Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.
Money and success don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there.
-- Will Smith
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, in whichever order you prefer to see them.
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".
Actually, if it comes "free", something must be wrong with its quality. Besides, in its true meaning, no effort is necessary to obtain any of it -- whereas here, north of the Rio Grande and stopping right at the pristine lands of the Inuit folks, you have to work hard to "qualify" for love, happiness, health, and peace of mind.
Of course, unless you happen to be a refuge, in which case everybody loves you so much that you get to live in a hotel upon arriving, you get all you need for a smooth start in your new life -- and then, if that's not enough for making you happy, you get a free shrink and a translator, to see what the hell is wrong with you.
Let me put it this way -- I am jealous, when I arrived in Canada as a regular immigrant more than half a century ago, not telling anyone that I was pissed with that communist Yugoslav dictatorship, I didn.t qualify for any of those goodies.
That would include that free shrink, since my average mood those days was including thoughts about buying a plane ticket for the trip back. Well, life changes, and from time to time I just get my nostalgic episodes around Christmas time.
Moreover, at my very core I forever stayed loyal to the spirit of a European, that best of life being free, nourished and refined through a non-religious spirituality.
Now, since this is supposed to be a satire sprinkled with a dash of dark humor, let mew do some of this stereotyping -- which I hate outside of my satires -- by portraying these western folks as money loving human specimens, and their version of the "best of life", with a price tag attached to it.
Let's say love, for a man, can be bought in three most popular ways: 1) by being a good providing husband or boyfriend, 2) by being a sugar daddy, and 3) by being a regular customer to the oldest profession.
Next, as for health, who really still believes in that fairy tale that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". No-way-Jose, health costs you money, and without a good health coverage you can't afford to get sick.
Ask any of those 25 million Americans who are without any health insurance. To them, getting sick is a luxury, so, well, I guess they decided stay healthy as for one of those "free best things of life."
What about happiness?
Here on the West, happiness costs you money, because no one is handing out free drugs and booze. Especially since the intensity of our happiness is dosage-dependent, and after developing tolerance to low doses, you may end up with that more expensive crap -- but at least you can say that you have "experienced extasy".
And the last one to be mentioned -- peace of mind, it will also cost you money, but anything may do from a cheap unregistered hand gun to a bazooka bought at the army surplus bazaar. Now you are ready to face any of those "hostile" Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians -- as the touch of cold steal gives you tat precious sense of security and peace of mind.
That would cover it all, I guess.
The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.
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".
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".
Money can be addictive just like any other drug, and once hooked, we need higher and higher dosages, after having developed a tolerance to those lower ones.
During my wife's decades of working in the bank, some of those years as a teller,
I had a chance to hear many of her stories about those well-off customers who would be 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 -- some including politicians hoping for a financial support at the next elections -- are fighting for their attention.
He may be dumb as a door knob, but if he's got money through inheritance, he is treated by some like a genius.
Isn't it how that little rhyme got inspired:
"Money is honey
my dear sonny
and a rich men's joke
is always funny."
So, should we be surprised at all that on American dollar bill is that picture of God's eye with words at the top: "In God We Trust". A shrine where a deity meets greed.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Is There a Trace of Happiness in Big Money?
According to my own philosophy, when money is in question, we should seek big money -- if that happens to be our ultimate goal -- 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, unreachable.
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.
Being free, those best things of life are an "inside" job, created by our positive thoughts, elevated emotions, attitudinal advantages, and beliefs based on optimism.
How could we forget those stories from the Great Depression era, with some multi-millionaires committing suicide after losing a few millions overnight, but still having more than enough left to live like kings for the rest of their lives -- had they chosen to value life more than money.
I still have to see a billionaire that's looking happy, healthy, full of vitality, with a great sense of humor. All of them seem tired all of the time.
With no intentions to brag -- albeit impossible to avoid the impression -- during my morning routine of producing blissfulness at will, I am tempted to believe that none of those super-rich human specimens could match it by looking at their bank account.
Just by observing them, I could tell that they are chronically stressed out as to genuinely enjoy all that money and their life.
So here I go concluding my story with this simple statement:
The best of life is free, and when it isn't free -- it's impossible.
There is no price tag on the best things of life
© 2021 Val Karas