Dressed in your Akatsuki shorts and sitting on your sofa with a laptop on your lap, you are browsing the Internet in your own home, which is a one room apartment that consists of a single bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and a living or common area to sit around.
Your fridge isn’t too full of proper food. Just snacks, chocolates and maybe eggs for your Maggi dishes. You only have one plain vanilla ice cream and ice in your freezer too. Your room isn’t decorated much, save for an anime poster that you saved up to buy.
Overall, your living situation is pretty simple. But you are as content as a millionaire, and you smile at this feeling. So long as the apartment you scouted doesn’t look so bad and you have everything you need to work and meet your basic needs, it is enough for you. Your phone and laptop are your sole sources of entertainment, and that is okay because yay Internet.
Your apartment is a chilled paradise compared to a bigger house or even a mansion. Why? You will see.
Assuming you are some millionaire that just bought your own mansion, you also have virtually unlimited access to the best food, clothes, maybe games, and anything you could ever want. A Lamborghini? You got it. A swimming pool? Why not?
The space in your mansion is also so big that a lot of people can walk or sit around, though you are the sole occupant of the house when you are not throwing parties or events. The huge spaces feel stark, empty and exhausting, because you have to spend a minute or two just walking across the living room to the stairs.
There will be a point in life where every day, you are provided all that you need and want, yet happiness does not find you. You want more and more.
Spending hundreds of thousands feels like you are only spending a few hundred, or just two hundred bucks. The mere hundreds of bucks are small change to you. Buying expensive things is too easy, like buying toys in a flea market.
Eventually, the things that you found exciting or fulfilling are no longer so to you, and you move on to new things. No matter what interests you, it takes a few weeks or months until you are also bored of them and keep moving on. Maybe when December approaches, you may experience what is known as a “burnout.”
You no longer feel satisfied, even when the things that formerly were sitting right at your face. Yet you push them away, and crave for more. Something new. Something revolutionary. Something original. But they cannot be found so easily, and you don’t even feel like creating such yourself to fit your satisfaction.
If there is one thing that the person living in their one room apartment has, it is enough. You, however, do not have enough, and the longer you live as a very rich man, the more likely you will be left dissatisfied for a long time. It is a soul draining life experience when you have excess wealth, yet you still grind to keep yourself sustained, never knowing when you can truly step out and retire peacefully in your home.
The General Economy
Balance exists in the world to keep either end of the scales from being tipped off and crash onto the ground. Anything beneficial that is in excess will gradually turn 180 until they do the opposite of rewarding or sustaining life as they render themselves useless, eventually disappearing into nothingness.
You might be wondering what in the world I am talking about all this time. This is what is known as the “general economy”, which is presented by French economist Georges Bataille. In the first chapter of his 1949 book “The Accursed Share”, this passage is the best summary of general economy.
“The living organism, in a situation determined by the play of energy on the surface of the globe, ordinarily receives more energy than is necessary for maintaining life; the excess energy (wealth) can be used to for the growth of a system (e.g. an organism); if the system can no longer grow, or if the excess cannot be completely absorbed in its growth, it must be necessarily lost without profit, it must be spent, willingly or not, gloriously or catastrophically.”
In other words, as explained further in the book, life always receives more energy than it needs to sustain itself, and the excess is spent on growing a system or so. Once this is no longer sufficient, when the excess is too much, it must be wasted without benefit at all, whether with a bang or a whimper.
Energy or economy can be referred to as some things. As one of the two examples, you have money. Explaining in a personal perspective, money allows you to buy necessities and whatever you want, correct? Now if you are filthy rich as mentioned before, if you do not keep the cycle going by contributing any excess savings to charities, projects or so, eventually the satisfaction of being rich decreases as you lose the rewarding feeling of getting what you wanted for a while.
Not only that, but should something untowards happen to your obese stacks of money, chances are that some, half or in the worst case scenario, almost all of it will be gone, nothing is spent. It went down to the drain, never to return, and there is nothing good to get from this.
The second example of economy or energy is value. When something is valuable, it is because it is limited and thus needed to be taken account of so it doesn’t just be bought to serve little to no purpose.
Originality is also a factor of value as something may not be easily replicated, or at all. Historic artworks are a good example because it is hard or simply impossible to exactly employ the same artstyle or materials as the original author did. This is why forgery is a big deal.
In short, the more something is common, the more the value plummets, because by then, the uniqueness is lost on the object, and losing them is not big news since another can easily be brought again, thus making any high prices on them unjustifiable.