Monday, May 28, 2007

I've got everything I need, now what?

Brink Lindsey, author of The Age of Abundance (How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture) was on the Daily Show the other night and had this to say:
For most people throughout human history, they're worried about filling their belly, they're worried about basic food and shelter and clothing and so they don't have time to think about personal fulfillment, meaning of life, quality of life, self realization and all of those things. You know the baby boomers are the first generation ever raised to take basic material needs for granted.
So basically, this is both good news and bad news. The good news is that if you're having a personal fulfillment crisis, it's probably means that all of the necessities have been taken care of and you're wondering "now what?" The bad news is that no one is going to sympathize with someone who has everything they need!

Of course that would imply that the solution is to intentionally deprive yourself of life's basic necessities. That'll teach you to be unhappy!


Matt said...

Or to stop asking, "What now?" Seligman and his camp of happiness researchers point out that once basic necessities are met, then "meaning" becomes central to happiness. (E.g. being involved in some productive, interesting project that requires the exercise of skills or "virtues" (in a broad sense), and in one way or another, connects the person to something outside him or herself - fundamentally, to other people.)

mike said...

Philanthropy seems to be common among those who have "made it": although my guess is givers are more likely to be "seen" at a fundraising tea than on a street in Calcutta. And is that fulfillment primarily selfish or selfless?
One would hope that monetary freedom leads one to ponder life's deeper questions such as "What's the point of all this?" or "Who am I?". Personally, I'm hoping for a global shift in consciousness, but enlightenment seems to have no economic requisites.