That’s my favorite anti-materialistic quote. Every time I feel sad or lost, I always try to remind myself of that. The problem is, in my opinion, that we generally tend to link our happiness to owning stuff. We see someone happy and assume that it’s because of some kind of materialistic wealth, and we don’t tend to think about other aspects of their lives. And don’t think that it’s because of capitalism, technology, bla bla. It was always like that. Having a primarily materialistic world view is natural because as long as we are made out of atoms, we will be craving for atoms.
So while living an ascetic life is not we are made for and one can certainly find joy in consumerism, embrace the idea that happiness is about finding inner peace, inner beauty, and inner love in yourself, others and nature. I’m sure that it’s a hard pill to swallow, but consider this: you have a higher quality of life than the richest, most powerful person had a 1,000 years ago (especially if you live in a developed country). Many of the things are very easy to get today that simply did not exist in the past. And yet, there were happy people in the past.
Money is important, but centering one’s life around money sounds like a living hell to me. Not because it’s selfish (it might be, but not necessarily), but because while living so you are being controlled by your desires. And who forms your desires? You think you always do? Think again. Artificial desires are being created by those who have the solution: the entire advertising industry is based on this simple idea.