Considering money as the end is the tragedy
Updated: 2014-12-18 09:04
By Zhu Yuan(China Daily)
Can money buy happiness? It certainly can in terms of the material comfort that can be purchased with money. But that does not necessarily mean the degree of happiness is absolutely proportional to the amount of money one owns. Yet many people believe in money's miraculous power to get them whatever they want, even though the money they have accumulated through whatever means may become a burden to them, not only physically but also psychologically.
Several recent cases illustrate this.
In one of them, 200 million yuan ($32.5 million) in cash was uncovered at the home of a former official with the National Development and Reform Commission when he was placed under investigation for abuse of power and his home was searched. Reportedly, four money-counting machines broke down because of overuse in counting the discovered cash.
I can't tell whether such a lot of money has brought any happiness to this person, who collected his wealth by selling his power to give the green light to projects. Apparently, this man neither drove fancy cars nor wore expensive clothes. Rather he clad himself in a very ordinary outfit and shuttled between his home and office riding an old bicycle. Nothing he used in his daily life could associate him with the huge sum of money stacked in his home.
I have no chance of interviewing him; but I guess there might have been moments of ecstasy for him in the process of accumulating such a lot of cash. And it was this that motivated him to take bribes at the risk of being caught. Perhaps it was the moment he was given a bag of cash for the convenience he offered in getting a project approved. The cash he got would probably stimulate him to imagine what a luxurious life the money would be able to bring him in the near future.
Another moment of ecstasy would be when he was allowing his imagination to run as far as it could as to what a life such a lot of money could possibly bring about when he was finally in a position to spend it.
What he might not have realized until he was caught was that he unconsciously turned the making of money into the end rather than the means. The accumulation of cash turned out to be what he was pursuing rather than using it to enjoy life. The fact that he accumulated money through illegal means has amplified his twisted outlook on the meaning of life.
Another case involved Ma Chaoqun, a local official in the city of Qinhuangdao in North China's Hebei province. This person in charge of local water works extracted bribes from whichever units asked his works for drinking water. More than 100 million yuan in cash was found at his home when he was investigated. He was also found to own more than 60 houses, some of which are in Beijing and rented out as business outlets.