* A response to the video Call for submissions on documentary on pursuit of happiness.
Let me start with a statement: I think you need money before you can be happy. And then I mean long-term happiness, not our instant chocolate happiness. For moments like these (a smile of a stranger, the sun shining on your face, etc etc) you don’t need money of course.
Money does not buy you happiness, but it can create more freedom. Time to fill with things you feel like doing without the need of worrying about how you are going to survive (pay your bills). So in that sense, money can be the starting point for a road to happiness. However it is not a guarantee.
But most of the people (the ‘American Dreamers’) consider money as the end point I believe. As the ultimate achievement in order to be happy.
Could it be that it has to do with acceptance by the ‘others’ (neighbours, family, colleagues)? That they don’t really ‘need’ all this accumulating of stuff, but that they want to have at least as much (but preferably a bit more) as their neighbors to feel accepted. And once you feel accepted, you can become happy…
If you would do an experiment and create a microcosm with people who do not care about materialism (or don’t see it as a goal and don’t judge people by it), and you would add some ‘American Dreamers’, I believe they will stop pursuing a big house, car, etc as well while still be able to feel happy. That is because money does not serve as a tool to become accepted in this microcosm.