You only need so much to live a good and healthy life. Then there are a certain number of possessions that account for convenience. What is the rest for? Why do the more expensive brands exist? A R500,00 T-shirt is made of the same materials as the R100,00 one. It’s not even necessarily held together better. You don’t even get happier after you buy stuff that you think will make your life better. In fact, you’re most likely happier just thinking about buying the stuff. Some studies even suggest that being more materialistic increases your chances of becoming miserable.
So, why do we keep buying items we don’t need and that don’t make us happy?
We Are Influenced By the “Grass Is Greener On The Other Side” Syndrome
Whether or not human beings are inherently prone to jealousy, we often let it cloud our judgment. When jealousy makes you perceive something to be better than it actually is because you don’t have it, it’s called, “the grass is greener (on the other side of the fence)” syndrome or effect.
You might notice a guy move in across the street. Not only does he have a bigger house and car, but every time you see him, he’s smirking. For all you know, he could be paying down a gigantic mortgage, and leasing the car. He could be on his last legs and downright miserable. But our first reaction is to jump to conclusions. Perhaps it’s instinct to predict beyond what we have reasonable evidence to assume. Either way, it’s part of what makes us so prone to materialistic tendencies.
Items Are More Easily Attainable Than Alternatives
What is meant is, it’s often easier to set your sights on a particular item, than choosing to focus on enjoying every day with what you have. Because it seems more like progress, more logical, than simply accepting your existence how it is. So the new car gets priority. And then it’s a bigger apartment. And then it’s to renovate the apartment. There is literally no end to the new items to attain which you could line up as part of your ideal path in life. And that’s what makes it so dangerous. You don’t get out unless you notice. And you don’t notice unless you want to.
Hoarding Is an Instinct
Some theories suggest that our materialistic ways are caused by a leftover trait that was once crucial to surviving: the tendency to hoard valuable materials for later use. When what you perceive as useful or valuable is manipulated, that’s when it starts to become unhealthy.
Mufti Yusuf Moosagie will this afternoon discuss a few more reasons why we are so materialistic, but remember in the Quraan Allah warns us
زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ ٱلشَّهَوَٰتِ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلْبَنِينَ وَٱلْقَنَـٰطِيرِ ٱلْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ ٱلذَّهَبِ وَٱلْفِضَّةِ وَٱلْخَيْلِ ٱلْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَٱلْأَنْعَـٰمِ وَٱلْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَـٰعُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَٱللَّهُ عِندَهُۥ حُسْنُ ٱلْمَـَٔابِ
The life of men when they get to the age of puberty is tempted by desire for women when they get married children, when they get children the hoarding of treasures of gold and silver, splendid horses, cattle, and plantations. These are the comforts for the transitory life of this world; the everlasting best comfort, however, is with Allah. [Al Imran:14]