The pursuit of happiness through material pursuits and wealth is also a pursuit of mental pain and anguish. The problem with materialism is that materialism is an endless pursuit that can never be fully realized once the pursuit is set in motion. The ancient people of Africa had a lot of good advice about the pursuit of money and things.
Make some money but don’t let money make you. ~ Tanzania
It is obvious that people need to make money to earn a living but materialism or being materialistic occurs when people seek out money as a goal in its self. Many believe that people who are not materialistic are less successful or lack motivation. The Tanzanian saying means that people should work to access the things needed in life but not to be controlled by these things and money.
The rich are always complaining. ~ Zulu
The Zulu saying about money speaks to a reality that have been the subject of many psychological studies about people who are materialistic. Look up any psychology website or study about people who have financial abundance and you will see facts and data to demonstrate that these people are not anymore happy than other people.
The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. ~ Yoruba
The dangers of pursuing wealth for happiness is that once you have achieved a state of wealth you must deal with two issues. The first issue that will make you a slave to your wealth is that it is never enough and no matter what amount you obtain you will always want to seek more. If you are blocked from your efforts you will become filled with anger and hatred. The second issue is that you will inevitably fear losing your wealth, thus you will endlessly worry about losing the wealth that you have obtained.
Much wealth brings many enemies. – Swahili
As you hear in many modern day songs more money means more problems. In other words, your problems do not disappear with more money or things in your possession. While your enemies might not always be other people you will have the stress of trying to obtain more wealth and things, and trying to keep your wealth.
People in ancient times knew what modern day psychologist are echoing that the pursuit of wealth, and things, in other words, materialism is way being that is dangerous both physically and mentally. Everyone needs to make a living but being materialistic is an unhealthy life-style.