Can't Buy Me Love?

Two interesting articles I came across this morning, with contradictory conclusions on the same subject: Does having more money lead to greater happiness? One article, in today's NY Times, "Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness. Well, on Second Thought ..." by DAVID LEONHARDT ( first says yes, then no, then yes. Leonhardt initially refers to a 1974 landmark study called the "Easterlin paradox," which showed that economic growth didn’t necessarily lead to more personal satisfaction, and an article in the Financial Times in 2006 called: "The hippies were right all along about happiness" (
However, last week, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, two young economists argue in a paper on the results of a new study showing that money indeed tends to bring happiness, even if it doesn’t guarantee it.
Well, who's right?
This reminds me that in a very short period of time, the Beatles wrote two songs on this subject that contradicted each other: "Can't buy me love" ("I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love.") and "Money" ("Money don't get everything it's true, but what it don't get, I can't use.").
It appears that people at all levels of success can be ambivalent about wealth, but actually, what I've discovered is that what underlies that conflict is that people are actually ambivalent about happiness. Yes, that's right. Many people not only avoid happiness like the plague, but they are drawn to unhappiness! In fact, according to Eva Broch, in an excellent channeled Pathwork Guide lecture, there is an actual "desire for unhappiness." (

Here's how she explains it:

"The desire for happiness already exists in the small infant. The infant's idea of happiness is fulfillment of all its desires instantly and in exactly the way it wants it. The infant realizes very early that the kind of happiness it wants is unattainable. The child feels dependent on a cruel world which denies it what it thinks it needs and could have if the world were less cruel. Regardless of how adult a person may be, a remnant of this infant remains with him for the rest of his life."

That inner, undeveloped voice cries out: "Only if I can have what I want, the way I want it, and when I want it, can I have happiness. I will be unhappy with any way other than this.' Included in this statement is the demand for absolute approval, admiration, and love by everybody. The moment anyone seems to fail to meet this requirement, the person's world crumbles. Happiness becomes an impossibility, not just for the time being, but forever after. This, of course, is never the intellectual conviction of an adult human being, but emotionally it holds true; for when everything seems hopeless, the mood becomes desperate."

This is one of the reasons I rail on and on to parents today about the damage they're doing by being overinvolved with and overindulgent of their children. A key part of life is learning how to develop both frustration tolerance and optimism about one's needs and desires eventually being met. Too many parents seek to falsely encourage children to believe in instant gratification, and of course, said children only become intensely frustrated because in a physical world, regardless of a parent's intentions, you cannot always manifest what you desire immediately.

That pained, inner, undeveloped voice continues:

"Since happiness is denied me and unhappiness is inevitable and inflicted on me against my will, I may just as well make the best of it and turn a liability into an asset by trying to enjoy unhappiness. Furthermore, I want to alleviate the humiliation that the unhappiness is inflicting upon me against my will, making me a helpless prey, so I will call forth the unhappiness myself! Then I am not quite so helpless."

That one is the key. I have often said to people that one can choose to be right and seemingly "in control" or one can choose to be happy, but not both. Misery can be controlled, even sought after, as the Guide is suggesting, but happiness comes from the opposite movement - letting go and surrendering the control of the will and ego. Happiness comes from trusting life. The catch, of course, is that if you are operating unconsciously and not connected to your feelings, you cannot trust life because you're always getting slammed, seemingly out of left field, whether you're rich or poor or in-between. Indeed, I know many people in all income strata, who are struggling to be happy, while unconsciously working towards unhappiness.
If control is what you seek, yes, you may be able to "force" money to come to you at times, but your desire for unhappiness will always be ready to create a nice financial crisis to accomodate that opposite wish. But if happiness is truly what you seek inside, through surrender and trust, material abundance will come to you as a by-product of your openness and gratitude. Money, then, is neither the source of happiness, nor the root of all evil. Money is neutral, a tool of one's inner motivations.

Back to the Beatles, a reporter once asked them early on if they thought their huge success and wealth would somehow interfere with their art. John Lennon answered, saying that he found he could write music sitting on a soft cushion just as well as on a hard bench.

"All you need is love."

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