Happiness, Money and Power


Power essentially means the ability to make an impact, for better or worse. Money needs no explanation because people don’t mind having it. Happiness means feeling good and satisfied about yourself, and the people and things around you. How do these three things relate to each other?

Power and money go together because they complement each other. Power and money require maintenance using material resources. The more you have, the heavier is the maintenance. Happiness is an entirely different thing. It is both reward (happy) and punishment (unhappy) that can befall any person. Happiness is free for it’s a state of mind.

In ancient times, the absolute monarch was the most powerful and richest person in the whole country. His word was the law. He owned everything including the lives of his subjects. How did he maintain power and wealth? He depended on an army and a large group of loyalists whom he must reward handsomely for protecting him. He must be constantly on guard against other powerful people who might want to dethrone or murder him, including his siblings. You may think that he must be the happiest person. Most royal families were dysfunctional due to obsession with power and money. They loved the throne, not each other. The monarch was not sure which ones of his wives or concubines really loved him. He could not control his aging process although he wanted to live forever.

In modern times, a dictator maintains power in a similar way as the absolute monarch. All dictators are very powerful and rich. However, most dictatorships ended before the lives of the dictators expired, or took their lives with them.

Although absolute monarchs and dictators are almost extinct nowadays, a class of business tycoons, industry titans, real estate magnates, and political elites have emerged that possess big money and power. Their impacts are far-reaching but subtle, where the results may take years to be felt. They may collude with one another at the expense of the general public, or compete with each other to further their own material interests. They live in a different world where we can only fantasize. Occasionally, we learn about their ways of live in the newspapers and tabloids. When the reporters throw in things like corruption, adultery, divorce and other family feuds into the games of money and power, it makes the stories more sensational.

As regular people, we can only aspire to be rich, powerful and famous. A few of us will join their ranks one day. In order to be happy, we don’t need to possess any of those things. It’s free. We only need to have a healthy image of ourselves in this world, live harmoniously with the people and things around us, and feel satisfied and blessed about who we are.

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