Money May Not Really Buy You Happiness And Fulfilment BY DOMINIC KIDZU


Is money important? Yes, mighty important. Is money the key to happiness and fulfilment? Not really a core value or essence, only a means to an end. Is money the gateway to the eternal verities such as love, honour, patriotism, truth, hope, conscience, temperance, prudence, wisdom and justice? Definitely not, being only capable of enabling material contentment, not nearly a compliment to true essence. What then is the greatest value that money can bestow? Money creates access to material comforts, pleasure and the easy life. What is beyond the power of money? Money lacks access to fulfilment, to contentment and true peace of mind as an ethical end in itself.

Of all the things that man could be blessed with, which is the greatest? Love. Mahatma Ghandi says that “there only is life where there is love. Life without love is death. Love is the reverse of the coin of which the obverse is the truth”. It was Ghandi’s firm faith that one can conquer the whole world by truth and love. There is no doubt that money gives physical and psychological pleasure to the owner, which some philosophers would even consider dangerous from an ethical point of view. Socrates for instance, disdained pleasure that sought to delight and gratify, which money can provide, preferring pleasure eventuating from deep contemplation and inner harmony.

Like Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas asserts that contemplation is man’s highest activity, but while Aristotle leaves it open as to what the art of contemplation concretely consists in, Aquinas specifies that God is the last end of happiness. He argues that whatever happiness may be, it cannot consist in such imperfect, finite things as material wealth, public honour and acclaim, political or social power, since man cannot find his final fulfillment in any created, finite good, neither in things outside him. While Aristotle agrees that Happiness is man’s highest good, he stipulates that it’s attainment comes both from the satisfaction of all human needs and a sharing in the divine activity and bliss of contemplation of eternal truths.

One of the most respected Islamic philosophers and mystics, Imam Muhammed Al Gazali specified that the purpose of wealth is for the upkeep of one’s self and family and for extending care to others with love. Jalal Al din Muhammed Rumi, also an Islamic philosopher and poet wrote
“When we are dead,
seek not our tomb in the earth,
but find it in the hearts of men.”
To Jalal Al din as to Mahatma Ghandi, the ultimate fulfilment consists in doing good, as Ghandi confesses: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again”.

We ought therefore to be careful about the choices we make, less we end up as the concrete statue of Ramesses the great, one of the greatest pharoes of ancient Egypt, which the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley records as declaring haughtily : “My name is Ozymandias, the king of kings, look on my works ye mighty, and despair. While only two vast trunkless legs of stone remained sunk in the desert, near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies..” All his conquests and the cities he built were gone, only the boastful statue remained burried in the sand with an amputated head. When all the mansions and cars and jets and high offices are gone, as they meet must go, what will live forever is the good name or the bad name, and the just reflection that must ultimately abound, about the choices we made whilst we thrived.

Dominic Kidzu writes from Calabar.


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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