In a series of articles I have tried to analyze (based on this) the role of work and leisure in finding happiness. Previously, I discussed how work and leisure should be the same, and that there is nothing morally wrong with having leisure as the only goal of your life. This time, I plan to share my thoughts on the role that capitalists play in forcing us to set wrong priorities. You see, so many of my friends and family members are obsessed with possessions. They are consumed by shopping and owning, and while I do see them to be somewhat happy occasionally, most of the time, though, they are living lives consumed by work. Some of them work so hard that the very things they buy cannot be enjoyed by them because they have no time. My brother in law bought a vacation home in Orlando that he has not visited in three years because he just does not have a week to spare.
So who is to blame? The culprits are corporations, whose sole mission is limitless profits. The only way that is possible if there are workers and consumers, both mindlessly willing to make and buy whatever stuff they can be brainwashed into buying. Don’t get me wrong; I love gadgets, cars, luxury goods, etc., but my goal is to buy only what I absolutely need, what enhances my happiness, gives me more time, but not because the next guy has it or that I will look bad because he has something that I don’t. I own an inexpensive mobile phone because of the convenience of being able to make a phone call in an emergency, but not an overpriced smart phone (I am sure that they make sense for some because they need them or have too much money to spare). I have a nice comfortable car that makes me life better, but not a Maserati because my friends have it. With this approach, my focus is always my needs, additional time and happiness, but I hardly pay attention to products that have no real use for me.
Ladies and gentlemen, the key is to think before mindlessly buying stuff that you don’t need at all (remember that before a product existed we lived without it, just fine, I should say) or need only rarely (remember so many things can be rented and that is why I don’t own vacation homes). Never forget that the main mission in life is happiness and for vast majority of people, happiness does not come from possessions.