Money and Happiness
Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote a poem called “Richard Cory” about a man who has everything, or so it seems (McMahan). Richard Cory is said to have a very desirable life and that everyone wants to be like him. When you look at him it is implied that you are filled with envy and interest. Everything he does is doused on the front page and he appears to be a very happy man. However, the poem ends with a sad, tragic twist where Richard Cory commits suicide. In the story everyone looks at Richard Cory as having the ultimate happiness because he has money, good looks and success. This is a common misconception that comes with having large amounts of any kind of currency.
In the poem the bystanders all assume that Richard Cory is happy because he has money. Why wouldn’t he be happy when he has all that wealth? This is a stigma that we allow to affect our perceptions on the world and its inhabitants today. Stop for a moment and think about it. When was the last time you looked at a person who is famous, or someone who stepped out of a nice car, and thought about how your life would be easier if you were them? Odds are it was fairly recently. We allow money to block us from noticing the things that really matter. Sonja Lyumbomirsky wrote an article for PsychologyToday. She discusses many myths of happiness including the one about how we need money to achieve it. Lyumbomirsky says “They do not realize that the key to buying happiness is not in how successful we are, but perhaps what we do with our success; it’s not how high our income is, but how we allocate it” (How of Happiness). It seems that we are so worried about getting rich that we lose sight of what success could truly do.
Much like the characters in the poem, when we see a real life “Richard Cory” we view them as having no problems. We assume that the problems the less fortunate go through (i.e. family, medical, personal issues, etc.) are nonexistent to them. Money seems to be a green light in all cultures and because of that we look at it as holding the ultimate power. With power comes arrogance, which is another social stigma that we group with having money. On top of everything that could go along with having money and success another would be the assumption that the person is vapid or lacking real substance in life. If we view people with money as snobby and empty inside, how do we view people without? Well it is not any better. We look at people without money as uneducated and low-class. We assume that if the cashier at the grocery store is older than twenty-four than they are on welfare and did not graduate high school. A million things run through our minds because for a split second we think that we are on a higher pedestal than them. If it is like this for someone who at least has a job it must be worse for someone living on the streets, right? Right. Just the mention of a homeless person probably has you selecting from a long list of stereotypes. Drunk, drug...