A major problem endangering our collective existence in the world today is this obsession with materialism. From the antics of those who dominate other lands to steal their resources to the shenanigans of the “fantastically corrupt” Nigerians who would rather steal our common patrimony than secure lives and property in the war against Boko Haram, it is the same virus that runs through their veins.
Material wealth, which is not bad in itself, is being glorified by the media and the popular culture as the ultimate success, with some religious groups also joining the fray. Today, everyone seems desperate to be Dangote and Otedola (because they don’t have two heads each, if you get my drift) by hook means or crook, with serious implications for peace and security.
Despite the high fences and security cameras which were not part of our childhood, we are less safer than we were before. Those who want to grab ours still go to incredible extents to unleash violence as evident in a cursory glance at our national dailies. To worsen the situation, the means to acquire with rabid intensity is pseudo-intellectualised by such hackneyed sayings as Niccolo Machiavelli’s “the end justifies the means.”
The counterforce to this prevalent scenario is the need to be wisely educated and realise that we actually own nothing. The life of this world is short and all material possessions are useless to the owner when life ends. Therefore, it is much better to prioritise more beneficial things than to be obsessed with what would be useless at the end of life.
Everything we have is a test or trial because we don’t possess them in the real sense. Our wives and children are not ours – at least forever. Besides, wives marry other husbands and children soon become other people’s “exclusive property” as subsequent wives or husbands.
Our ears, eyes, hands, legs and other body parts are ours, right, but it is when we lack or lose the capacity to use them that we appreciate how they can be taken away. It is in our interest to understand the nature of life and enjoy the time we have to spend in it with contentment and happiness, not with anxiety over unmet aspirations or sadness on present situations.
The following passage is relevant and it is worth sharing again because all we worry about are ultimately useless:
“When we die, our money remains in the bank. Yet, when we are alive, we don’t have enough money to spend.
“In reality, when we are gone, there is still a lot of money not spent.
“One business tycoon in China passed away. His widow, left with $1.9 billion in the bank, married his chauffeur. His chauffeur said, “All the while, I thought I was working for my boss…it is only now that I realize that my boss was all the time working for me!
“The cruel reality is that it is more important to live longer than to have more wealth. So, we must strive to have a strong and healthy body. It doesn’t really matter who is working for who.
“In a high-end phone, 70% of the functions is useless! For an expensive car, 70% of the speed and gadgets are not needed. If you own a luxurious villa or mansion, 70% of the space is usually not used or occupied. How about your wardrobe of clothes? 70% of them are not worn! A whole life of work and earning…70% is for other people to spend. So, we must protect and make a full use of our 30%
“Go for medical check-ups, even if not sick. Drink more water, even if not thirsty. Learn to let go, even if faced with grave problems. Endeavour to give in, even if you are in the right. Remain humble, even if you are very rich and powerful.
“Then, learn to be contented, even if you are not rich. Exercise your mind and body, even if you are very busy. Make time for the people you care about. Life is short, live it peacefully to the full.”
Therefore, a life that is more abundant is that which is simple and happy, not one with the excess baggage of possessions that end up complicating matters, in life, like some “big men” ignominiously accounting for their ill-gotten wealth now. As a matter of fact, when all is said and done, everyone came to this world with nothing and everyone will leave it with nothing.
So, it is ultimately senseless stealing all those billions they cannot finish spending because they don’t own the money and all of us actually own nothing. Let us be educated: whatever we didn’t bring to this world on arrival remains in the world at our departure.