I am always encouraged when I read articles such as these, because I realise that my contented state of being - living in my little house, pushing paper for a job which provides me with enough to pay for my little house and leave me time for the boys, and not worrying about the acquisition of pointless goods, ie, counting my blessings - is actually a sign of emotional maturity and not appalling lack of ambition.
You may think that the pursuit of money for its own sake is not a sign of emotional immaturity, but in fact,
It results in an obsessive, envious keeping-up-with-the-Joneses state of mind that increases our vulnerability to emotional disorders, and is responsible for rising levels of depression, addiction, violence and anxiety in the developed world.and
...its symptoms are characterised by the placing of a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame.He lists the following questions to enable readers to assess their level of infection (and my responses):
Do you agree with any of the following statements?
- I would like to be a very wealthy person. Nah, unless it landed in my lap and I couldn't avoid it. Otherwise there's no way I'm going in pursuit of wealth just for the sake of it.
- I want luxury in my life. Define luxury.
- I often compare what I own with what others own. No. Occasionally I might, but certainly not 'often'.
- Shopping or thinking about what to buy preoccupies me greatly. Good grief, no.
- I'm less concerned with what work I do than what I get for it. In the context of having enough to do what I want. Pushing paper is hardly a challenging occupation.
- I admire people who own expensive homes, cars and clothes. No, they have to be admirable people first.
- My life would be better if I owned certain things that I don't have now. Um, I suppose I wouldn't mind a cleaning lady, but I wouldn't own her...
- The things I own are an indication of how well I'm doing. If you define 'well' as financial success then yes, I suppose so. If you define it as 'personal well-being', then no.
- I like to keep up with fashions in hair and clothing. Nah, too much effort.
- I would like to hide signs of ageing. I haven't got to a critical level yet, so I don't know.
- I would like to have people comment on how attractive I look. They do, actually. I have lovely friends.
- Possessions can be just as important as people. No, although come to think of it, it depends on the thing and depends on the person... Some things can hold great personal worth because of their associations and history. Some people I wouldn't give a shit what happened to them.
- If a friend isn't of use to me, personally or professionally, I usually end the friendship. No.
- I would like my name to be known by many people. It is, thanks to my blog.
- I would like to be admired by many people. I'd like my book, if published, to be admired. I'd bathe in its reflected glory...
- I would like my name to appear frequently in the media. Alongside those such as Paris Hilton? No thanks!
DiagnosisSo I have the odd symptom. How did you do?
If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, then you have, like most people in the English-speaking world, contracted the virus. The more you answered "yes", the more infected you are and the greater your likelihood of becoming emotionally distressed.
The study was not carried out in France and I'd be interested to know how the French would compare with others. The countries involved were : New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Shanghai, Moscow, Copenhagen and New York. On a purely ad hoc personal impression, I would think the level of infection with 'affluenza' would be lower in France. I'm not saying that the French are free of it, but I think they still define themselves through earnings, possessions, appearances and celebrity less than in English-speaking countries. For the moment.
It is one of the pleasures of living here that I am not surrounded by the highly infected or deeply embedded in the 'rat race'. Blessings indeed!