Happiness: a priceless pursuit

Mary Henry, Staff Reporter

The idea that money can buy happiness is absolutely preposterous. Obviously, joy isn’t a physical thing that can be put in a shopping cart, but that is not the argument here. Happiness is a long-lasting state of being that must be achieved, not purchased.

Many people argue that money can buy happiness because being able to provide for loved ones is a source of gratification. However, how can someone feel happy if they lack a good relationship with those individuals? Money can buy food for the family, a car for a child’s sixteenth birthday and expensive jewelry for a spouse, but it cannot buy stable relationships. 

The thing that builds positive interpersonal connections is mutual respect and appreciation that  can be established through effective communication and quality time. Happiness is emotional, not physical, so parents who spoil their kids with material things but then deprive them of emotional support cannot possibly have a happy family.

Clearly, money creates a false impression of satisfaction. True joy is the result of actions and achievements, not objects. 

An expensive trophy is a useless chunk of metal until it is attached to winning a championship. The action of competing to one’s best ability paired with the victory that results from hard work is the ultimate source of happiness, one that can live on forever in memory and through that symbolic trophy.

When there is no positive memory or accomplishment attached to an object, then the joy it brings won’t last forever. Materialistic happiness is superficial and short-lived.

Think about cars, phones, designer clothes and everything else on the long list of extravagant items. The truth is that these pricey products don’t last. One perfectly functioning phone is replaced by the latest model, and people grow out of clothes or gravitate towards newer trends. 

Nothing that money can buy is a match for the irregularity of the human attention span. Money is just a temporary fix for boredom and sadness. 

Honestly, money brings everything but happiness: stress over paying bills, the frustration of being underpaid, jealousy towards those who are better off, shame at not being able to afford certain things and an overall sense of disappointment and exhaustion. It is the fundamental cause of stress and despair. 

Money is undeniably essential, and happiness is one hundred percent attainable, so these two things can coexist. However, money tends to distort people’s view of what self-fulfillment truly is and proves to be a major obstacle between the average person and achieving happiness. One can never reach a state of happiness in their life if they live under the assumption that they can simply purchase such a priceless thing.