Nowadays, various people living in the modern world aim to achieve happiness. Happiness for many is the main purpose in life, but the definition may be different between individuals and can be manifested as loving relationships or career success. The Dankook Herald (DKH) held a debate about the topic, ‘Can money buy happiness?’ with the cooperation of the Global Talent Network (GTN) to figure out the thought on this topic by exchange students. DKH reporters Kim and Jeong participated in this session to better understand the exchange students’ points of view on happiness.
|▲ Can Money Buy Happiness (Photo from Vox)|
‘Can money buy happiness?’ is one of the hot topics among people today. Anybody can pursue happiness and find the path to it. However, nobody can clearly define what true happiness is as it is such an abstract concept. Some say money can buy happiness and others say it cannot. During the debate, the DKH reporters first shared their thoughts. Reporter Jeong answered ‘Yes’ to the topic question. He viewed money as a manageable object that can resolve a variety of problems. One example he came up with was donating. He asserted that donating money to those who need it offers the donor a sense of satisfaction and pride, which can ultimately lead to happiness. By shifting the perspective of purchasing, buying happiness with money will depend on the individual’s personal method of spending. On the other hand, DKH reporter Kim claimed that happiness cannot be bought with money. He said, “It is true that if we purchase something or eat something that we have been craving, yes, we can feel happiness, but it would not last that long. That sense of happiness will be valid just for that moment or maybe a bit longer. Even if we get or have what we wanted before, money will constantly make us crave bigger and better things, and it will lead us to become greedy human beings. We should not confuse satisfaction with happiness. Money makes you satisfied with living, spending, food, etc. So what if we face a situation where we no longer have money and finally become dissatisfied? The stress coming from this sense of dissatisfaction will never make a person happy. Money is not essential to happiness. Harmony within your family and friends or taking care of your health are the things where we can actually derive true happiness. We cannot replace these with money. I believe happiness comes from spiritual experiences, not from materialized experiences.”
Next, exchange students at Dankook University (DKU) presented two different opinions. Tanisha (Senior, Dept. of International Business Administration) from America believes that money can buy happiness. She shared that the state of happiness could be defined as a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. Which meant it is subjective and that its value depends on how people are using it. She gave examples of her hometown where poverty and wealth coexisted and confronted various situations related to money. Through those experiences, she expressed that the appropriate use of money in one person’s life might improve their life quality as an investment. She also added people easily think of people who only use money for materialistic things, but no one thinks about how money can aid you to invest in important things to help you find happiness. She said she always found herself to be happy to have money to spend on things, and always considered it an investment for herself and her family. Sydney (Junior, Dept. of International Business Administration) who is also from America thought the opposite. She partly agreed with Tanisha’s opinion that the right use of money can aid people in achieving happiness, but still thought that money cannot buy happiness. She gave an example of billionaires. She saw several interviews where they say even though they have a lot of money to spend, they feel so empty. She shared her experience which is correlated with happiness. Before she made money, she was still able to feel happiness by spending time with her family and friends. Money was not the one that made her happy. Working hard towards her goal made her happy. Moreover, she emphasized the difference between satisfaction and happiness. She finished by saying “I personally think that having money brings responsibilities and stress about how to keep it. Although money can be used in the right way, it is temporary, so I think that while it can act as an aid, it is not able to buy “happiness.”
|▲ Dankookians Posing for a Group Photo (Photo from The Dankook Herald)|
After discussing the topic for more than an hour everyone in the debate said that it was a meaningful exercise to look at happiness from various perspectives based on different backgrounds and living cultures. They also thought this debate was a perfect experience to broaden their views. DKH reporter Jeong, who thinks that money can buy happiness, summed up that happiness depends not on the amount of money you have, but on how it is spent. Furthermore, DKH reporter Kim said, "It was a topic that I always wanted to share with someone because I often think about the definition of happiness." Sydney found the discussion interesting because of varying answers depending on one’s perspective about money and the world. Lastly, Tanisha said it was a constructive discussion for her because she enjoys talking with people about the correlation between happiness and money.
The DKH reporters were able to hear fascinating thoughts from exchange students with different cultural backgrounds. Also, this allowed participants to think more deeply about the mutual relationship between money and happiness. It was a meaningful time to share opinions with DKU’s exchange students, and the DKH hopes to communicate more on different topics in the future. So, what do you think? Do you think money can buy happiness?
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