Saturday, 4 April 2015

"The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things"

"You don't have infinite money. Spend it on stuff that research says makes you happy."


I’ve just read this post, which is quite interesting. But now I'm pondering. Is a book (or an e-book even) an 'experience' or a 'thing'? What about a (nice) bottle of wine (extra points if Chilean, because it takes me back to memories of some lovely people and a devastatingly lovely country). Or my marvellous MacBook - because this 'thing' (which is beautifully made) gives me access to a world of 'experiences' in the form of tools (spreadsheets, created documents) and information (facts, history, poetry; images of people, places and other 'things'). 

It’s true, as the article says, that you’re more likely to enjoy talking to friends about shared ‘experiences’ (a show, a holiday) than you are comparing ‘things’ you own (my car, home, computer is better than yours), but your 'experiences' will die when you do whereas ‘things’ outlast us (a flint arrowhead - or a Picasso - will always fascinate).

Perhaps I'd substitute 'stuff' for 'things' in the heading. Stuff - commoditised 'things', like more clothes, more cosmetics, more (too much) food. I'm not keen on branding or fashion - they just get you to buy 'stuff' when you def don't need it. After you have ‘enough’, quality is better than quantity whether in 'things' or in 'experiences'.  Life in the West has become more about 'quality' than 'quantity'. Art not kitsch. Skill not mindlessness.

I say ‘in the West’ because in some parts of the world mindless thuggery, perpetrated by people for whom religion has caused cancer of the mind, has reduced whole populations to terror, abject poverty and want of all the ‘things’ that inhabit the lowest regions of Maslow’s Triangle. What they very much need is more ‘things’ and less ‘experiences'.

Like most options that the media likes to put before us, in the end it isn't 'one thing or the other', it's where you find the balance. And the answer isn't the same for everyone - we find our own individual answers - the ‘experts’, too often second-rate academics, are not always worth listening to. ‘Research’ is too often poorly done, misleading, or does not stand up to scrutiny. Everyone, including second-rate academics, wants a piece of our time, to grab our attention, to get more ‘hits’, have an audience be a celebrity. It’s their (our) lives and careers. It’s stroking and stoking our own egos. All resources, whether ‘things’ or ‘experiences’ are limited, and they all have an impact on the planet. It seems to me we should just choose thoughtfully.'s_hierarchy_of_needs

No comments:

Post a Comment