If you are really interested in my thoughts of late on stuff vs. happiness, internal contentment vs. external pressures, society, all that, and if you really want to follow where I go, even just in thought, then <a href="http://www.growthfetish.com/download.htm">Download Chapter 2, the middle link, from the book Growth Fetish</a> by Clive Hamilton. It's free, in pdf format, and really, really, REALLY should be read. This chapter is on income, and how pursuit of better income is not equaling better levels of happiness. Since the 50's, income has gone up, and well-being has gone down. Why? Perhaps economic growth does not equal happiness, the way today's political and economical graphs and charts would like you to believe.
More of us have more money than ever, and more of us are more unhappy because of the stress, overwork, demands and goals wrapped up in aquiring more wealth, instead of focusing on family, friends, social structures, and interaction with the world, instead of the acquisition of things. But, this is what we have grown up being taught, but it's not working.
Just do this one thing, and think about it. It won't take you very long. And it will make you think.
"Economic growth does not create happiness: unhappiness sustains economic growth. Thus discontent must be continually fomented if modern consumer capitalism is to survive. This explains the indispensable role of the advertising industry. Advertising promises things to make people happy, so it works only as long as people are unhappy. By persuading people to buy more and more, advertising promotes continued degradation of the environment. The greatest danger to consumer capitalism is the possibility that people in wealthy countries will decide that they have more or less everything they need. For each individual this is a small realisation, but it has momentous social implications." – Clive Hamilton