Hasthe acquisition of money and possessions replaced more meaningfulways of measuring our achievements?
Theuse of money and possessions as a measure of wealth and achievementis not a new concept. In fact, it is innate to human beings. It isnot hard for one to see why money is equitable to success. People arewired to act by a reward principle. When a person eats, they expectto get satisfaction from hunger. Similarly, when an individual works,they expect to get paid. Therefore, individuals end up associatingpeople who have money and possessions as being successful. Money andpossessions have altered the way people measure their achievementsbecause of pop culture and changing life objectives.
Protagoraswas highly regarded in ancient times to the point that his reputationstill lives on today. He was a renowned philosopher who seemed tohave the answers to even the most difficult questions on life.However, if he were to live in today’s society, all hisphilosophical works would not yield him the same amount of wealth andfame that he had received back then. Success in modern day society isnot quantifiable through the use of a person’s achievement. Rather,people look at the material wealth that a person possesses. Simplyput, monetary riches are equivalent to success, and a lack thereofconstitutes failure (Twenge and Campbell, 2013).
Onecan attribute the change in mentality to the gradual and continuinginfluence of pop culture. Role models of today’s society are notthe people who achieve a fulfilling life. For instance, on Instagram,President Obama has 10.5 million followers. On the other hand, KimKardashian has over eighty million followers. The trend is similarwhen one compares the social media accounts of celebrities with theaccounts belonging to people (such as scientists) who makesignificant differences in the way human beings live. People do notwant to be happy because they have lived a fulfilled life. Rather,they want to live a possessive life (Twenge and Campbell, 2013).
Afulfilled life is one where an individual attains the uppermost levelof Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is self-actualization.Comparatively, a possessive life is based on what someone has. Peopleset out to amass material wealth that will determine their place inthe social hierarchy. People make life decisions such as those oncareer, life partners, and educational direction because of themonetary reward at the end. The degree of happiness within anindividual’s life does not matter if the happiness is not backed bymoney. Similarly, achievements without proportionate monetary gainscount for little in a society that judges people by how much moneythey possess (Brym and Lie, 2013).
Inconclusion, modern day people have very different life goals incomparison to people who lived in the past. People want to succeed inlife as fast as possible and in the most visible manner, which isthrough flaunting a new car or house. Others are under the influenceof pop culture, because of celebrities who glorify materialownership. As such, in current societies, it is all about what onehas in comparison to their counterparts. Therefore, one can say thatmoney and material possessions are the new standards for measuringachievements.
Brym,R. J., & Lie, J. (2013). Sociology:Pop culture to social structure.Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Twenge,J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2014). Thenarcissism epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement.New York: Atria Books.