A million dollars. Mansions, cars, the best clothes ,shoes, the glitz and the glamour, and all the bling in the world. Travelling all over the globe, a private helicopter or two, and 43 dollar Harrod’s instant noodles. Chicken and mushroom flavoured.
Flip to the other side of the coin, and face reality, where around 1.5 children die of starvation every year.
I will be addressing a rather serious issue, concerning, today’s society’s mindless chase after an expensive, lavish lifestyle, while showing complete disregard for our very own fellow human beings, who aren’t even nearly as fortunate. Through the course of my article, I will be throwing light on how this menace, is a threat to humanity, and will be highlighting solutions to address this problem.
Man has come a long way, but so has his greed. His awful, insatiable greed. This selfishness of human beings is the very reason for the existence of such disparities in the world today. There’s the filthy rich, and the dirt poor.
Coming to the first issue related to this problem – chasing after a fancy life is killing the benevolence in our nature. How? The famous clothing brand, Abercrombie and Fitch would destroy its clothes rather than donate them to the homeless, because, according to an employee, only people of a certain “stature” can wear their clothes. We choose to upgrade from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5, but sell the older one instead of donating it. We have eight to ten pairsof shoes, and we’re reluctant on giving away even one to someone who actually needs them. The lust, the madness we have for all these material objects are blinding us. So much, that we cannot see all the suffering around us. Humanity can learn a lesson from Mr Warren Buffett,an American investor, who is one of the richest men in the world. He lives in the same home as he did 20 years ago. He chooses to drive his own car. Even though he owns a number of airlines, he chooses to travel by economy. He can buy almost everything under the sun, but he chooses to live a frugal life having promised 99% of his riches to charity. 99% of the earnings of a billionaire have been promised to charity, whereas some of us cannot even spare an old piece of clothing for someone who needs it. We cannot bear the thought of having someone else own what is ours.
We choose to hide behind inanimate objects to define our worth. Which brings me to the next issue associated with our problem. To begin with, why do we even desire to have such a fancy lifestyle? That’s simply because we try to fill up the void inside ourselves with mere objects. We start finding happiness in things. We start seeking joy in owning. We must understand that creating ourselves is not about buying that perfect bag that matches your new dress accurately. It is about acquiring values and knowledge. It is about developing your personality. It is about valuing the people in your life. Let your relationships not deteriorate, by valuing material things more than emotions.
Here we come to the third and the most grave problem that I would like to throw light on today: Material wealth has made us ungrateful.We want to be perfect. We want everything for ourselves. We have an urge to accumulate.
A few days ago, when I was randomly going through various blogs on WordPress, I realised that an ugly paradox exists in this world. Some people can never get anything, and some will continue to get what they want, and still ask for more. I came across a teenage girls’ blog where she was ranting on about how her parents won’t buy her the latest version of the iPad and how much she hates them. Could we be so ungrateful as to be so focused on what we don’t have, so much that we forget to appreciate what we already possess? Remember that while we want a palace, some are content with just a roof on their heads. We need air conditioning when some are happy enjoying the breeze outside. Some of us show displeasure when we cannot have the most lavish meals at a seven star restaurant, when some cannot even afford two square meals in a day. We have been blinded, ladies and gentlemen. Blinded, to such an extent that we have lost track of that thin line. I am talking about the thin line that lies between what we WANT and what we NEED.
I am certainly not implying that spending on luxuries is immoral. All I am trying to put forth is that, making them the center of our existence is not the right thing to do. Let us remember that “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” in the words of Ben Carson. My point her is, to tell you, that you need to give more than you take. And I can assure you that, there will be true contentment, there will be true satisfaction. “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there will be peace” quoting John Lennon. So go out there, find someone in need, and give. Give them your love, give them your support. Give them that old bag or that worn out pair of socks. Because they know the true worth of such items that you had forgotten about long ago . See the joy on their faces. Trust me, it is way better, than buying some 43 dollar instant noodles. It’s what you can call, true happiness.
By Shamshir Malik