A thousand years ago, being rich involved very little money. A person’s wealth was calculated in land, slaves, chunks of gold, and jewels – the wealthy commanded respect and obedience through the ostentatious display of those things. Today, wealth is almost always expressed in terms of currency, whether naira, dollars, pounds, euro or other rich countries’ currency.
Today, money is taken as more efficient for satisfying wishes and needs, noted the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Food is good only for the hungry, medicine for the sick. Money alone is the absolute good, for it confronts not just one concrete need but NEED itself.
Unquestionably, wealth makes daily life easier, removing a source of stress that weighs heavily on most people. Money gives people a sense of freedom and security. It might confer feelings of self-esteem or act as aphrodisiac. Money controls access to precious possessions to which pleasures the poor is deprived.
But as the world is turning out today, the counterpart of the few wealthy has been the billions of world citizens born and dying without knowing anything else but hunger and disease. Most have little, if any, control over their destinies. Trapped by time, place and space, only the unlikeliest stroke of luck could lift them out of poverty.
But for the wealthy, here is the irony. People too attached to possessions become vulnerable. As persons with forms of addictions know too well, the cure to their addiction is the disease itself – inject more. Because more acquisition is so important to persons who keep acquiring more material wealth still, they keep having higher expectations for how much happiness the next possession will bring them. They attract more consumption pathologies.
Watch yourself and the persons close to you when the signs are in the thrill that comes in acquiring a thing – the pathology of the affliction called Compulsive Acquisition.
Reference: THE RICH AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY by Cynthia Grossen
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