Sometimes I feel terribly guilty about living in the first world. Over 64 per cent of Australians say that they can't afford to buy what they need. To me, that says that at least 50 per cent of Australians are suffering from a weird delusion where they tie their happiness to their material things.
People seem to gain this future perception that their lives will be content if they earn another 10,000 dollars, or buy a new outdoors setting, or an investment property, or whatever - that then, they'll be happy. It seems like the richer we get, the more stuff we want. And it's always in the future. Hardly anybody seems to be happy "right now".
Personally, I blame the marketers. By presenting a clear right/wrong view, and by telling emotional stories to us which capture our hearts, rather than encouraging us to think rationally about our desires, they keep us all on this consumer roundabout. And the stories aren't few and far between - they come thick and fast through every media outlet in the entire world.
Advertising wants to make us all depressed. People who are content and happy with their lives don't go shopping. In the same breath as making sure we all feel inadequate, mass marketing is telling us that they have the solution : buy more of their crappy stuff!.
And it's bullshit. What do you need? chances are, if you're reading this, you've eaten today. You have clothes and basic provisions for your family. You probably have a bunch of luxuries that you don't really need that make your life more entertaining. You don't need any extra crap.
I don't know where personal contentment can be found, but I'm pretty sure it's not at the mall. Maybe it's on the beach.