Everything Money Can(t) Buy…

Money might not be able to buy happiness, but it certainly can buy a lot of things that make life a lot easier—and isn’t that the same thing? That’s an important question that we should be asking ourselves. Is easier always better? When, if ever, does ease become detrimental? Can ease beget boredom and if you’re rich and bored how long before you’re also a rich, bored sociopath? Ahmed Khaled Towfik gives us a glimpse into questions like this in his novel Utopia. The narrator, inhabiting a world where he wants for nothing exemplifies this idea saying, “What do you do in this artificial paradise? You sleep, you take drugs, you eat until food makes you sick, you vomit until you recover the enjoyment of eating, you have sex…” (9) The ruling class of people in Utopia don’t demonstrate real human emotion. According to the narrator they don’t feel love, compassion or even hatred toward the poor class of people they have destroyed or toward each other. They have bought their way into a sort of emotional complacency and degradation of the human psyche—They can buy everything but feelings. The dictionary defines a sociopath as someone who has extreme antisocial attitudes and behaves with a total lack of conscious. What is Ala if not a sociopath then? What, if not money and the lack of connection with reality that comes with it, has made him this way? Is it an exaggeration used to drive the plot of a science fiction novel? Sure. However, t’s also important social commentary on the moral bankruptcy of the super-rich and how cruel humans can be which is terrifying in an age when things once thought to be science fiction are now reality.

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