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If you can’t be content without money; you can’t be content with money.


dimreepr
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I would define "content" as a state of happiness born from satisfaction. Someone who is "satisfied" has had their needs met, has no need to be anxious about anything (future needs look like they'll be met), and doesn't need anything else to be happy.

 

With this in mind, only enough money to satisfy needs is required. But here's where it gets messy. Are we looking for the most basic needs only? Am I supposed to live without music because it's physiologically possible for me to do so? Can we classify basic needs for everybody?

 

Or does "content" have an automatic aspect of austerity? Does content mean "satisfied with the least amount you can have and still be happy"?

 

Also, money needs to be defined. Are we talking about the exchange medium, which is difficult to live without altogether, or are we talking about wealth, excess money I don't need to survive, but can use to buy material goods I may want but don't need?

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Most people who believe this have never really lacked for basic necessities, and there is an in-built assumption in the premise that one will not be so lacking in money that they will, e.g. have to watch their child starve to death because they can't afford to buy food.

 

I do think that there is a common attitude of "I am unhappy, but if only this one part of my life changed all of my problems would be solved" that usually doesn't bear out in practice, and that the best way to be happy is to try to be happy with things as they are rather than continuously seek that one thing that will make everything better, but let's not oversell that idea.

 

Gaining a little bit of money won't solve all of your problems, but that doesn't mean that a lack of money cannot ever present a real obstacle to happiness in effects.

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I do think that there is a common attitude of "I am unhappy, but if only this one part of my life changed all of my problems would be solved" that usually doesn't bear out in practice, and that the best way to be happy is to try to be happy with things as they are rather than continuously seek that one thing that will make everything better, but let's not oversell that idea.

 

Catch-22. The only way to improve is to be content with things as they are.

 

Perhaps it's the money that skews things. We're told to work hard to improve our lot and help make the economy strong, but if we point out inequality, we get the "money can't buy happiness" speech.

 

I can't easily find who said it but

" true contentment is not the absence of desire, but the absence of jealousy"

 

I like that. "I want more!" rather than "You have more!"

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I would define "content" as a state of happiness born from satisfaction. Someone who is "satisfied" has had their needs met, has no need to be anxious about anything (future needs look like they'll be met), and doesn't need anything else to be happy.

 

With this in mind, only enough money to satisfy needs is required. But here's where it gets messy. Are we looking for the most basic needs only? Am I supposed to live without music because it's physiologically possible for me to do so? Can we classify basic needs for everybody?

 

Or does "content" have an automatic aspect of austerity? Does content mean "satisfied with the least amount you can have and still be happy"?

 

Also, money needs to be defined. Are we talking about the exchange medium, which is difficult to live without altogether, or are we talking about wealth, excess money I don't need to survive, but can use to buy material goods I may want but don't need?

 

 

I do have issues when comparing contentment with happiness, for me happiness is an emotion and so it’s fleeting.

 

When I announce ‘walkies’ my dog gets very happy, when I fuss her she lies back in satisfaction and when I’m not around, and there’s no squirrels in sight, she’s content to lie in her bed and wait.

 

At this moment in time (the only time we're actually alive) my actual needs are zero I have shelter and I’m neither hungry nor thirsty, in the near future I will probably get both hungry and thirsty but I have no idea what the future will bring, maybe I won’t get the chance or maybe there will be a drought or famine and money suddenly looses meaning.

 

The acceptance of a situation that you can’t change is to be content; if you can change it then you can be content when you do.

+1 John

If you’re given a holiday, don’t destroy the pleasure by getting upset when the showers not hot enough.

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Without money, I'm without food and shelter. It's true almost by definition due to the way our society is currently structured.

 

Absent a basic income, all struggle is focused on the current day... Where can I find water? Where can I find food? Where can I find shelter? Where can I find security for me and my loved for the night? What steps must I take to survive this next minute, this next hour, this next day? Without money in today's society, the foundation of Maslow's hierarchy becomes rooted in sand and self-actualization an academic and irrelevant pursuit.

 

Ultimately, I reject the simplistic premise of the question, though. Contentedness is independent of money, through admittedly overlapping in many cases.

 

Money doesn't bring happiness or psychological contentedness, but a lack of money almost always brings a lack of content because of needs imposed upon us by the way we live and transact our lives in this modern world.

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I’ve walked the road but I’m a country boy and with the last of my money I bought a tent and took to the local woods with little else (a good axe, knife, pots and as much pasta and rice as I could carry). I lived like that for over a year, I was lucky to find a spring close by and plentiful wildlife and forage but I was content.

 

Things change and I now find myself in relative comfort (all be it a near derelict old canal workers cottage) I have electricity (a limited amount) and I can piggy-back, a very kind, neighbours internet no internal water supply and almost no money (some weeks only £5) but I don’t starve.

 

This isn’t a sob story I’m happier now than when I had a successful business with more money than sense; especially near the end when I was so frightened of the future and loosing it all I tried the fool’s way out.

 

I’m not suggesting anyone needs to live without money to be content; but one does need to lose the fear not fear the loss.


I've never been wealthy and I hear that money can't buy happiness but I'l like to test that hypothesis...

 

 

“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy” – Spike Milligan. :lol:

 

 

 

Edit/ I used the phrase “fool’s way out” only in the context of my story.

Edited by dimreepr
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  • 2 weeks later...

On reflection, the phrase if you can't be content with what you have you won't be content with more seems more appropriate.

I think that's better, and agree with the sentiment in the general sense that I know plenty of people who are unhappy and think getting "this one thing" will make it all better, even when that becomes a pattern that never pans out, but there are demonstrably situations where getting more of something may help a person who is not content become so.

 

Some of that is very basic, like food and water, and some isn't, but it varies on an individual basis. I do think there is value in recognizing that a contentment is often an attitude rather than a state of prosperity, but I've spent just enough time struggling just enough to know what it feels like when you don't know how you're going to pay next month's rent without asking to borrow money (answer, in my case: Land a pretty good job pretty much at the last possible moment before my bank account went into the negatives) and how much the stress from that can eat at your sense of contentment.

 

I can imagine that quite a few of the many, many people with less than I ever had (an education, no debt and a safety net I could fall back on if I absolutely had to) might find it a bit easier to be content if they had a little more than they do.

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I think that's better, and agree with the sentiment in the general sense that I know plenty of people who are unhappy and think getting "this one thing" will make it all better, even when that becomes a pattern that never pans out, but there are demonstrably situations where getting more of something may help a person who is not content become so.

 

 

Still needs work though.

 

Some of that is very basic, like food and water, and some isn't, but it varies on an individual basis. I do think there is value in recognizing that a contentment is often an attitude rather than a state of prosperity, but I've spent just enough time struggling just enough to know what it feels like when you don't know how you're going to pay next month's rent without asking to borrow money (answer, in my case: Land a pretty good job pretty much at the last possible moment before my bank account went into the negatives) and how much the stress from that can eat at your sense of contentment.

I can imagine that quite a few of the many, many people with less than I ever had (an education, no debt and a safety net I could fall back on if I absolutely had to) might find it a bit easier to be content if they had a little more than they do.

 

 

Post #10

 

 

I’ve walked the road but I’m a country boy and with the last of my money I bought a tent and took to the local woods with little else (a good axe, knife, pots and as much pasta and rice as I could carry). I lived like that for over a year, I was lucky to find a spring close by and plentiful wildlife and forage but I was content.

 

Things change and I now find myself in relative comfort (all be it a near derelict old canal workers cottage) I have electricity (a limited amount) and I can piggy-back, a very kind, neighbours internet no internal water supply and almost no money (some weeks only £5) but I don’t starve.

 

This isn’t a sob story I’m happier now than when I had a successful business with more money than sense; especially near the end when I was so frightened of the future and loosing it all I tried the fool’s way out.

 

I’m not suggesting anyone needs to live without money to be content; but one does need to lose the

 

The point is, don’t fear the future because you can’t, possibly, know what’s coming; however certain you are of what the future holds.

 

That’s not to say you should do nothing if the rents due but if nothing can be done, stress is pointless.

We should remember to be thankful this breath isn’t the last and that you have food in your belly and water on tap.

If you have no food, hunt or forage or beg or steal and be thankful for the water and the breath to try and if you have no water be thankful you have the breath to be hopeful.

Edited by dimreepr
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...That’s not to say you should do nothing if the rents due but if nothing can be done, stress is pointless.

 

I agree

 

 

We should remember to be thankful this breath isn’t the last and that you have food in your belly and water on tap.

When I used to hit bottom financially I would think to myself: "Better cold than dead". Through deprivation of particular things, one learns if they really matter in the overall story of ones life. I am always mindful that modern life's commercial influences, through advertising and peer pressure to conform, can put one in a constant state of wanting things,. Without widespread unfulfilled material desire, developed nations will experience economic stagnation... they need you to spend money.

 

Universal contentment is anathema to an economically successful society ...the way it is at the moment.

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Universal contentment is anathema to an economically successful society ...the way it is at the moment.

 

 

I don’t think that’s true, sure some who find ‘inner peace’ will be content to live in a cave and contemplate the universe (and good luck to them); if I could gather enough money I’d be straight down the bike shop but only if my friends and family didn’t NEED the money and the gathering didn’t negatively impact anyone.

 

A better phrase is in post #4:

true contentment is not the absence of desire, but the absence of jealousy

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I don’t think that’s true, sure some who find ‘inner peace’ will be content to live in a cave and contemplate the universe (and good luck to them); if I could gather enough money I’d be straight down the bike shop but only if my friends and family didn’t NEED the money and the gathering didn’t negatively impact anyone.

 

Your motorcycle obsession has negatively impacted my business, since you chose NOT to spend your gathered money on the Martin & Lewis Coloring Books I'm trying to sell.

 

I can see StringJunky's point, when people are content they don't need anything, almost by definition. Content people buy staple goods, but make do with last year's clothes and a ten-year-old car. Content people aren't good for the economy, so do we have to give up being content if we want to be prosperous?

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..I can see StringJunky's point, when people are content they don't need anything, almost by definition. Content people buy staple goods, but make do with last year's clothes and a ten-year-old car. Content people aren't good for the economy, so do we have to give up being content if we want to be prosperous?

This is it, and it's reflected in the quality of products nowadays. Durable goods are designed and built to last probably 3-5 years. Contrast that with, say cameras made in the 70's or before, there are many still very usable now. Designed earlier obsolescence has become the norm and this is partly due to people continually wanting the 'latest' thing. It's become a self-perpetuating cycle between consumer > manufacturer > national economy > global economy. All you hear nowadays is that GROWTH must be maintained as much as possible ...this requires consumers to be in a perpetual state of discontent to keep the money moving.

Edited by StringJunky
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This is it, and it's reflected in the quality of products nowadays. Durable goods are designed and built to last probably 3-5 years. Contrast that with, say cameras made in the 70's or before, there are many still very usable now. Designed earlier obsolescence has become the norm and this is partly due to people continually wanting the 'latest' thing. It's become a self-perpetuating cycle between consumer > manufacturer > national economy > global economy. All you hear nowadays is that GROWTH must be maintained as much as possible ...this requires consumers to be in a perpetual state of discontent to keep the money moving.

 

So we end up working harder, for less money, but we're expected to be able to afford the products our company makes. Definitely not my idea of content.

 

There's a lot of crazy involved in our economy in the US. We're very big on preserving the right to sell you something dangerous for you. Our independence day celebration is coming up, and around here that means buying fireworks that are legal to sell, but illegal to set off, for some reason. The police prowl the neighborhoods waiting to bust kids, but leave the vendors alone.

 

Power tools and lawnmowers to save time so you can go to the gym, which you wouldn't need if you used a push-mower or a handsaw. Convenient food that your doctor recommends you don't eat. Buy this because it's tasty, and buy that because it was so tasty you need to go on a diet now.

 

And of course, contentment for all is probably not possible. There are a lot of folks in the US who were very contented with the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage, but there were an awful lot of churches out there this morning preaching some very powerful discontent.

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...And of course, contentment for all is probably not possible. There are a lot of folks in the US who were very contented with the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage, but there were an awful lot of churches out there this morning preaching some very powerful discontent.

Yes, just because the law's changed doesn't mean that all of society synchronises with it. What I've come to realise, is that it takes a whole generation at least, for a piece of legislature like this to be embodied within the collective psyche of a society. When you think about it, for the newly emerging babies and young, equality is all they will ever know and then, give it another generation, they become politically influential. TV extract from the future: "Ladies and gentlemen... please welcome the POTUS and his... partner!" ;):D

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Indeed, but not, I think, an impossible ideal; heaven, after all, would be the same.


If that could be understood by someone who could translate it for all to understand maybe we could live in peace for a while.

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Indeed, but not, I think, an impossible ideal; heaven, after all, would be the same.

If that could be understood by someone who could translate it for all to understand maybe we could live in peace for a while.

People should pursue peace of mind as the goal rather than objects, even though they may be part of the journey.

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