Finding what matters
Here’s a thought experiment: If you had all the money in the world, what would you get? Imagine the whole process—buying, owning, having best moments with it, and eventual boredom, when it doesn’t feel special anymore. Then think about the next thing, and the next thing, until you run out of things that you can think of.
After that you may feel that you don’t know what to do anymore. Things that you were working so hard for are already here, and any pleasure that you were squeezing from them is gone. But of course you don’t want to acknowledge that, no matter how painful that might be.
Or you might feel that your life’s focus is as clear as never before. All those things—even though they brought you temporary happiness and satisfaction—were merely a distraction.
Physical goods are very concrete—either you have them or you don’t. There is no middle ground. They give positive effect for sure, but because getting them is a one-time event, that effect slowly fades. Hence the lack of deeper meaning.
We, as human beings, need something that is never ending. Something that gives us more things to reach for. Either some activity that we enjoy, people that we like being around to, or work that makes world a little bit better. It’s fine to get a short boost of satisfaction once in a while, but we shouldn’t confuse it with fulfilment, because that brings the danger of becoming prisoner of self—subject to mental and physical decay.