Archive for the ‘ Philosophizing ’ Category

Love and Money

The following question was sent to my Formspring profile from an anonymous contributor. As I answered it, I suddenly felt inspired to elucidate. Since the post I’ve been working on has kind of stalled, I thought I’d share this in the meantime. It’s not much, but it’s something to chew on.

Q: What is more important to you: love or money?

A: I’ll freely admit that money is very important to me. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but money does buy things that facilitate happiness. It’s love, though, that makes life worth living.

I can hear the lamentations now. “Oh no, he’s gone soft on us! How can someone so hateful espouse the virtues of love?!” Understandable. But hear me out.

When I speak here of love, it is with the broadest of definitions. Most people think of romantic love when a question like this comes up. That’s certainly an important kind of love, but there are so many others! Love of your work, love of animals, love of a hobby, love of the arts. Anything that anyone is passionate about can be a path to happiness. Some of these loves are destructive (love of war, love of bigotry). Those who walk those paths find only false happiness and bring ruin to those around them. Ultimately, it is the duty of all people to maximize happiness, and this is best achieved by attending to our passions. In doing so, we achieve fulfillment and sometimes find meaning. We, as humans, are singularly brilliant in our love, by virtue of our intellect, but it is this same intellect that can so easily lead us astray. To become obsessed with money is to be lost, and it’s a pity more people can’t or simply won’t realize that.

Personally, I need to find happiness through significance. It is a difficult path, but a noble one. One might argue that an easier path might yield the same levels of happiness, but I believe that it’s not always so simple as choosing a path. I believe that, in many ways, our paths are chosen for us by our upbringing. The people we become, and consequently the values we hold dear, are the direct result of our circumstances, and even to some extent our specific genetics. The paths to happiness accessible to us are determined by our upbringing, and our choices must be made from among our given set, but it is up to us which one we finally tread.