There is a story that has been floating around the internet for a while that extenuates the point. An American tourist talking to a Mexican fisherman (here). It is a very striking story as to what purpose we are working towards. We just plod along through our daily lives not really looking around and admiring the world around us. We live like paupers all of our lives striving for the brass ring of old age and eternal happiness thereafter. Putting money into our savings account and promise ourselves that when we retire we will be able to do as much travel as our hearts desire. We will have more time to spend with the children and grandchildren. Remember that the goal in life is not the money!
The goal (the point) of life is happiness. We work and have jobs because we believe that the more money we have, the more happiness will be in our lives. Contrary to popular belief, this is true but only to a certain extent. Money does bring happiness, but only in small amounts. The house or apartment brings us happiness because it provides shelter to keep us out of the elements. The 8,000 square foot house does not bring you MORE happiness by itself, just more space (leaving you less time due to cleaning the monstrosity).
We brainwash ourselves by saying that the house is in a better school district. The neighbors won’t be so close, we will have space to stretch out. These are just excuses that we use to try and convince ourselves that this is the right course of action. We even project these excuses out to others around us and try to convince others that we are not materialistic. I am sure that there are smaller houses in that same school district. Bad neighbors can be had in any neighborhood.
It is the eternal problem with humans. When we receive a good feeling we believe that more of that thought or experience that gave us the good feeling initially will bring us better feelings (or in the case of drugs, the same feeling).
Unfortunately, this is not the case when we do something again. It doesn’t give us the same feeling as the first time, something is missing. It might be slight, but it is there (or not there actually). If you have ever wanted to know the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything, this was answered decades ago with 42 (Douglas Adams). The problem that people now face is finding the question to the answer of Life, The Universe and Everything.
Now on the other side of the coin I am not recommending that you sell everything that you own. There is no need to join a commune so that you can share everything equally among the other members. It is also unnecessary to live in a one room shack in the middle of a forest.
The argument that is usually made is that “I work hard for the things I have”. I don’t have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is a person that has a mansion for a home and cannot afford groceries. If their mortgage is too much or they are trying to save too much money and not enjoying life in the now than something has to change. The point is not to keep up with the Joneses. Nor is it to have the largest bank account. The point is to make sure that your life is filled with happiness and love in the now.
What do you think is the point for you?
Here is a link to a copy of the Tourist and the Mexican.