How materialism makes us sad

in books on (#3K3)
story imageThe Guardian has an interesting review about materialism and happiness in relation to the book by Graham Music entitled: The Good Life: Wellbeing and the New Science of Altruism, Selfishness and Immorality . The thesis of the book appears to be that materialism and consumerism create unhappiness that can be exploited to perpetuate the cycle of getting ever more things. And, that this relationship may explain why inequalities get exacerbated by the wealthy with power.

Two quotes of note from the article and its sources:
  1. A study at Berkeley University, quoted by Music ... "The higher up the social-class ranking people are, the less pro-social, charitable and empathetically they behaved … consistently those who were less rich showed more empathy and more of a wish to help others.", and
  2. "Those with more materialistic values consistently have worse relationships, with more conflict," Music writes. "This is significant if the perceived shift towards more materialistic values in the west is accurate."

Materialism? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-05-07 19:41 (#1FC)

What exactly is "materialism"?
- philosophical: everything is made of matter (and energy, by E=mc²) - in other words: there is no such thing as a soul.
- common: a tendency to collect property/money.

It seems they confuse both meanings, especially in a sentence like "the perceived shift towards more materialistic values in the west".

Both meanings are unrelated. I am a materialist in the first sense (for the moment, that is until there is scientific proof of the existence of something else - which would surprise me even if the possibility is not zero), but not in the second. I also know enough religious (so not materialist in the first meaning) people who are materialists in the second meaning.
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