Houses are especially complex because a single object is used to meet myriad needs. […] We’ve trained ourselves to unthinkingly reduce everything to a number, so we instinctively collapse inescapably complex decisions into simplistic shortcuts to mistaken conclusions. […] There’s often a fine line between stuff that says something important about oneself and stuff that says, crudely, ‘look at what I can afford’. We attach ourselves so enthusiastically to the latter that we’re prepared to not only spend all our resources on it, but to borrow some more and make a leveraged all-in bet on it too.
Logic would suggest that, as house prices in London continue to rise, many Londoners who do not need to live in the city would decide to buy houses further away, gaining from price rises and relaxing the pressure on the market. In reality it seems the opposite happens: when sitting on a rising asset, people who would secretly prefer to move 50 or 200 miles away from London are reluctant to, for fear either that they will miss out on future price increases or that, once they leave, they will be unable to afford to move back again.[ii]
We don’t feel fulfilled in the here and now, and so we run after all kinds of things we think will make us happier. We sacrifice our life chasing after objects of craving or striving for success in our work or studies. We chase after our life’s dream and yet lose ourselves along the way. […] Living each moment as a way to realize our dreams, there is no difference between the end and the means.[iv]