Those who grow up with little, tend to want more, and those who tend to have plenty are contented. Actually, it might be the other way around. Then again, the psychological habits caused by deprivation are disputed. Perhaps a stronger philosophical question, centered around our own individual existences, could be how on earth do we learn contentment?
How can you be happy with what you have, and make the most of it? Of every question labeled as a “million-dollar question,” maybe that is the real million-dollar question. After all, there are tons of disputes as to what circumstances creates someone who wants more as opposed to someone who simply enjoys what they have.
Does being deprived make people feel needier? Certainly, if you are hungry, you will want to eat. What about if you simply want more money than you have? What are you going to do to make more money? Also, how much money do you need till you don’t want more money?
Food is the outlier example for most people in western society. Few resources in the pursuit of freedom are as abundant and easily obtainable. Strangely, food acts as a great equalizer between the mentalities of deprivation and wealth. Deprived people want food just as wealthy people hunger for more food.
Really, the main difference is that wealthy people hunger for fancier, more exotic, and more interesting fare. Money, in contrast to food , is wildly subjective.
Everyone who doesn’t have money, granted that they live in a society where money is important, wants more money. The middle class and more wealthy people tend to be all over the place in terms of contentment. Some are happy with what they have and can feasibly make it work, and some always want more money.
That relationship with money,with the inherent subjectivity of need, is more similar to our other wants and desires than food. Sex, clothes, shelter, and many other things are linked to subjective needs and wants. So how do we become people who are happy with what we have?
First, the given must be that you have the livable resources. Once that happens, maybe it’s the struggle for our definition of those livable resources that humbles us, then forms us into a person who is happy with what they have. Alternatively, maybe it’s how we were raised during childhood, and the values we’ve all been instilled with. Could be that learning to be content, and chasing contentment is a combination of both factors.
Of all existential questions, maybe this one is the most important, and thusly, the most difficult.