A Disagreement with Rainn Wilson over the Concept of Happiness
If you criricize the tenets of belief held by a devout fundamentalist (no matter the religion) you can expect him or her to become upset. I suspect something analogous happens when you address the seemingly vague assumptions of “spiritual” people.
Everything Mike Pesca argues in this essay is likely true. The only mistake was the assumptions about the terms in which a discussion could be had and the likely responses.
“Spiritual” people no more want to be told that we live in a material world (in either a Thomas Hobbes or Madonna sense, Pesca is arguing both) than, oh say, a devout Catholic wants to debate transubstantiation or the extent to which his religion seems much more redolent of paganism and the medieval world than the ostensible teachings of a Bronze Age messiah coming out of a puritanical Mideastern religion that loathed icons.
Feelings are going to be hurt.
Somehow I'm thinking the key may involve existing somewhere between Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" and Biggie's "Mo Money More Problems." To wit, money can't buy happiness, but having enough of it can eliminate most if not all of the day-to-day worries that plague the impoverished or even the paycheck-to-paycheck folks. Societies that allow more of their people to live this way love this way.
"... all the extra money can buy plenty of depressants." Or even antidepressants!