Friday, August 24, 2007

Does money make you happy?

When preparing for an Eden presentation I'll be holding tomorrow, I came upon this picture (taken by an Eden field worker) which I just had to share.

Copyright Eden Foundation

I seem to be one of the few Western/African bloggers who do not believe that technology is going to solve Africa's numerous issues. I am fortunate however to be working with the least developed area of the least developed country in the world, where "the poor" laugh and the children are full of life.

There's a funny thing about the world I was born into. We keep telling ourselves that money doesn't buy happiness, but any time I turn on the TV or listen to the prominent voices directing potential buyers into an even narrower capitalistic society which is meant to add more items to your material collection which in turn is supposed to make you feel better about yourself - I wonder how our logic adds up. We say money doesn't buy happiness, but I really wonder - does anybody in the Western world still believe that? If so, why do we keep on buying so much and why do we continue pushing our own lifestyle onto every other society whenever we have the chance?

In my book, there is beauty in contentment. Having "enough" is an incredible wealth and fills most of us with satisfaction. Having more than one knows what to do with only makes life complicated. It is my personal belief that neither technology nor financial investments will ever save Africa from poverty, but the Eden trees growing in Tanout are bringing hope and inspiration as we speak.

Copyright Eden Foundation

And I am happy just to be a part of it.



drowseymonkey said...

Fantastic post. I love the picture of the kids playing - you definately don't need money to have fun or be happy, of course you do need 'enough' as you say for the basics in life. You're doing great work & so glad you're sharing it with us.

Tauratinzwe said...

Right on!



photogchic said...

I hate to say it, but I just spent $5 on Powerball tickets...hoping to win the $300 million dollar jackpot. I would have done really great things with the money had I won:-) I didn't get any numbers right...rats!

Ugo Daniels said...


You're very correct Ishtar, thing is africa need to set it's priorities str8, and not focus exclusively on technological advancement. I, however, don't advocate scrapping it entirely!

Hope you had a nice weekend, One!!

felix said...

Hi ishtar,i think your inspiration is from your heart and ofcourse you describe the baseline of genuine african an african myself,i believe we'll bridge the gap between north and south with the advent of technology and if i'm not mistaken africa is not asking for much;just it's natural share of the "cake"!The smiling and gaety faces in our communities is natural and not fake(for better or for worse)and it'll always be the same!
praise to your works,signorina!

Rising Rainbow said...

the kids definitely look like they're having a great time.

Ahoy! said...

Hi Ishtar, it's been a long time since I've dropped by your blog but I still enjoy it and I think I get something from it each time.

That was a very beautiful picture on this post; it just captures the word happiness in a moment in time. :-)

Funnily, I actually think I have been more materialistic when I lived in the Philippines, i.e. before moving to Sweden. There I just had everything without having to think much about it, and I accumulated hordes of stuff I realize now that I don't need.

Here in Sweden I don't even have a TV in the apartment, nor have I spent on clothes for a long time. Instead, I am starting to appreciate public libraries and parks where people don't need to pay to get in and I realized suddenly that one can have a good life, contacts and recreation without having to spend huge amounts of money.

So I think both "The Western World" and poorer countries in Asia and Africa are potential places where one can realize that money doesn't suddenly make one happy. And in both places (as you said with the West), it's also true that the capitalist system is making us think the opposite. I mean that material accumulation is not only a Western attitude, and being happy with little is not exclusively for the developed world.

But of course you know that :-)

Ahoy! said...

Oh yes, another thing on your last thought-provoking statement so-called technological fixes to poverty: My boyfriend and I have recently been discussing environmental issues and the concept "sustainable development". One can say that the concept is "modern" and "Western," in that the development it refers to is mainly economical development, using the environment and society merely as parts of that economical equation of sustainable growth.

But how much economical growth is enough? And is it our goal to increase it to infinity? And what will happen to the environment and society then?

I reflected on these because it seemed to me that your foundation had a different philosophy; that society and environment too can be the ones that are sustained and developed, even when the economic capacity is not that great... in fact it doesn't need to be. So yeah, what are society's priorities actually?

It pleases me to think that people like you are involved in fostering the "other" mindset though, and not just ranting and writing about it in school papers as I would do :-)

Well, take care you and your friend Annika and I wish you a very fulfilling, fruitful and fun stay in your land of calling!