He is richest who is content with the least" —Socrates
I. True Definition of "Being Rich"
A few weekends ago while riding the subway, my teenage cousin randomly blurted: “Genius . . . bro, you tryna get rich from this writing stuff, huh?”
I chuckled before wrapping a mature arm around the lad’s shoulder. I then said, “Young fella, I’m already rich!”
“Bro,” he shot back, “I sure as hell can't tell! I mean, if you so rich and all, then, how come you ain’t got a mansion?" He shook his head while hissing. "If you so rich, how come we're riding on this 1-Train and not on the soft seats of your Rolls-Royce?"
I sensed the time had come for me to dust off the ol’ trusty Socratic method.
" 'The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms,' " I quoted Socrates to him. "So take one glance at the word 'rich', young fella, and its true meaning will become apparent:"
Rich = having more than enough
“Let me ask ya,” I said, “an hour ago you just wolfed down several slices of pizza . . . right?”
He nodded. “Man, I’m still stuffed.”
“Bingo!” I yelped. “The word stuffed is a synonym for rich. In other words, even if I offered you some Almas Caviar right now, which is priced at about $17,000 per pound, you’d decline it . . . right?”
“Damn right I would, else I’d probably throw up!”
“And so,” I continued, “if at present I already feel stuffed by the things that life has to offer, don’t ya suppose if I wanted more, well, that’ll make me feel sick?”
“Damn, bro,” he said while shaking his head. “That was deeper than the Grand Canyon!”
“Young fella,” I chuckled, “now you know why Einstein agreed with Thoreau when he concluded:"
The man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
II. In Closing: "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems"
He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. —Socrates
When Jim Carrey was asked how good it feels to be rich & famous, surprisingly he answered: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
Because example is better than precept, take for instance Robin Williams.
At the time of his suicide, Williams was worth $100 million. In other words, if by chance you're counting at home, that means—Williams was a millionaire 100 times.
Ahhh, but counting all the money in the world still didn’t add up to his happiness.
Happiness is priceless! After all, the best things in life are not only free, but they’re not even “things.” Never has an eye seen Love . . . never has a hand grabbed Happiness . . . never has a nose sniffed Peace!
For the above reason, just as a man whose mind fails to register when his stomach is full—and therefore continues stuffing himself—will eventually make himself sick, the same held true in poor Robin’s case.
But Williams was by no means the only millionaire who suffered from what's been known as the age-old paradox of wealth:
The appetite grows with eating.
For some reason, and I dare not speculate as to why, it appears the Game of Life is governed by rules that penalize the players for overconsumption. Or as that old proverb warns: "Nature hates monopolies."
In light of world hunger, then, by definition—the mere desire to become a millionaire springs from a deeply rooted urge called—GREED.
In short, given that this is a just Universe, whichever “diner” dares to hoard all the turkey at Christmas, while occasionally tossing a few scraps here and there to the fellow diners, he or she on some level is bound to suffer from what the rapper Biggie Smalls famously called: "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems."