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Monday, February 27, 2020

No Time to Smell the Flowers?

This is what Bertrand Russell, Nobel Prize winner, mathematician and philosopher wrote in 1930:
The emphasis upon competition in modern life is connected with a general decay of civilised standards such as must have occurred in Rome after the Augustan age. Men and women appear to have become incapable of enjoying the more intellectual pleasures. The art of general conversation, the knowledge of good literature—who in our age cares for anything so leisurely?

Some American students took me walking in the spring through a wood on the borders of their campus; it was filled with exquisite wild flowers, but not one of my guides knew the name of even one of them. What use would such knowledge be? It could not add to anybody’s income.

The cure for this lies in admitting the part of sane and quiet enjoyment in a balanced ideal of life.
It seems little has changed in 76 years.

And yet…

I think the root of the problem is rather simple. There are tens of thousands of clever, highly-paid people working in marketing, advertising and product management whose almost sole aim in life is to convince us, the consumers, that happiness can be found through owning whatever they have to sell. Just about every marketing campaign is the same at heart: by this product and you'll be happy ever after.

What's more, attaining happiness (or winning prestige, or success, or becoming a sex-god) by the simple action of making a purchase is so much simpler than spending years in building a mature attitude to life. Instant gratification is the modern mantra, especially throughout the developed world. Who wants to spend time and effort when you can gain the same result immediately, just by spending money?

The media also glorify the rich, devoting acres of newsprint and hours of TV time to their smallest doings. They are always presented as carefree, popular and endlessly fascinating: despite the reality of break-ups, acrimonious feuds, drugs, suicides and bitchiness on a grand scale.

The rich, of course, are like everyone else. Sometimes happy, sometimes not. But the result of all this propaganda on behalf of riches is a simple belief that money equals happiness. More money produces more happiness. If you're wealthy, but still dissatisfied, you just aren't rich enough. That's maybe why so many rich people today go on accumulating more and more money, when they probably can't spend what they have.

It's inevitable, of course. Companies need to sell goods. No one every increased sales by telling the public they can be just as happy without buying what they have to offer. And sometimes they're right. Modern consumer goods make life far easier and potentially more pleasant. They just aren't the answer to everything.

That's where people like you come in—the people who read this blog, presumably because you believe, as I do, that there's more to life than getting and spending. It's up to every one of us to tell the world what we believe; to add our voices into the mix to produce a better balance with the commercials. People are hungry for what we have to say. Despite all the efforts of businesses, most people still don't fully buy the view that getting and spending money is the only route to happiness. Besides, wealth is distributed so unequally in our world that most people stand no chance of ever gaining enough to put the equation to the test.

Speak out. Tell people about this blog. Add your thoughts and comments. Together we can make a difference.


P.S. This is my first post after returning from Mexico with a bad chest infection. I go on vacation and come home a wreck! If it seems less coherent than usual, blame the medication.

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Comments:
well there s a great link about happiness and these are the words of someone who lived 2000 years before our time

he was called epikurus and he has the Secret.

read this link and try to read more about him.

great post anyway!

trying to raise awareness on balance is always a positive congratulation to the world.

be safe
Vasilis from athens greece

http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/e/epicurus/menoeceus/
 
http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/e/epicurus/menoeceus/

try this!

be safe
Vasilis from Athens Greece
 
Where is the quotation from? I'd like to read more of what Russell had to say.
 
I don't think of money as the solution to be happy or money = happiness. I try to gain money for what I can do with it. Save it. Invest it. Spend it. I see money as an enabler instead of a final destination. Having money enables me to fund projects I want to see happen. Money enables me to buy a house and so forth. These individual acts in themselves do not buy happiness. But having a mature attitude and thinking about money and that it is not what I buy with the money that matters as much as what I can do with it.

As far as "Time to smell the flowers" I constantly keep myself busy. I have always have something going on. Hard for me to sit still and be unproductive. I do however see the need to slow down every once in a while. I can feel my body and mind craving to stop and reconsider a few things or just reflect on what has happened here lately or just enjoy the view. I'm beginning to see "slowing down" as more essential and not necessarily being "unproductive" but entirely the opposite. Essential to keeping myself sharp and innovative.
 
The quotation comes from "The Conquest of Happiness."
 
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