We Need Scarcity to be Happy
When I was a kid, the release of a new album from U2 or Elvis Costello was one of the biggest moments of the year. I was waiting for the store in our village even before it was open, just to buy it as soon as possible.
The moments I had the time and opportunity to listen to it were very valuable. It took me a few weeks to know every song by heart and to discover every detail of the lyrics and the cover design. I invested time and effort to make the album my own. It became a priceless piece of art for me.
Nowadays, I have Spotify which gives me access to any music I want any time I want. What a luxury! I can collect albums with a single click. But I hardly invest time and effort in learning to know them.
Does it make me happier than what I was thirty years ago? No, it doesn’t. But on the contrary, things which are not scarce lose their value:
- A music album is more valuable when you had to make an effort to get it.
- Spare time is only valuable when you are busy.
- Health is much more appreciated when you are ill.
We need scarcity to be happy. As Mahatma Gandhi taught us already: “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment”. [...]
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