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Saturday, July 3, 2010

From July 3, year agotoday..."Airplane" turns 30

"Money Can't Buy You Love"

Does money buy happiness?

No, but money can supply your needs and some of your more reasonable wants.

The University of Illinois in an international study says money is related to life satisfaction but not to meaning or true enjoyment of life.

It gets you what you can enjoy in life but cannot make you enjoy it or put it to the right use.

Increases in income do not increase happiness. In fact there is a diminishing return as you earn additional money.

Money can reduce stress, but when used poorly, as many people do, it increases stress by complicating life and bringing the fear of losing money.

Money can make courting easier and help avoid much of the stress involved in marriage and love, but it also can complicate matters being confused for happiness, being a trap to keep you in a bad relationship, or a smoke screen to keep you from dealing with issues that need to be addressed.

A desire to have more leads to a desire to get more, which in turn leads to the need to "achieve" and get whatever is is you think you "need" but really only desire.

From Marketplace News in Brief (PRI):

You may think the deep psychological link between money and the pursuit of happiness is strictly the burden of a free-market society, but it turns out it isn’t just a capitalist’s conundrum. An extensive Gallup study of over 136,000 people in 132 different countries, meant to represent about 96 percent of the world’s population, found that when asked, “Are you happy?”, the first measuring stick people use is income. The poll is considered pivotal in happiness research for its in-depth look into how positive and negative emotions play into the definition.

Researchers gathered information about income, meeting basic physical needs and satisfying psychological ones. Respondents rated their lives on a scale from a low of zero to a high of 10, detailing whether they felt enjoyment and a range of other emotions, relationship to family and friends, access to education and whether they were able to do what they “do best”. And whether the person surveyed was a villager or an urbanite, the consensus was universal: Life satisfaction had much to do with income, according to researchers in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Although the correlation between income overall happiness is strong, the study’s look into specific emotional response to money proves it can only take you so far. Positive feelings are affected less by money and more by a person’s daily activities, according to Ed Diener, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Illinois who led the study. “Yes, money makes you happy,” he says, “But it makes you more satisfied than it makes you feel good.

Shop till you drop.

Shopping is good for an economy, but does not, regardless of the image in popular media, bring happiness. In agrarian economies everything is valued, and life's details were important. Add television and the internet and you have a fervor for consumer goods, fast changes, greed, dissatisfaction, westernization, increases in crime, increases in family break-up, aggressive behavior in school rooms and a loss of cohesive.

The more you seek money and think it can buy happiness, the higher the stress and the faster the pace. The faster the pace the less the happiness, the more medical problems, and the higher social issues (crime, decay of the nuclear family and so on).

There is evidence that cohesive, or tight knit family based societies, is based on accepting things the way they are.

Measures of US Happiness began declining in the 1950's, and hit its hight with the 1990's boom.

Tea Party happiness.

The Tea Party Movement reflects the international trend where those who lived in the Baby Boom financial era fear loss of that freedom and standard of living, and are willing to fight even if it means reduced services, reduced education and the loss of the support and stability government can bring. In other words, to assure happiness watch your assets (intended poor pun), your space and do not think about or worry about your neighbors, great grandchildren or those who do not look like you or have what you have. It is more important to look after your own interests.

"I come first," although voice in the collective of "liberty", "founding father's" and "take back your country" is the true message of those who would cut services and the resources of others in order to hold on to a few pennies more in tax dollars.

This has always been a trait, but was a recessive one in society.

Families once lived together for generations. People did not migrate for jobs, opportunity, more money or lifestyle, at least not as often. Neighborhoods were where "everybody knows your name (apologies to "Cheers") and are always glad you came." Churchgoing was much higher and local churches were true congregations, gathering together as an extended family. Barn Raisings were real.

If your neighbors house burnt down, and they were not immediate family, would you help them live until money comes in? Would you help them rebuild their home? Do you even truly know who they are? At one time the norm was to know your neighbors as you do your family, and often they would be extended family.

Can we go back to that?

And can we find happiness in doing so?

As much as those who speak the rhetoric of an America of the Founding Fathers, and the Founding Father's intent, they are not willing to give up some of the basics that have come since that age, such as a strong military, a solid codified system of laws, some form of social safety net, access to  public eduction (as opposed to only the rich could afford to go to school past sixth grade), paved roads, police and fire protection, and so forth...

The founding fathers lived in an agrarian society of family farms or larger family owned plantations, or family owned businesses and cheep immigrant labor. The sweat of the brow and depending on your neighbor and family to be there for you were a core necessity. There were no television, Internet, jet travel, telephones, cell phones and the other trappings of modern society.

What researchers are finding out is that we gave up the idea world of the Tea Party when we accepted consumerism and the desire to always have more.

So what is it to be happy?

Be satisfied with what you have, willing to live with less, and grateful for all you have beyond that.

Give back to others to help them smile, be healthy, and to find their own way.

Embrace others, and accept them into your life.

Forgive those who harm you...

Beginning to sound like every major religious book out there, including the Bible?

Maybe there is a reason these texts have survived the test of time.