Social status is alluring. In general principle status means science of happiness. Happiness depends on a significant degree upon expectations. During the history, people have believed that they could fight their fear of not being enough by rising in the social pecking order.
But status is a greasy slope. No matter how high you mount, there are innumerable people still above you. And there’s always a long way to fall if your fortunes should fail. If you compare yourself to the people above you in the pecking order, you’ll damage your self-esteem.
If you allow yourself to feel superior to the people below you, you will live in fear of dropping to their level. Feeling greater to others is always tempting, but it’s a dreadfully weak tool for achieving happiness.
It may indulge your vanity but it will never bring you peace of mind. If status really made people happy, professional workers would be markedly happier than proletarian workers, since they enjoy more status. However, according to all sorts of studies, they’re not.
One interesting study showed that teenagers – who tend to be even more insecure and status-conscious than adults – are not happier when they’re reared in high-status families. In this study of 1,000 teenagers, those in the lower social classes reported the most happiness, and those in the highest social classes reported the least happiness. Rich kids usually have consequently much of everything that it’s worth nothing.
One of the nastiest instigators of status looking for in our current culture is television, because of all its ads, and because so many people on TV are rich and beautiful. All most chilling studies on the effects of TV were one done shortly after it was introduced, in the 1950s.
Because of government regulations, TV stations were first allowed to broadcast in just 34 cities in 1951, and then in 34 more cities in 1955. In 1951, in the first 34 cities in which TV was allowed, the rate of petty theft and larceny increased radically. Then, in 1955, the same increase in property crime was experienced in the next 34 cities. Researchers concluded that TV overvalued material status so flagrantly that people became willing to pilfer to achieve it.
Researchers concluded that TV not only the desire for desire material status, but also the expectation of it. People felt they deserved status symbols after seeing people on TV with them. This expectation of status pointed out an important general principle in the science of happiness: Happiness depends to a significant degree upon expectations.
If you blow up your expectations, you’re suppliant to be unhappy. That’s one of the worst problems with wealth – it always bloats expectation. Rich people whine about things that would delight most people. Happy people keep their expectations under restriction, no matter how much money they have.