Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

Are the Best Things in Life Free? – The New York Times

COCO CHANEL is reputed to have said, “The best things in life are free. The second-best things are very, very expensive.”

Turning Points asked Yao Chen, Karl Lagerfeld, Andreja Pejic, Yanis Varoufakis, Richard Hell and others why people are so rarely satisfied with life’s necessities.

Continue reading: Are the Best Things in Life Free? – The New York Times

Very interesting points from a number of them. It is however sort of an indulgent question. Some people can sit around wondering what could possibly satisfy them while the vast majority on the planet are simply trying to figure out how to survive and make ends meet. From a purely practical perspective I’d say it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the free things in life without having some costly ones. How does one enjoy a romance or an evening with friends, or a day on the beach if they’re struggling to pay their rent or mortgage or have to figure out how to subsist on a UK basic pension of £115 per week?

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20 comments on “Are the Best Things in Life Free? – The New York Times

  1. john zande
    December 11, 2015

    Ha! We handle Turning Points here in SA. Good to see someone actually reads it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 11, 2015

      The NYT and El Pais are my dailies 🙂

      Like

      • john zande
        December 11, 2015

        Don’t you think the Times standards have plummeted? Two years ago they sacked something like 200 editors, and the quality nosedived. The amount of waffle is maddening.

        Like

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        December 11, 2015

        Yes, but they’re not alone. Whereas I used to see two or three excellent articles every week, now I see maybe one a month.
        The focus on controversies (real or imagined) is ruining journalism.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. clubschadenfreude
    December 11, 2015

    It is a rather silly question, and only seems to be asked by people who having plenty of unfree things. I’ve been desperately poor and quite well off. I know I didn’t think the best things in life were free when I was poor. I just didn’t want to worry if I could afford toilet paper.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 11, 2015

      Absolutely- I’d love the question to be asked to a street child in Brazil or to a resident of a refugee camp. Or for that matter even to someone who lives in public housing in the developed world.
      Money buys safety, it buys a roof, warmth, it buys comfort, not to mention food and medicine. Without those basics I hardly think a Chanel bag could ever make the list.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Arkenaten
    December 11, 2015

    Wasn’t it Mae West who said:
    ”I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”

    Wise words.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cara
    December 11, 2015

    Money buys a roof over your head. It buys a bed with clean sheets, a residence that one doesn’t have to share with rats and other assorted vermin. Money buys meat for dinner that doesn’t contain pink slime (ammonia & I don’t know what else). Money is keeping the lights on and not having bill collectors calling you day and night.

    Money can also buy you some rather expensive addictions. And no, I’m not talking about my shoe collection.

    Money can not ever buy you manners, though, which is how and why I’ve known some people who come from no money but are a class act, and why some people who come from money can be seen cleaning their ears with their car keys at Sunday brunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Helen Devries
    December 11, 2015

    Karln Lagerfeld…Luxury is often judged on moral grounds, but if you think economically, there are great benefits. It helps to make money go around, bringing dollars out of the pockets of the rich and becoming a source of craftsmanship.

    I’d like to transport him to a life where he cleans the hotel suite he talks about and ask him how he sees his theory after a few years of making his living from luxury in a different manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 11, 2015

      Darling, I think much of the world would like to transport him to a world where he cleans hotel suites. In fact let’s put him in a maid’s uniform and make him clean a suite where Strauss-Kahn is staying and see what happens 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If this is true,

    ” From a purely practical perspective I’d say it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the free things in life without having some costly ones. ”

    then you are saying poor people who have never had ANY costly possession or experience, they never enjoy something they have or an experience that they received, for free.

    I dunno, “costly” like wealth is relative. I think a person who is poor, finding a winning lottery ticket on the ground, they would enjoy that free find. Truly enjoy it.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 11, 2015

      It doesn’t mean they never enjoy things, that’s a matter of relativity; it does mean life is much tougher.

      I’ve seen washerwomen beating clothes against rocks and singing and having a good time, but that’s more a case of human resiliency than logic. They accept the hardship with grace, there’s no other option.

      Like

  7. Curious and Curiouser
    December 11, 2015

    I’d been opining blandly over on another blog about poverty and class. And then late last night I made a trip to Woolworths – something I almost do. I saw a lot of families with kids going through the out of date stuff and the thrown out bread and fruit. A lot of the adults had no teeth. A woman in my aisle spent at least five minutes deliberating over a packet of dried noodles and a 75c tin of sardines. And I live in a fairly affluent area. I did buy a wheel of Brie as well as food for the dog (and paid for it knowing there was enough $ in the bank) but I felt like a real a-hole.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 11, 2015

      Oddly enough I had a sardine experience two weeks ago. The woman in front of me at the checkout returned one out of the two tins she was buying because her 2 for 1 coupon was expired. It was all she was buying. I just didn’t know what to do. I wanted to say, take it, take as many as you like, I’ll pay for it- but I was just paralyzed by fear of offending her. It’s a tough world we live in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curious and Curiouser
        December 11, 2015

        That’s exactly what I wanted to do. But she had already moved away. Embarrassed, I think. I’m going to try a bit harder next time. I was conscious that I could have just given her the $40 in my wallet, she could have least have had a good meal & the amount of money lost wouldn’t really have affected me.

        Like

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        December 11, 2015

        But it’s very difficult to judge how that sort of gesture will be interpreted. I once really upset someone by giving them change when they were just waiting for someone outside a supermarket. I was called all sorts of things in a very aggressive way. Now I try to be very careful to not jump to conclusions.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Your story has me feeling uneasy.
      For the sake of argument, let’s call being well of being in a position where you have sufficient income to live without stressing over money. Doesn’t mean you are not frugal, or that you look for a sale, just means that in your daily life you don’t have food insecurity, or stress out about having enough money to pay the gas & electric and when the car insurance comes do you can pay the bill. For discussion let’s call that well off.

      Because we live in class insular communities, the well off do not often come in contact with people who are financially struggling. The truth is we simply do not see them, literally. I can’t recall the last time I came in contact with a person who was financially living on the edge, someone deliberating between noodles or a tin of sardines. I’m not speaking of in my youth, where sure a lot of times I myself struggled with having enough money for gas in the car but that was because I was young & starting out. A lot of young people are financially insecure based on their youth. I’m not thinking of them, I am thinking about people who are older, and especially middle aged and seniors. I can’t recall the last time I saw a situation similar to what you describe, I wonder what I would have done?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        December 13, 2015

        It’s tough. I spent the last many, many years in a gated community where house prices started at around million euros. We were all completely disconnected from “the real world”. It’s one of the reasons Mike and I both thought we should move to a town, interact with real people again.
        Many of the world’s social problems exist precisely because of the insularity. The less we have to do with each other, the less we understand the needs and struggles.

        Like

  8. Curious and Curiouser
    December 11, 2015

    *almost never do*

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 11, 2015 by in activism, life and tagged , , , , .
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