Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.
"It Has No Value If It Has No Price Tag Attached"
The old maxim says: "The best of life is free" -- meaning love, health, happiness, and peace of mind.
Well, apparently not so in the western hemisphere, notably America, which is admittedly typical for its excessive materialism where everything must have a price -- including that "best of life".
Now, since this is supposed to be a satire, a little of generalizing -- which I normally hate -- could be excusable, while, of course, there are many Americans whose high human values and standards are still intact.
While you can take these few words as a sort of disclaimer, let me now go on with some of my satirical toxin -- and I'll be fine if you hate me a little more for that. After being loved by so many, some hate is good for balance, lol.
So, let me talk about those typically materialistic ones, who even take some pride in it.
By their standards, when it comes to those "best things of life", love, for one can be bought in three most popular ways: 1) by being a well providing boyfriend or husband; 2) by being a sugar daddy; and 3) by being a customer to that "oldest profession".
Next, as for health, who really still believes in "one apple a day keeping a doctor away", or even that other one: "Keeping our immune system free of stress, we may never have to see a doctor". No-way-Jose, health costs you money, and without a good health coverage you simply can't afford the luxury of getting sick.
Let's see about happiness, as the next "best thing of life". Nope, not free either. Since we don't want our happiness to be a temporary thing, regular booze and drugs are expensive. Especially since the intensity of our happiness is dosage dependent, also meaning the quality of it -- while one in particular is even named "ecstasy". With that one you don't need a guru to enlighten you into a samadhi stage of happiness.
And the last one to be mentioned -- "peace of mind" -- anything will do from a cheap unregistered handgun to a bazooka bought at the army surplus bazaar. Now you are ready to meet any of those hostile Russians, Chinese, or even Reps/Dems, depending on which political tribe you belong to. That touch of cold steel probably provides all peace of mind one may need.
That would cover it all -- and now I'd like to devote the next section of this post to the deity of money in America, since it seems like the only thing that could be called "best of life" -- the money itself. The one that may give us a good surrogate for all that -- love, happiness, health, and peace.
It's Never Enough
Allegedly, during an interview, a multi-billionaire was asked this question about money:"When is enough?" -- and the super rich dude bluntly answered: "It's never enough".
As I was reading it, I got that instant picture of money as a drug to which so many Americans quickly develop a tolerance, which calls for dosing it up, and up, so indefinitely.
Indeed, to them the best of life is money itself, even ceasing to mean a buying-power after a while, but the amounts of it being amassed. In the mind of a rich person, after all those goodies have been secured for a lavish style of existence, they become just used to it, with one expensive car being just like another, one mansion like another, one wife or lover like another.
The only thing that endures that depreciation process is money itself. And it means so much to them that you may see them pick up a dime from the ground that someone had lost -- just because "dime is money".
During my wife's decades of working in a bank, I had a chance to hear many of her stories about those well-off customers who were carefully counting pennies, making sure they got it all.
To a rich dude money is a synonym of power, of a status in society, when all those ass-kissers are fighting for crumbs of his attention. He may be dumb like a door knob, but if he got money through inheritance, he is just as respected as a genius by so many.
Isn't that how that little rhyme got inspired:
"Money is honey
my dear sonny
and rich man's joke
is always funny".
So, should we be surprised at all that on American dollar bill is a picture of God's Eye with words on the top: "In God We Trust". -- A place where God meets greed.
Is There a Trace of Happiness in Big Money?
According to my own philosophy, when money is in question, we should seek big money only after we have secured all those things that money cannot buy: Health, happiness, love, and peace of mind.
If we don't do that, money will forever be like a camel on our trip through desert called "our life", with those "best things of life" being like a mirage forever staying on its horizon, unattainable.
With some existing sophisticated instruments used in neuroscience we could measure the level of happiness of a rich man, and compare it to the one of a Tibetan monk, or a simple, poor, but a jolly dude of an undeveloped country, for a little surprise.
Namely, both, a Tibetan monk and a poor guy, each in their own way, got in a habit of looking for their joys of life inside -- whereas the rich dude's happiness is heavily dependent on all little ups and downs of the market and in his already swollen bank account.
How could we forget those stories from the Great Depression era, with some multi-millionaires committing suicide "after losing few millions overnight -- while still having so many left to live comfortably".
I still have to see a billionaire that's looking happy, full of vitality, with a great sense of humor -- they all look tired all the time.
With no intention to brag, or to emphasize some evidently naive advantages over those rich and super rich -- I just have to say that during my morning "bliss-at-will" practice, I could swear that one Donald Trump or Elon Musk are incapable of producing those elevated emotions.
Just by observing them I can tell that they are way too chronically stressed out as to genuinely enjoy life -- with all those billions and the status in society.
So that I have to conclude my story with one simple statement:
The best of life is truly free, and when it isn't free -- it's impossible.
© 2021 Val Karas