Types Of Materialistic People: Which One Are You? has been edited by Pratichi Sadavrati.
I was just reading a book that said that introverts tend to be more spiritual or philosophical rather than materialistic or hedonistic. However, I for one would classify myself as both materialistic as well as spiritual and philosophical – and most definitely an introvert. Is it possible to be both materialistic and spiritual at the same time? I obviously think so.
For simplicity’s sake, I am going to boil down materialism to its most basic form – the desire to earn and have a lot of money. Now, you see, this sentence splits itself into two kinds of people – those that want to earn a lot of money and those that simply want to have a lot of money. That is, for example, do you want to become rich or marry rich? Materialists can also be split into two other categories – which in my opinion, is more important in this context. I’ll get to that in a second.
I am very spiritual in my outlook on life and lifestyle. I pay a lot of heed to my mental and spiritual health, whether my mind and body are really happy and in sync, and I remember to notice the little things. To let my mind wander and feel emotions in their purest form without a part of my brain thinking about the big meeting or presentation tomorrow.
I also want to be very rich.
However, I want to be rich as I see money as a means to an end. The little green notes mean nothing to me by themselves. But I want to travel the world, I want to see many plays, I want to ride out into the ocean, meet different kinds of people and eat lots of good food. And the green notes will allow me to do that and so I want as many of them as possible, and will work hard to get them. This is my humble declaration of greed.
I know there are many people who like money just because they just want to earn it and put it in their savings account. I could I say I do not get it, but I do – it is about knowing you have the financial stability and securing your future, and that of your children. And that is completely understandable. Especially so for those who come from backgrounds of financial hardship or have been witness to the consequences of empty pockets. But beyond a point, by simple logic, you may be able to conclude that “Okay, I now have enough to ensure financial stability and more, so rationally, I can spend that balance amount and I will still be great.”
And that is where things get irrational for some. The pragmatic materialism above is not for everyone – some genuinely like the money for the sake of the money itself.
Take Warren Buffet for example. Second richest man in the entire world according to Forbes, as of 2017, and has been so for decades but does not spend a dime. He still lives in a little farmhouse in the southern US after a lifetime of monetary success. His children are now successful themselves and well settled, he himself has grown old and so, does not have a tumultuous future to secure and his family is well endowed. It has been his life’s passion to make that money yet he hates with an equivalent passion, the idea of spending it. He says he likes the feeling of making the money, that’s it. The rush of the stock price rising or the thrill of a good trade.
These are the two types of materialists, in my opinion – those that want money for its own sake and those that want money as a means to an end. And I think which one you are, makes all the difference. That, of course, does not mean that either is better or worse than the other but simply that the key to your personality does not lie in a word, but rather the interpretation of that word.
I like the idea of money and I will work very hard to get it because I want a lot of it, as does anyone else. But what I really value in life are the experiences and emotions; the reason I want money is to allow me to reach those experiences and emotions. I think a lot about the meaning and purpose of life but that doesn’t mean I can’t want money. I want to be able to travel halfway across the planet to meet my family. To be able to see my best friend when I want to and I want to take my hypothetical son on holidays around the world. So, I am materialistic.
Post Script: Might I add here that Warren Buffet probably shouldn’t be considered a hoarder, but maybe a miser. While he doesn’t spend any money on himself, he gives generously to charities and social work, including but not limited to the Gates Foundation, and has bequeathed most of his wealth to the greater good. Another point of interest to the reader may be the name of the book I refer to in the first sentence. It’s ‘Quiet‘, by Susan Cain, written about introversion as a character trait by an introvert and is actually quite an eye-opening and liberating book. Definitely recommended, for introverts and extroverts alike!
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