Many people aspire to having better cars, better clothing, better flooring, a residence with more square feet than the last one. Everywhere, people want to improve the trappings of their everyday lives. If all their wishes suddenly came true, their reactions would be ecstatic but how long would it last?
As long as certain minimum human needs are established, there are diminishing returns with further improvements.
So long as each thing we own performs its proper function, we stop taking notice of it. A palace gets old, no matter how great it might have seemed at first.
What investments then will give us the best most consistent returns? What pleasures then keep on giving back to us?
Who ever gets sick and tired of a good meal, a good night’s sleep, good sex, a great story, or a long conversation with a friend?
What are the pleasures that uplift us and make us feel complete and fulfilled, again and again?
Many of the pleasures we worship are false pleasures. Mostly, they are indulged in for the sake of signaling status. They not only fail to make our lives better, they tend to take up enormous amounts of time, money, and energy. Not only is the glory they offer brief, they take us away from the eternal pleasures of existence that never fade.
By being mindful of which things in life are eternal and which are false, we can more successfully prioritize our expenditures.
Consumers in industrialized countries typically spend cash on bills, status trinkets, convenience products and make up for their lopsided spending by living on junk food.
A more judicious person finds ways to reduce bills while avoiding trinkets and convenience items to free money up for high quality food.
A Subtle person would be willing to own a serviceable minimum of clothing and share tiny apartments to be able to have smoked salmon and good wine at will. Meanwhile, the worker drone holding down an oversized mortgage to keep up appearances subsists on empty starch whenever there aren’t guests over.
The Subtle person sacrifices the false pleasures to get at the very substance of life.
The Loud person sacrifices life itself for the appearance of life.
Ultimately, a person who hasn’t the power to decide what is for dinner, nor the time to have a leisurely meal can only be considered the most abject of slaves.