Why I’d rather be happy than rich

In pursuit of that six figure salary? Unlikely lawyer ROBERT EYERS thinks you need to sort your life out.

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Have you ever been happy? I’ve heard good things. Apparently it’s thrilling. Emotional. And, most importantly, often inexplicable. We can identify the things that trigger it, but not why they do so. Essentially, it’s illogical.

Have you ever been rich? Wealth is a logical beast, offering its would-be-riders two differently shaped saddles:

1) Offer society something that they want. They’ll give you money in exchange.

2) Hope an ancestor has offered society something that it wants…wait for the ancestor to die.

Stick with one of those approaches and you’re guaranteed wealth. It’s clinically, coldly, purely logical.

So, how do these (rather arbitrary) definitions prove that happiness is better than wealth? It’s going to take some almost legal thinking to draw the right conclusion.

Luckily I’ve been studying law for 14 weeks now. And I’ve discovered something – logic takes this piss. It drains you. There are another 58 weeks ahead of me, before the promised wealth and wig. And, by the end of it, I’m not going to have any piss left to take. Logic treats you like a whore: gives you cash, then screws you vigorously. If this is wealth, I’m out.

Just say no.

Just say no.

Matthieu Ricard is, apparently, the world’s happiest man (Google it. I did). He’s not the poorest man on the planet, but he is a Buddhist monk, and they’re not known for their share portfolios. And he is so happy. So happy. Apparently he does get angry sometimes, and when he does he just ends up laughing at himself, because anger is ‘so silly’. Now that’s smooth. As smooth as a baby’s bottom that’s been sandpapered and then buffed with velvet. By dolphins.

Remember happiness? Me neither.

Remember happiness? Me neither.

Playing the money-grabbing lawyery scum at their own game, I think it’s time to provide some evidence. Apparently, philosophers are trained to deal with this type of thing, so I interviewed a philosophy student with money. And it went something like this:

Me: Do you think money is better than happiness?

Moneyed Bloke: Yes.

Me: Why?

Moneyed Bloke: Have you ever seen a happy tramp?

Me: Yes.

Moneyed Bloke: Me too. Was he drunk?

Me: Yes.

Moneyed Bloke: Exactly. And how do you get alcohol to get drunk?

Me: Going to Sainsbury’s and looking for offers in the wine aisle.

Moneyed Bloke: Yep. And what do you need to do that?

Me: Money.

Moneyed Bloke: Great. So, money is cheap booze which is happiness.

Which wasn’t the question I’d asked. I’m not saying money can’t make you happy. You can have both and if you can pull that off, well done. You’ve won life. I’ll get you your certificate and complimentary t-shirt. But if you have to be Rich&Miserable™ or Happy&Poor™, which would it be?

Moneyed Bloke: But what really is happiness?

Balls. Forgot he was a philosopher.

A philosophy degree: providing rigorous training for life's important questions.

A philosophy degree: providing rigorous training for life’s important questions.

For me, happiness is being able to sleep. And eat. And sleep. And not having to get up for 9 o’clocks. And not being handed back weekly essays marked simply with the words ‘ludicrously inadequate’ (only happened once). Happiness is not having to care what people think about you, because you know that they love you. Happiness is having other people buy you so many drinks that you forget that it’s polite to buy some back. Happiness is everything that the process of making cold, hard cash isn’t.

So, screw the future. I should have done HSPS.