The Virtue of Material Acquisition and Spending Money: Defying thousands of years of wrongly framed thinking

I am not suggesting that any person spend money like a bottomless pit buying anything everywhere to cover up some deep psychological problem.  That is a different issue from what I’m proposing.  Money is simply a representation of value so when someone spends money without considering the implication of cost they are essentially unable to grasp the concept of value because psychologically, they are lacking the basic foundations to do so.  However, and this is a uniquely American way to think which was drawn incredibly clear for me while traveling recently through London, Paris, Brighton and many other places in between and observing the people there and comparing them to those I have known back home in the United States.  Additionally, as one of my many occupations, I am an employer and am an expert in the breakdown of labor=productivity and the psychological implications of personality=quality+implied effort toward targeted outcomes, so what I’m about to say requires some advanced context—because it eludes most people living on the earth today—and my assertion of these concepts comes from very advanced knowledge earned the hard way, and in my view, the only way.

I had the fortune to grow up and know both of my grandparents very well.  Both were farmers and had obviously had their world outlook shaped by the Great Depression.  One was particularly keen about every penny spent and watched them like a hawk always afraid that some big wave would come and overtake them wiping them out forever into poverty. They were extremely hard-working people and were socially very honorable, but did reflect a constant fear that their money would be taken away by some unknown force be it a disaster or the aggressions of mankind through some form of robbery—so every penny was watched for their entire lives. The other set of grandparents were rather loose with their money.  If they wanted something they bought it and never gave much of a concern if something cost thousands of dollars even back in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  If they wanted it they’d do what they had to in order to obtain it—whether it be a farm, a particular car, or just a lifestyle.

While traveling around Europe there was this constant phantom in the back of every conversation I had with people I interacted with, from family, friends and mild acquaintances which were shocked that we did so much in such a short period of time while people who were regionally located had spent their whole lives 60 miles to 100 miles from the things we were doing as a family in Europe yet had never tried to do them themselves.  And it came up more than once at dinner tables that my youngest grandson who was at this point only 10 months of age had already been to Disney World once, and was now traveling around Europe with my daughter and her husband.  Additionally while he was still a fetus he traveled around Iceland the year before so before he was even a year old had experienced vast cultural influences which are the foundations of a very interesting coming life that he will have—but people hearing all this just didn’t understand.  “You spent how much at that Ramsay restaurant in Chelsea?”  “You took the Eurostar to Paris just to go to the Louvre?” “Why go all the way out to Stonehenge just to look at some old rocks?”  Those were the kind of questions we received just over the last few weeks by people mystified by the amount activities we reported through small talk which of course opened up a deeper sore which rests on the surface of most things human beings do in their lives.  What is the value of a human day and what does one wish to do with those days toward a value that is internally comprehended at the subconscious level?

That same daughter who traveled with me just recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus after working with mine on that trip and I was proud of her because it’s the best on the market at this particular time and I like to see she does not compromise quality for the comfort of saving a few dollars.  Just like my view that if we are in London and my wife wants to go to the best restaurant that they have—why not do it?  Essentially if I really want something, I typically get it. I don’t feel that way about everything and I do go through a screening process.  Such as Stonehenge is something that I’ve mulled around for years, but the expense wasn’t worth the trip just for that endeavor.  But If I’m in London on business, or leisure, then I’ll find a way to get there—you better believe it.  I am not the kind of person content to just watch from my front porch others doing things and not doing them myself.  To me nothing on earth is off limits—if I want it, I’ll get it.  With that in mind, when I hear someone say that this is too expensive, or that is too far out of reach, I lose respect for those people because what they are really saying is that they are not willing to do the extra work to acquire the things their heart’s desire and are more than willing to yield to complacency.

Such people who do the minimum in life favoring the lazy position of being victims of circumstance are miserable human beings.  One thing that makes Donald Trump a uniquely American product is that he has the kind of mind that never felt limited by circumstances.  He dreamed big, lived big, and was more than happy to show off how much harder he was willing to work than his contemporaries.  Because after all what is a man really showing off when he arrives at an exclusive club in a Lamborghini with a hot woman on his arm looking very debonair?  He’s not saying he just inherited millions of dollars from his dad, or that he’s willing to waste large volumes of money on nothing—he’s saying that he is willing to outwork his peers and has obtained success and by fluffing his feathers declares himself above those around him so that he can have top access to the best that mankind has to offer—whether it be women, productivity, or leisure opportunity.  Those who point jealously at the man are those simply not willing to do what it takes to acquire such things.  They resort to socialism hoping to be equal to the man without having to do the work so that they essentially don’t have to feel the guilt of underperforming in a world which rewards people like the Lamborghini driver over those who watch every penny fearful that the penny might be taken from them at some point forcing them to work one hour longer to make it up in the future.  People who deliberately set low bars for themselves are constantly unhappy when they have to live in a world where people are free to work and gain all they can and this is the cause of much anxiety in the world. By having a guy like that Lamborghini driver in the White House the expectations for our national economy will naturally expand which I see no negative to at all.  People who are afraid of hard work won’t like it because the social bars of expectation will be raised out of their range of desired applied effort—but that’s good for America as a whole for obvious reasons of economic expansion.

What I observed in Europe was something completely foreign to me.  I knew about it, but actually spending significant time there the situation was glaringly obvious.  They think small in Europe.  They have too much vacation time-they sit and talk too much about nothing and are content to live with the limitations they inherited from their ancient ancestors and they have grown as a region to accept many restrictions which keep them from really living life.  I personally don’t have any of those limits in my life because honestly no matter how much I spend, I’m willing to work harder than anybody else to have what I desire.  I may not care to have a Lamborghini because I’m not interested in the social things that come with it.  I’m married and not looking for women, and I usually do things with my family so there isn’t a back seat for them to sit in when we go out to dinner so the value isn’t worth the cost to me.  But if I wanted one, I’d buy one and nothing would stop me from getting it.  There really aren’t many “things” I want in life because material objects don’t bring much value to me—intellectual things do like books—but “things” themselves don’t do it for me.  But when I want a particular gun, or a motorcycle, or an iPhone—or a television—I get the best of whatever it is and I don’t think about the cost because I am literally willing to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week to obtain whatever it is.

That leaves me with absolutely no sympathy for the person who holds onto their money because they either fear someone taking it from them through aggression, or that they just are afraid of hard work. The person who is afraid to take their wife out to a nice dinner isn’t being fiscally prudent as much as they are just being a wimp afraid of giving up their leisure time to make their spouse a little more happy and comfortable. To select the cheaper version of a car to save money is setting the bar lower for other things and such people are artificially restricting the quality of their life to preserve their internal laziness—in most cases.  And that’s a generally accurate way to identify much of what is currently sickening the world in regard to human beings. They want things that they see other people have, but they are not willing to do what it takes to have those things.  In many cases their religions have given them a free pass to be lazy by constantly castigating the wealthy by highlighting poverty as some kind of virtue.  And that has been a cleverly shrouded element in our society which has garnered little to no attention from our everyday life.

I fortunately was able to live in Canterbury for a good part of February 2017 and in that ancient city there are still monks who make the conscious decision to live in poverty—to essentially quit yearning for material objects so that they can earn their way into heaven.  Its one thing to read about such things, it’s quite another to meet them and see them in the streets of Canterbury which I did.  My wife and I even went to their little island in the Stour River to get a sense of how and why they live the way they do.  Additionally, there are quite a few homeless people in Canterbury who have obviously quit life yielding to the escape of alcoholism.  The two groups of purposely poor demographic groups had decided to set the bar so low for themselves that they were victims of circumstance and simply yielded their life to other controlling elements.  Compassion is not the word I would use to explain their circumstance upon meeting them and speaking directly to them about their manner of living.  They have quit life and have tossed it back to what they think “God” is—and by my definition for things are wasting themselves.  It’s not honorable to be poor or to sacrifice their life for some greater good when what they are really hiding is their sheer laziness to get up each day and battle toward personal goals set for the benefit of being alive.  Such as, you can’t take that car, that house and that nice watch with you into the next world.  But what you do take is the experience gained in obtaining those things because the effort expands your intellect which has resonance into the many dimensional planes of reality that your soul resides on.  So in essence, the work utilized in reaching for material goods and services has a natural byproduct that resonates across the universe into your eternal elements—and those monks in Canterbury are missing the point by deciding to live in poverty so to obtain the grace of God.  And regarding the homeless people, I’ve been at points in my life where compared to them, they were much wealthier than I was—but I never quite working.  A person like me would never be on the street without a house or the means to get one and to me there is no excuse in living on the street begging for food or enough scraps to get a bottle of alcohol to indulge in drunkenness.  They are people who lack the internal drive to fight through each day and make the best of it—let’s be honest.

So those are some things to think about in regard to money, value, virtue, and immortal spirit.  When my daughter told me she had bought a new iPhone 7 after working with mine I would say she did more for her eternal spirit than those Canterbury monks have done in 30 years of living deliberately impoverished in dedication to God—because the value isn’t in the material item—it’s in the productive output to acquire it.  The morality of a good economy does more for assisting the soul of its recipients than deliberate quitting of the world does by yielding to the old forces of intellectual control over those willing to submit themselves to every authority.  Doing what the heart desires for the right reasons is a more moral decision than sacrificing it to circumstance.  It is not honorable to say “I can’t do this because of that, or that I don’t have enough of that to do this.”  It is honorable to say I want that so I’m going to do this to have it because the virtue comes in the act of acquiring the means to perform the task.  For instance the virtue of spending over $1000 on a meal isn’t the food itself or the obvious consumable nature of it—it’s in acquiring the $1000 to spend and in sharing that experience with the people you care about for the memory of it—and the message to them that they are more valuable to you than just setting the bar too low for everyone and holding them prisoner to your low expectations for yourself.  Monks hide that low bar behind dedication to God. The homeless behind their lack of internal resolve to fight through personal challenges–and the lazy hide behind circumstances—whether they are too short, not smart enough, too weak, too something to be that guy who shows up to dinner in the Lamborghini with the hot chick on their arm—so reserve themselves to sitting on their front porch watching the world pass them by and claim that they are being “fiscally prudent.”  They are just being wimps.  And that is the harsh reality that so many people need to face—because they aren’t fooling anyone.

Rich Hoffman


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