The Curse of Affluence

Facts are facts…


There’s an interesting short article in Newsweek: Don’t Let Chaos Get You Down.

The basic thesis, supported by data, is that the more we have, the less contented we are.

In fact, there’s lots of scientific evidence that depression is a disease of affluence. People in poorer countries have a lower risk of depression than those of us in the industrialized, affluent world.

I’m willing to bet that you, or someone you know well, is on anti-depressants.

Many of us take medications to help us sleep, then dose up on those 5-hour energy drinks to get us through the work day.

We stand in line to pay $5 for a hyper-dose of caffeine at Starbucks, transfixed by messages on our smart phones.

We endure the stress of bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic in our Lexus and pick up fast food for our families because we’re too mentally exhausted to cook fresh food when we get home.

Then, we turn on our flat screen HD TV sets and pull out our iPads so we can mutli-task until the late news, when we take an Ambien, put the timer on the TV in our bedroom and hope to fall asleep quickly.

It’s a form of madness, really.

And I think it’s one of the reasons people come back from visiting Africa saying it’s a life-changing experience.

They’ve witnessed people who, though they have few of our modern conveniences, appear genuinely happy and contented. The less they have, compared to the affluence of our lives, the happier they seem.

happy faces africa j1rx

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s worth some reflection…