Spiritual vs Material Wealth

  • Added:
    Sep 28, 2012
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Material wealth is part of our world and it should be enjoyed in its best quality with people that love and care. One can technically have wealth and love, but usually, there has to be compromise. Life is full of horror stories of all the people who have not properly handled the abundant wealth that was given to them. For instance, many people get divorced because one of them feels more important because he (she) makes more money than his (her) mate. Many friendships break up because of the same reason.

The persons whose existence revolve around material values rather than tangible human qualities, rely on their money rather than their families to bring them comfort and security to their lives. They focus too much on money and power and as a result they have superficial family relationships. All love that matters becomes based on social status. To drive big cars and live in beautiful houses, one has to work very hard and very long hours and to spend less time with the people he (she) cares about. Generally, people who earn lots of money forget what is important in life because they are so driven by material wellbeing.

On the other hand, very rich people don`t really know who their real friends are. That`s why money brings insecurity and loneliness. Money cannot buy peace of mind, greatness of spirit, serenity, confidence and self-sufficiency. Poverty in money can be temporary. But poverty of the mind, can never be cured. When we see a very rich man who is only absorbed in money-getting, it is obvious that he suffers from mental poverty. This person is driven to wealth, his ambition and pretension compel him to work very hard and very long hours, to cheat  or to steal .

The Bible also tells us that the love of money is the root of evil-not the actual money itself. There are people who are able to handle their wealth properly and who enjoy life and help the poor. On the other hand, wealth has made many people conceited, arrogant and full of pride and therefore nobody loves them. Their money starts to blind them to everything else that is more important in their lives-like their personal relationships with their families and friends. 

The American film “Citizen Kane,” directed by and starring Orson Wells shows us that materialism is just an empty shell created by people and corporations who are making millions from it. At the beginning of this classic masterpiece, which is probably the world`s most famous and higly-rated film,  Kane is fully happy as he plays in the snow outside his family`s home. When Walter Thatcher, (the banker who becomes the boy`s legal guardian), removes Kane from his place, he`s given material luxury. However, Kane finds that those things don`t make him happy, and that the exchange of emotional security for financial security is ultimately unfulfilling.

As an adult, he uses his money not to build his own happiness but to either buy love or make others as miserable as he is. Kane obsessively fills his estate “Xanadu” with expensive things and he ends up there alone, with his possessions as his only companions. By purchasing so many extravagant goods, he attempts to fill a void created by all the people who left him throughout his life.  His wealth isolates him from others and old age in “Citizen Kane” does not come with grace, but with defeat.

F. Scott Fitzgerald`s masterpiece, “The Great Gatsby,” also demonstrates that the only thing about having a lot of money upholds is a corrupt class system whose members ultimately value it above everything else. Love, friendship, happiness-none of these can be bought permanently; but money can maintain one`s place in a corrupt society. Throughout the book, Gatsby tries to buy Daisy`s love. But though she claims to love him, her love is as superficial as the image Gatsby has with his money. He was a member of a rank called “new money” and this rank never overpowered “old money”, the most respected class. Daisy`s husband Tom belonged to this class and his wealth and social status allowed him to feel entitled to do as he pleased. After Gatsby`s murder, Daisy doesn`t even bother showing up at his funeral.  

The writer shows how materialistic tendencies make people unremorseful and cold-hearted. Tom and Daisy seem like arrogant snobs and money-hungry robots; wanting to be surrounded around wealth and having no sympathy or any other emotion towards anyone other than people like themselves. Money creates problems when we do not have it, and yet more problems when we have it. It is only an illusion that we are in control of our money: in actual fact we do not notice how subtly and intensively it exercises control over us. Material wealth makes us both masters and slaves.

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