The title of this article may seem pretentious, but my intentions are entirely mundane. Please be assured that I am not going to delve in abstractions, “ultimate truths” or other esoterica, but rather on the practical answer to the query.
The question, in various forms, has undoubtedly been asked, contemplated and debated upon since time immemorial. Early on, the ancient Greek philosophers considered wisdom, truth and virtue (compassion, charity, loyalty, etc.) the most important. However, poor people everywhere, then and now, think that food, clothing and shelter take precedence.
Restatements or variations of the basic question have echoed through the centuries.
Prosperity brought about by pax romana presented man with a new dilemma, is it better to be wise or wealthy? Even the Bible pitches in with the wrinkle, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world (material things) but loses his own soul?” Is spiritual knowledge & understanding then to be preferred?
In the late 1700’s the French Revolution led to the notion that the individual’s well-being is tied to the national weal. Thus the motto: Peace, Justice, and Prosperity.
Closer to home and our time, this most significant question is asked, of all places, in beauty pageants, “Would you marry for love or money?” “What would you choose – money,fame, or power?”
So what is the most important “thing” in your life? Family or career? Health or wealth? Sex? Success, happiness, riches, or beauty? Good wife, good conscience, good name, good sense? Is it religion or education? Social position? Passion? Romance? Dreams?
Or, according to IK571 … The 2 most important things in life: 1- Duct tape 2- WD-40.
Let’s consider money. Is it the most important? True, money can buy almost everything: fame, power, sex, social position. Aside from self-aggrandizement, money can even be used to promote noble causes such as peace, justice and prosperity. Those things that money can’t buy are not needed anyway, according to the Beatles.
But judging from the number of rich people who had committed suicide, money apparently does not buy happiness. You may be able to buy your loved one, but you cannot buy love itself. Money is certainly not the most important thing in life.
If money is not the most important thing in life, then anything that can be bought is clearly not the most important either.
On the other hand it is tempting to sidestep the issue by saying that nothing is most important because everything is important. If I do that I would be cheating you of the promise I gave at the beginning of this article. Certainly love, power, fame, beauty, peace, prosperity, justice, wisdom, truth, religion, family, career, health, wealth, happiness, good wife, good conscience, good sense, education, social position, passion, romance, dreams, etc., etc. etc., are all good things to desire. Can’t we have it all? Of course, but that doesn’t address the premise – that there is one most important thing in life.
I will not keep you in suspense any longer. The most important thing in life is … (drum roll) … HEALTH, mental and physical health! If you are healthy in mind and body, you can pursue, acquire and enjoy all the good things in life. Unsa ma’y kapuslanan sa imong kwarta kon buta ka na. Health is the conditio sine qua non of everything under the sun, hence it is the most important.
You must be healthy to truly love and receive love. Happiness is seeing your loved ones happy. How can they be happy when they see you suffering in sickness? Hale and healthy, the world is yours – fame, power, money and … sex. Healthy people are beautiful. What good is it if there is peace, justice and prosperity all around, but you are sick? If you lose money, you lose wealth, but if you lose your health, you lose everything.