In the science of Psychology, there have been many tests showing that there is no physical point in life when a subject can obtain pure enlightenment, fulfillment, or complete satisfaction of mind and body. This supports the assertion that money cannot buy happiness. Although this idea is very popular, could it be proven wrong? It seems only natural that happiness should flow from having more money. Could material possessions actually increase the happiness of a person?
In his essay titled "On Dumpster Diving," Lars Eighner discusses his experience of being homeless and having to resort to living off of other people's unwanted possessions to survive. "Some material things are white elephants that eat up the possessor's substance" (Eighner 263). It is true that a person can not physically go and buy some happiness, it must be obtained. "How" a subject would obtain happiness or "pure happiness" is the ultimate unanswered question. If a person were to go out and buy a bunch of objects, furniture, jewelry, cars, would this make them anymore pleased with themselves? Maybe it would, maybe not. One of the question's this essay is addressing is, over time would all the items someone buys, takes, or consumes to supposedly make them "happy," over time if this experiment does not work as planned, wouldn't a person over time begin to become consumed and over whelmed by all these material things. ."..but certainly mental things are longer lived than other material things" (264).
Although, these statements from Lars Eighner agree that some material possessions would consume a person in a negative way and therefore possessing them, it is almost ironic because Eighner lived on the streets and it was almost impossible for him to have many material possessions. This is more along the lines of looking at material possessions in a psychological way, that possessions are just material items and not a "soul grabber." These items consume and take over lives; they do not help with growth.
Although many disagree with the psychological point of view, saying that possessions and materials are just another expansion of ones soul, and can help with growth and happiness. Adler gives a descriptive point of view on his idea of how a book can express a certain part of your soul by simply making inside of it.
Mortimer Adler's essay entitled, "How to Mark a Book," talks about how people, "have to "read between the lines" to get the most out of anything" (Adler 211).
"Full ownership comes only when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by writing in it. An illustration may make the point clear. You buy a beefsteak and transfer it from the butcher's ice-box to your own. But you do not own the beefsteak in the most important sense until you consume it and get it into your bloodstream. I am arguing that books, too, must be absorbed in your bloodstream to do you any good" (212).