“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.” – Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs
We used to own things. I expect this will seem significant and surprising sooner than we think. Ownership is embedded in our culture. To own more is to be happy, ‘Happiness is the smell of a new car’. And yet we all know that statement isn’t quite true. While we strive every day to achieve that goal; work harder, longer, sacrifice and cut corners so we can buy more, all the while we know that we don’t really believe the story.
If this is such a well known fallacy, then why is it so resilient? I think partly we have hope to blame. Not the good kind of hope that pulls us through the dark times, but the kind harnessed by beer ads and pictures of beautiful people. The kind of hope that tells us that if I only buy that beer, or wear that cologne, then this aspect of my unhappiness will disappear. Hope can be a powerful thing. So why would this change?