The Things That Matter

health money paleo purpose

What's Important?

There are important things and then there are things that really matter. The important things are those that empower us to accomplish what matters, but they themselves aren't the end goal.

What matters are the things you would die to protect, those things and people worth more than any amount of money you could ever accumulate. These are the things you live for.

As an example of this distinction, take money. It is important because it makes a lot of other things easier in our society, but it isn't the end goal. We don't (or shouldn't) make and save money for its own sake. We make money to use it to do some good in the world, or to give ourselves the resources to do the things we enjoy.

However, there are many ways of organizing society that don't rely on money. Barter economies and communal living situations both provide people with all the necessities of life without requiring money.

We only need money in our society because of the way the rules are set up.

Health is a bit of a trump card in this regard. As biological entities, the rules of nature dictate that poor health detracts from our ability to function. Without money, you can still figure out ways to acquire your material needs, but without health, you will be hard-pressed to get by in the world, much less enjoy it (though, importantly, there are many people who still do, having accepted poor or deteriorating health and focusing instead on their contributions to society and their relationships).

So, health is certainly more important than money, but it is still a means to living a good life, not the end goal in itself. As long as the larger goal is still on track or intact, we can forgo the hair-pulling.

So What Does Matter?

I believe what really matters differs from person to person, though I do think that those who are consistently and stably happy tend to place value on certain similar things.

Here are the things that really matter to me, the things that I want to protect and cultivate in the world. The thought of losing them is nightmarish:

“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.” - His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

I would love to hear about some things that matter to you. Please share in the comments if you would like. Perhaps, like me, you got distracted and became more concerned with the means rather than the true purpose, but hopefully you can look up from the trail to the mountain you set out to climb in the first place.

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