Essay on my Opinion: Can Money Buy Happiness?
The French Designer Coco Chanel famously said, ‘There are people who have money and people who are rich.’ Most of the people in this world think that money and happiness are related and hence, they feel the need for money to attain happiness. This is a very myopic way of looking at life and the concept of happiness. True, everyone defines happiness differently. For some people, happiness is defined by materialistic things. However, for some people, happiness is a state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to joy. Hence, happiness is mostly associated with friends, family, true love and talent. Money is nothing but a medium of exchange. Money is incapable of buying happiness in itself and is merely reflects the intent of the wielder and is a slave to its owner in addition to being subservient to humanness and companionship.
Family are friends are highly likely to make a person happy. Monetary success pales in comparison to the longevity and the endurance of content that a close, well-meaning group of loved ones can bring. History teaches us that an overwhelmingly large number of business leaders and successful, wealthy artists and professionals were quintessential family women or men. This testify the fact that one succeeds not despite family, rather because of family. It is simple to understand-money is an inanimate concept, devoid of a life and any loyalty. It has to be worked for to be generated. Even relationships are hard work, but they are anything but inanimate.
Mostly, friends, family, and relatives are the kind of people who have always been with one for a considerable part of one’s life, creating good memories. Often, money is a medium to buy things that we do not need, but are compelled or lured into buying by clever marketers. Such ‘bursts’ of material-induced happiness are short-lived. Au contraire, it is friends and family that create a base for a memory and actually alter our state of mind. Consider this. If one is asked to think back of a time when he or she experienced real happiness, chances are the responses would be typically of an occasion involving people such as a holiday or a wedding or the beginning of a relationship than the purchase of a new car or the ownership of a large house. Some people think that having friends is a treasure.
If historical events are a precursor to the future, it is all too evident that the presence of money is no safeguard against depression or loneliness. A number of accomplished and seemingly successful lives that ended in tragedy bring out this dichotomy. Robbie Williams was one such man who had it all-success, fame, money. We don’t have to delve deep into history to come up with more names. In India, where the movie artists are adored and idealized, there are regular reports of stars battling depression and occasionally, committing suicide. It just doesn’t fit. If they have fame and money, what explains this emptiness that gnaws at the insides of them till they give up?
The only conclusion is that money and happiness are independent and not in a causal relationship though a content personal life can release enough bandwidth in a person’s life to strive for professional and commercial success. There also was this very interesting research which was conducted in rich countries like the USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It is found that the effects of living alone in a house, having no friends and isolation had an effect on the risk of dying earlier equal to that of obesity. There also was another study which included 148 different kinds of studies and 300,000 participants, found that people with greater social life were associated with a 50% reduced risk of dying early. (Quote from the research and cite the sources)
It would certainly be an overreach to vilify money. It is worth what it is. It does take away the ambiguity from the world and ensures a yardstick for recognizing and rewarding labor and enterprise. Money helps people get their basic necessities in life like food, shelter, clothing and to a certain extent, experiences. Like most of the things, it can be used or abused. A drive to earn more money, bordering on greed and obsession qualifies as an abuse of money. Because this drive is not intrinsic to all humans (Though it is reasonably argued that in today’s world, it is to most), it can be inferred that money is what one makes of money. The cliché of it being a double-edged sword holds quite true.
The perceived relationship between money and happiness has witnessed a shift over the years. In a world that is thought of being increasingly materialistic and money-driven, the idea of money buying love is gaining currency. In the last century or so, it finds repeated references in popular culture mediums such as movies, literature, and music. A recent study interestingly shows that money can actually buy love. According to a study, women these days look for two things in men; their wealth and looks. This is a fallacy, in which one equates an affair to love. Not to mention, it is extremely sexist, as it shows women as gold-diggers, which is an insult to half of the society that works as hard, sometimes much harder, than men to claim their dues. Referencing back to the research, however, it is evident that money can actually give a person a status, a successful life, which in turn is found attractive.
For all it is worth, money can actually buy happiness. A positive development has been witnessed in the past few years as regards to people’s perception of money. People have found that money can buy happiness-if spent for others. Most billionaires have pledged away almost all their wealth for philanthropic causes. Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Azim Premji are a few in this stellar list. The outlook that money can be used to bring happiness in live of others, and in turn, can bring happiness in the lives of the giver, is fast finding popularity. It is a healthy trend that shows money as an enabler, not as a divisive element.
In the light of the above, it is reasonable to conclude that money is inanimate and as such, not capable of producing human emotions such as happiness and sadness. There are numerous examples scattered throughout history that show penniless ascetics in a perpetual state of bliss and extremely wealthy men and women emotionally shattered and lonely. Family and friends being human, can respond to emotional stimulus and cues, something that money cannot do. Despite all this, do we see a world moving towards an era that will not be ruled by the moneyed and the wealthy who oppress and subjugate the have-nots. It is for humanity to decide on that question.
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