Monday, April 11, 2005

Money (>) or (<) happiness and contentment

I picked up another interesting book at the local Salvation Army. "Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty." Although dull in some sections, the premise came through clearly: too much money and not enough love make children emotional, spiritual, and mental, malcontents, leading to manifested acts of rebellion that lead to deep unhappiness and life-threatening circumstances.

It seems easier to hurl accusatory comments and expressions of guilt than healing words of love and support. Misunderstandings and pride become part of the equation- in the end, the pattern of behavior becomes chronic and places a permanent strain on the individual.

Today, annoyance and impatience seem to be the norm, and the basic emotion of love is an anomaly. Is contentment an overrated way of life? Is money the seat of my contentment?

Paul Getty II, was a heroin addict for most of his life. He was using his money to buy drugs. He neglected his family, especially during a time in their lives when they needed him. His son had been kidnapped by an Italian Mafia faction and was demanding millions of dollars. Paul Getty II, along with his father- the famous J. Paul Getty, refused to pay the ransom and for over five months, his son suffered. Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this story. At the time, Getty was worth over a million dollars a month.

Money buys many things that briefly satisfies our need to obtain objects to validate our self-worth, but unless there is a balance within our psyche, all the money in the world is incapable of buying that which we as human beings need the most: love and the need to connect to the human race in a positive way. Is there a moral to this story? Of course. But you already knew that.

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