”… Rich means you have cash to buy stuff. Wealth means you have unspent savings and investments that provide some level of intangible and lasting pleasure – independence, autonomy, controlling your time, and doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, with whom you want to do it with, for as long as you want to do it for.“
”I want to be rich, because I like nice stuff. But what I value far more is to be wealthy, because I think independence is one of the only ways money can make you happier. The trick is realizing that the only way to maintain independence is if your appetite for stuff – including status – can be satiated. The goalpost has to stop moving; the expectations have to remain in check. Otherwise money has a tendency to be a liability masquerading as an asset, controlling you more than you use it to live a better life.”
We think a king is free… in fact, terror hangs over him…
“One might think that the most powerful man has the most choices, but in reality he has the fewest. Too much depends on his every move. The tyrant’s choices are the narrowest of all. His life—the nation!—hangs in the balance. He can no longer drift or explore, join or flee. He cannot reinvent himself, because so many others depend on him—and he, in turn, must depend on so many others. He stops learning, because he is walled in by fortresses and palaces, by generals and ministers who rarely dare to tell him what he doesn’t wish to hear. Power gradually shuts the tyrant off from the world. Everything comes to him second or third hand. He is deceived daily. He becomes ignorant of his land, his people, even his own family. He exists, finally, only to preserve his wealth and power, to build his legacy. Survival becomes his one overriding passion. So he regulates his diet, tests his food for poison, exercises behind well-patrolled walls, trusts no one, and tries to control everything.
Lest you think this is an edge case in the history of power, know that it is in fact the oldest story in the world. There’s even an ancient myth about it: The Sword of Damocles. We think a king is free… in fact, terror hangs over him.”
The highest dividend money pays is the ability to control time…
“Being able to do what you want, when you want, where you want, with who you want and for as long as you want provides a lasting level of happiness that no amount of “fancy stuff” can ever offer.
The thrill of having fancy stuff wears off quickly. But a job with flexible hours and a short commute will never get old. Having enough savings to give you time and options during an emergency will never get old. Being able to retire when you want to will never get old.
Achieving independence is our ultimate goal in life. But independence isn’t an “all-or-nothing” — every dollar you save is like owning a slice of your future that might otherwise be managed by someone else, based on their priorities.”
if governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will… Humans certainly have a will – but it isn’t free. You cannot decide what desires you have… Every choice depends on a lot of biological, social and personal conditions that you cannot determine for yourself. I can choose what to eat, whom to marry and whom to vote for, but these choices are determined in part by my genes, my biochemistry, my gender, my family background, my national culture, etc. – and I didn’t choose which genes or family to have
– Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances