“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they’ve ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey
I think the most interesting part of that quote is that Carrey, who is valued at $150M, hasn’t decided to get rid of his $150M or, you know, never considered not chasing fame to see if the answer is there. He’s also made the classic error of failing to state what the question is.
There’s a certain level of wealth and fame that allows you to get away with uttering any inane bullshit. I hate to break it to you Jim, but if you’ve done everything you’ve ever dreamed of and not found the answer, then there is no answer.
Of course, this is post beard Jim. Everything goes a bit insane when a formerly beardless celebrity decides to grow a beard.
I can’t possibly fathom where this pervading notion of material wealth not equating to happiness (or at least some basic levels of contentment) came from. If there was any truth in it, the capitalist system would have crumbled years ago, the Lottery wouldn’t be a thing and these poor little comedians and actors wouldn’t accept pay cheques in the millions. They’d accept a few thousand pounds to cover their expenses and then make a movie for the love of making a movie.
It seems a lot of people who get a lot of money are quick to point out that having lots of money doesn’t really mean anything. Call me a cynic, but yes it fucking does. It means everything. I’m not suggesting for a minute that if you became incredibly wealthy you’d be ecstatic all the time, forever laughing away or beaming so much that your face locks into position and shatters upon the lightest of contact. You will still be human and subject to the ebb and flow of emotion. You will still age, loved ones will still die, you will still see the many injustices in life.
But you’ll also not be expected to work 40+ hours a week, you’d have a house; maybe two or three and be able to buy just about whatever you want when you want it. All of which would be pretty fucking sweet. You know, opposed to having to work a 40+ hour week, being unable to even rent a house and having no money to buy the things.
Why is everyone so scared to admit that having money does make life easier and dare I say it, better. Why does everyone seem to refuse to acknowledge that having tons of cash and living in nice houses, wearing nice clothes and eating nice food is really enjoyable and objectively better than having no money? As already established, if this wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be striving to get the good jobs with the hefty pay cheque. There wouldn’t be posh, over priced restaurants where the soup of the day is unpronounceable and costs more than your car.
Carrey’s not alone in this mildly hypocritical view. The great Bob Marley once stated “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.” His net worth was estimated to be at $130M, so he no doubt believed that money contributed to happiness. Unless he kept such wealth to remind him at all times that it doesn’t make him happy.
The thing is, money and material wealth does make us happy. This is demonstrable in the fact that rich people remain rich and poorer people strive to be rich. Whenever we find a fiver in an old pair of jeans, we are filled with joy. Millionaires must feel that multiplied by nine every time they check their bank accounts. The issue is, we’re not allowed to admit that. We seem to fear the admission. When it comes to looking for ‘answers’, it’s wealth that puts you in the comfortable position of having enough time to dwell on the ‘questions’. Everyone else is too busy making sure their children have things like food and clothes.
I don’t wish to reduce humanity and the human experience to the materialistic, but alas that’s really all it is. Again, capitalism simply wouldn’t work if material objects and wealth didn’t give us happiness. Why would a company bother making Harry Potter themed couch cushions if some people’s lives weren’t marginally improved by the edition of a Harry Potter themed couch cushion? It’s almost a shame to say it, but life isn’t some deep mystery for us to unravel. The key to happiness isn’t some complex secret that only wise celebrities can fathom once they’ve grown a beard after spending decades getting paid millions to be in movies.
No, we live, we eat, we shit, we expire. If we’re lucky we are loved. If we’re really lucky we get to be rich and famous and do everything we’ve ever dreamed of.
Jealousy is an ugly thing.