as ‘not killing people who disagree with you’.
As such, diversity can’t really be considered an absolute
That we either ‘have’, or ‘don’t have’.
It’s more a matter of degree – about how many perspectives that we are ‘willing’ to allow.
Or how many perspectives are ‘practical’ within
Where we draw the line between ‘acceptable’ and ‘not’
Helps to draw a distinction between cultures.
If ‘our’ line and ‘their’ line
The cultures will probably have trouble ‘getting along’.
Photo by vwcampin
With thanks to Sam Harris for the idea
*Please note, I refer to diversity of perspectives, not ‘intersectional’ diversity.
Cover Photo by La caverne aux trésors
Here’s a thought:
When was the last time someone said something
That actually made you change your mind?
If you don’t remember, that’s OK.
It seems normal,
Based on the very small, very informal research that I’ve done.
Making a note next time it happens
You’ll probably notice that it doesn’t happen very often.
If ever at all.
And why is that, anyway?
If we look at the modern world,
The global labour market
And the relentless forward march of technology.
The fundamental growing economic problem
Appears to be
An increasing ‘oversupply’ of humans.
Here’s what I mean;
The trend of ‘human obsolescence’ seems to show
That less and less of us are ‘necessary’
From an economic perspective.
But, as we know,
There are more and more humans
More every year, in fact.
The question is, really,
Barring people making the conscious decision to ‘breed less’
(…which seems doubtful on aggregate)
What shall we do with this growing ‘oversupply’ of humans?
I don’t have answers
Though it would seem like
Some massive, mandatory redistribution of wealth would be required
From the few who are still ‘economically relevant’
To the many who are not.
And if not,
What becomes of the ‘have nots’?
And all of this
Is to say nothing of
The resources we continue to use up
The damage we do to the world
And all the spaces
That we swallow with concrete.
And it all goes without saying,
That there’s far more to life
Than being ‘economically useful’.
There is a tendency
To think of people
More as ‘consumers’ than ‘citizens’
Though it wasn’t always this way.
As a result, you’re expected to consume (i.e. ‘take’)
Not to contribute (i.e. ‘give’)*
Or, dare I say,
You’re expected to contribute through consuming.
The result of this
This could be seen as
A zero-sum game:
Economy vs environment.
If you don’t buy, the economy suffers
If you do buy, the planet suffers
(…though this largely depends on how/what you consume, I suppose).
And it creates another issue.
An ‘all take, no give’ approach to existence
Which is existentially bankrupt.
It’s tied to a crisis of meaning
That I think has something do with
Why the people who have so much
Are often so unhappy.
We have a class of hard-working people
Who feel that their work has no meaning
Because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Like many of us
These people want to contribute
They want to give
They want to be part of something meaningful
But feel that they can’t
Is towards consumption.
And the fact that they’re all so fucking busy
All of the fucking time.
Keeping it all going.
Sure, there are transcendent moments
And exceptions to the routine:
Raising a child
Perhaps volunteering in one’s limited free time
Things like that.
But these are mere brief interludes
In the perennial workday.
And much of this, I think,
Comes down to this idea that everyone’s a ‘consumer’
Not a ‘contributor’, or a ‘citizen’.
You give so much of your time and energy
And you want something back for it in return.
But when you sell off
Too much of your time and your energy
You come to realise that
There’s not enough money in the world to justify what you’ve done.
And you can’t get it back.
And maybe by this point
You don’t have anything left to give anyway.
This is what ‘being’ a consumer has done to you.
*with the exception, perhaps, of making your tax contributions
Cover photo by