Strip away the effective marketing campaigns that inspire Acquisition Lust, and what’s left? Remove the cultural conditioning that programs us like so many robots, the script that compels us to want-need-desire-require more, and what do you have?
Many of us find meaning in life through a maniacal pursuit of money and the things it can buy us. Those who have already secured more money than they could ever spend on the necessities of life, people with a net worth far beyond average American’s wealth — not to mention the average Citizen of Earth — don’t seem content unless they’re socking away an ever-expanding “nest egg,” no matter how empty the larder of their fellow striver. The impulse, it seems, is to have more, do more, be more.
But more of what? More food? More space? More sex? More power? More solitude? Less solitude?
Practically speaking, if you have a million dollars, is two million going to buy you a better quality of supper? Is the difference between, say, a 3,000 square-foot home and a 4,500 square-foot home a demonstrably deeper sense of happiness? Indeed, one could argue the converse: Knowing that so many souls have so little, might not having so much instill a sense of self-loathing, a disgust at obsessively hoarding funds (and food and space) when others, through no fault other than being born in the wrong place, must suffer the indignities of financial inequality?
Read the Wall Street Journal and you’ll become attuned to the spectacular, unfathomable wealth possessed by the people that this newspaper lionizes. Never mind that they, like all good capitalists, earned their fortune on the backs of legions of laborers. They won. In this model, the meaning of life, it seems, is to always be getting and spending.
If the arbiters of success are to be believed, you never have enough.