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Three cheers Marty! It is precisely this sort of sober, prophetic, corrective that is most needed right now. Letting go of status-seeking reaps rewards not only financially but emotionally, physically etc. Forgo that huge car payment for a self-propelled commute to work and what happens? For my family and I, we build exercise into our daily routine (walking/biking), a time to decompress after work, enhance our appreciation of the natural environment, increase our empathy for social ills that are easily overlooked from the inside of a steel/glass cage, etc. Getting off the treadmill of "status" invites us to reacquaint ourselves with what it truly means to be human and in community. Unfortunately, all too often, humane voices such as your own are drown out by the leaders of rampant consumerism. Remember George Bush's call to citizen action following the disaster of 9/11? "Go shopping!" Ugh!Peter in Vancouver, Canada (where "status" is no less of a nemesis)
I find myself agreeing with your overall message as usual. However, I wonder if buying an expensive car is a sine qua non for some jobs. In other words, if you have a "prestigious" job, especially one where appearance is paramount (investment banking, wealth management, corporate law, consulting, etc.), would it hurt your career not to have a luxury vehicle? Would it make your boss nervous that you are not interested in towing the line like everyone else?
Too big a price to pay for the sizzle. Focus on steak.
Women drive men's quest for status. If guys could get attractive women without having status/money, they would not work so hard to get it.
Marty, let's say that you're a man who is over aged 45 and for whatever reason did not start a family when you were younger. The only way to compensate for age is status/money. It's been shown innumerable times that older guys can compensate with status/money and get women in their 20's & 30's, whereas a poor and merely middle class man is going to have a tough or impossible time at that age.
It is one of my more deeply held beliefs that the best way to compensate for age is integrity and kindness. Of course, the wrong woman will ignore you because you're not a cash cow. But the right woman--in my judgment a wiser woman--will embrace you--figuratively and literally.
Marty, status is what really drives most people to work the long hours that they do, not 'passion'. They want the money, the expensive car, the perfect house, etc. to make their friends jealous and so they can say to their lower-status peers 'I won.' It's like Tyler Durden said: "The things you own wind up owning you."
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