from August 2014:
The point being missed here, though, is that you get all those things in order to be respected by people and accepted by society. Having a college degree “makes” you intelligent and valuable. Having an impressive car “makes” you successful and admirable. Having solid financial resources “makes” you a good provider for your family, proving how much you love them and how responsible you are.
Of course, those things are hardly required in order for you to *actually* be a loving, responsible, successful, admirable, intelligent, and valuable person or member of society. And having those things hardly guarantees that any of those adjectives applies to you. But as long as society looks at those things and not at the real people behind them, we feel like we have to have those things. We get those things in order to prove to others that we are worth having as a friend (etc). We get those things in order to prove we are relationship-worthy. And it leaves us with no time to have real relationships, or any assurance that we are valid on our own merit.
If we knew people would love us and value us for who we were as people, instead of for what we have, we might be confident enough to put ourselves out there spending time with other people, instead of spending time acquiring things. We might also be confident enough to believe that we are relationship-worthy in and of ourselves.
(postscript 2016: also, are we forgetting the relationships forged by college itself?)