The Foreseen Trap of Materialism

It is common knowledge – getting more things won’t bring you a fulfilling life. It’s one of those things which everyone says, yet nobody does. After all, what’s more appealing to our simple selves – a not terribly specific or clear idea, or a new, shinning and luxurious car?

It’s actually surprisingly simple, and admittedly fun, to indulge in buying things. When we see something new on our hands, our pupils expand with excitement, our heart starts racing and without even realising we start smiling and jumping around uncontrollably (or was that last one just me?).

Oh my god my new laptop just arrived!

I bought a new IKEA desk and I’m so excited!!

Getting stuff provides us with a great feeling of novelty. For the first few days, at least. After that, the new car becomes the old car – you use it to get to work and back, like you used to. The new phone becomes the old phone – for procrastinating on the internet and swearing at messenger. Your new desk becomes just… a regular desk. And all the excitement is gone, and so is not an insignificant amount of money. After that, back to reality. Back to all the anxiety-inducing interactions, stressful deadlines, boring jobs and boring lives. It’s not that difficult to see that buying things is just a distraction, a form of procrastination from our real problems, an escape, if even for an hour. And honestly? A few hundred euros is a small price to pay for that short-lived feeling of satisfaction.

A slightly better solution to escaping our drudgery of a life is buying experiences instead of things. Money doesn’t by itself bring happiness, but it can surely help with buying a plane ticket to somewhere you’ve never been before. Or a ticket to a concert, or an exhibition, or a book or something. In fact, you don’t even need money to have fun – visit a museum, have a coffee with a friend, go for a walk. After a while, things wear out and break or get lost, while experiences stay with you for a long-ass time, way after they’re over. Experiences allow you to grow as a person, which is one of the most important aspects of living a fulfilling life. Or so I heard.

As life is not as simple as it appears at first sight, so are the above ideas not always true. Maybe you actually do need a new car for commuting to work, a new phone to communicate, a new desk to write a blog on. All that is more than perfectly reasonable, and yet, do you really need the most expensive thing you can afford? Do you really need the new 900 euro Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with 128GB of storage, octa-core processor and a Quad HD+ display? Maybe, if you’re a tech reviewer. Or maybe your storage will always be two thirds empty, and most cores unused as the only thing you do is browse the web. That’s up to you to decide. It’s fine to know what you’re looking for in a phone, whether you do need a big storage for your impressive collection of music, or a great camera for your suave Instagram account. But what kind of person honestly needs all of these things at once? I don’t know anyone, do you?