Businessman-turned-charity founder Ali Horriyat gave away his entire $100 million fortune to prove that money really can’t buy happiness.
In this exclusive article for SWNS, he argues that the only winners in our consumer-driven world are the fat-cat capitalists. If we want to find true contentment, then we must stop spending…and start living.
By Ali Horriyat
We are on a delusional course to satisfy only one thing in our lives—the unceasing voracity of greed.
This is being propelled by modern-day capitalism, a system that places profit before our real needs and benefits, and the ever-present issue of transgression upon the rights of others, be they fellow humans, animals, or Mother Nature.
Observing the world today we can clearly recognise worrying yet prevalent economic trends. One such trend, a driving force of human purpose in the capitalist system, is the need for annual economic growth.
This need is based on the essence of capitalism: profit maximisation. Under this model, the purpose of human existence as but an active part of capitalism for efficiently managing productivity levels and the labour involved in producing goods to ensure the greatest level of profit. In this way, every individual within our global society must do their utmost to ensure an efficient production cycle of goods and services.
Equally, they must not only consume those things produced but consume them at an annual rate that consistently requires improved efficiency. In other words, capitalists strive to have us consuming ever-more goods so that they can, in turn, spew out more to make more money.
At first, the increasing demand is met by the further depletion of our world’s precious natural resources, as well as increasing advancements in technology and, of course, the overworking of the labour force.
Eventually, however, there will come a point when the only way to increase supply further will be through technological developments. There are, after all, only 24 hours in a day so industries can only extract so much from their workforces.
And as we’re increasingly reminded of these days in the news, our earth’s natural resources—such as trees and precious metals—are not available in endless supply.
However this increasing supply is achieved, the capitalists want to make sure that the global economy, and their bank accounts, continues to grow. This means that have to influence us to consume more and more.
However, given that our annual incomes are fixed, businesses cannot impose further charges upon us as we don’t have an increased purchasing power. They could increase our wages, you might say hopefully, but they won’t want to do that as it will directly cut into profits and thereby reduce the global growth they lust for.
Natural resources are technically free, though in reality they come at a very high price for the environment, so they cannot reduce prices there.
Technology, meanwhile, is at an efficient state until new discoveries and breakthroughs bring down the costs of production and lead to higher profit. This could be a time-consuming and unreliable course so the best way for those at the top of the tree to get out of this dilemma is to lend money to consumers so they can consume more.
Here, capitalists and banks work side by side to loan us cash, deducted from their profits, with the expectation that these loans will be repaid at a future date, plus the additional interest on top to make sure profits continue to soar.
The final piece in the jigsaw is marketing. Capitalists have to influence us to spend, and do so excessively, to deliver the year-on-year economic growth they hunger for. We might not want to do so, and we certainly don’t need half as many things as we buy, but aggressive marketing convinces us otherwise.
The most cunning part of this is using the public to influence itself. In our capitalist society, we are largely defined by what we possess rather than who we are. So, it’s a case of having to keep up with the Joneses to keep up appearances.
Capitalism does not merely rely on lending and advertising to ensure a growing economy. It also uses a more brutal force to encourage us to spend, spend, spend! In a recession, people become poor, losing financial stability. In order to prevent a recession, a result of a shrinking economy, we are advised to spend because—literally—our financial wellbeing depends on it. If the economy is boosted through our rampant overspending then we are, in effect, digging ourselves out of the financial pit that society has found itself in, or so we are told.
With the inner workings of the capitalist system now exposed, you may think that this is just the way things are—that we, the ordinary people, don’t really have any choice but to play our part in a doomed model.
I am here to say otherwise. Remember, the power to create and sustain a happy and harmonious life, free of the capitalists’ consumer shackles, belongs to us, the masses.
It is only by being unaware of this fundamental truth that we will continue to be exploited just so that the precious few can live like kings and queens, laughing all the way to the bank.
Most humans are in debt or poverty. Less than one per cent of the global human population holds most of the world’s wealth.
In my new book, Resolution In Love, I outline resolutions that will, by adjusting our behaviour, promote a happy, harmonious life.
We all know from doing so each New Year that resolutions are made in order to facilitate a desired outcome.
We propose a goal and then we formulate a plan to attain this goal, including how we must behave to achieve it.
In the case of our enslavement to the capitalist model, the resolution is simply to aim for a happy life beyond the constraints of overconsumption and materialism.
To do so, we must first redefine our understanding of happiness to remove our dependence on money.
Wealth brings purchasing power, of course, but it does not make us truly happy. We can still be just as miserable driving home in a luxury car as opposed to walking back in the rain when our life is mundane.
Real happiness depends on a spiritual state that is beyond material comfort, and which has overcome the capitalist system that enforces a life outside of our realistic means.
The first step of recognising elements of life relating to happiness is by questioning your spending habits. Is that eye-wateringly expensive new handbag, new shoes, or new whatever really going to bring a state of happiness with it, or is it just a fleeting—and mistaken—way to try and compensate for underlying unhappiness?
The second step is seeking to make this routine of questioning and introspection, as well as other behaviours, a firm habit. His way you will soon be able maintain happiness and resist those urges for momentary excitement through materialism.
If we choose a trade—a purchase for our hard-earned cash—to promote happiness, we must know whether this trade is being pursued with love as the guiding principle. By ‘love’, I don’t mean for the item in question but, instead, for yourself, your community, and for everything in the world, animals and nature included.
If we can restrain ourselves to purchase those things that are strictly necessities for living or an act of love, we will not spend beyond our means. In this content state we will resist buying that expensive, polluting car because the loving principle will direct us toward recognising a manner of travel that, instead, most complements the environment, animals, cost, and purpose.
To travel a certain daily distance, an expensive car may not be the most loving choice. We may not even need a car at all, truth be told. If so then why have one when you could find happiness interacting with nature on daily walks to work, while getting healthier in the process?
Think about it. All those useless items cluttering up your home, all those loans and credit cards weighing down upon your shoulders could be a thing of the past if you can only commit to this one life-altering resolution.
Will this shift in consumer spending affect the economy? Well, it will certainly shrink economic growth.
However, if collectively we make a firm stand to keep our outgoings below the threshold of our financial means to support comfortable living, keeping to purchasing nothing more than meets our essential needs, we will remain satisfied while the economy bobs up and down (until finding a new normal) as this will not affect the spiritual state of happiness.
Don’t worry about the capitalists; they’ll survive our decision to reject the materialistic existence they’ve conjured up for us.
For too long, we’ve all been buying into an illusion of happiness when the real thing is right before us. It’s time to reassess and set yourself free.
For more information about or to donate to The HHH Trust, visit www.hhhtrust.org. Resolution In Love by Ali Horriyat (H3 Publishing) is out now as an eBook, priced £4.99. All proceeds from sales of the book benefit the HHH Trust.
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH ALI HORRIYAT
We speak to HHH Trust founder Ali Horriyat about how he walked away from a multi-million-dollar career as a financial trader to escape the inhumanity of the capitalist system, and how he has since spent his time to develop a spiritual philosophy of love for the betterment of all which he is now realising through his charity and the ‘In Love’ series of books.
Q. Apart from living with our means, can you suggest one other resolution that would benefit us all?
A. One important resolution that we can all benefit from is honesty. If we pledge to be honest with ourselves then we truly benefit not only ourselves but the universe as a whole. Many of us live in delusional fantasies. We can begin to develop and progress toward a happier existence and seek to fulfil a purpose in our lifetimes if we are sincere with regard to our decisions and actions. A strong part of loving oneself is being honest with oneself. If we pay attention to our surroundings then we realise that the concept of lying does not exist anywhere outside of the human mind. And even then, this is a learned process. A child does not naturally and purposelessly lie in the same manner they would speak the truth.
The idea of living within our means, or many of the other resolutions we promise to uphold, will inherently hold a truth accountability of our intention to perform according to that resolution. So living within our means will require that we are firstly honest about the limit of our financial means.
Q. Your ‘In Love’ series of books are based on a fundamental principle of reaching a pure state of love. Can you explain in simple terms what you mean by this concept?
A. Imagine the totality of the force that drives the energy of the universe. Within this mix we have an egotistic force and a force that comes from love. We either follow a negative support system that is developed through the ego’s influence or we perform in a capacity of love. The ultimate purpose of life is to cleanse these forces in a manner that we detox, pouring out the ego and only retaining the influence of love.
I believe that the universe is made of energy, being the only thing that cannot be destroyed or created but only transformed and transferred. If we think of this energy and the creation of the universe as a whole, we come to a specific moment at which the energy somehow chooses to transform. There cannot be any underlying force upon it because it is the original force. Therefore, whatever change that has taken place, causing the first moment in the universe’s expansion, happened with intent. This force to transform in this ideal manner, to produce this exact version of reality and existence, I refer to as God’s force. This is not implying that God here is the God referred to by any religion but simply the energy of pure goodness.
As we experience the universe, we notice that it has developed in such a manner that it has provided life with the perfect set of conditions to thrive. Food was provided in the form of plants without any requirement to kill, hunt, or harm any other animal life, for example. Everything naturally just gave way to a harmonious existence of life.
As humans, one objective throughout our lives is to consistently reduce the effect of the ego in order that we can act toward promoting the momentum of the good force. As we continue to battle the ego on this path, we find that what we are actually doing is transforming ourselves continuously toward a purity in our intention and behaviour that resembles that of the purity of the force of God. We are seeking to transform ourselves into a force of pure love so that we can fuse perfectly into God’s energy.
Many people have performed to rid themselves of the ego and fully act in the benefit of a loving principle. In the space of reaching pure love energy we learn to act only with the intentions of compassion, altruism, love, care, and devotion.
Q. You have just launched a new global charity, the Hope and Harmony Humanitarian Trust, to help tackle inequality around the world. How, in summary, do you plan to do this?
A. I have given up on the hope that governments, NGOs, the UN, and other institutions designed and initiated to support the rights of people are intent on such performance. In an extremely capitalist world, the devotion to money has taken over. Corruption is rampant globally.
Therefore, there is no point to reach out to these organisations or bring awareness to inequality. We are well aware of the inequality in the world. I have developed apps and programs that, along with generous donation and the participation of average people experiencing inequality, will enable the HHH Trust to use the influence of money to overturn the conditions that cause inequality in favour of unity and equality.
We must rely on ourselves to utilise the power of money to make an impact capable of levelling the playing field so that inequality is continually reduced. We must empower people and support them if we really want there to be any sense of equality present in the world. If we have the money and, subsequently, power to overcome limitations that governments and capitalist giants force upon us, we can be victorious in claiming equal value in life.
The HHH Trust will apply education, donations, app productivity, and participation in causes to administer a well-organised thrust to defeat the systems that cause inequality beginning chiefly with decentralising capitalist rule and the classist hierarchy.
Q. Given the incredibly wealth of most Western nations, why do you think financial inequality is still rife today?
A. Financial inequality has nothing to do with an unexplainable phenomenon in wealthy countries versus poorer countries, where we may think that reduced wealth plays a role. In fact, if we consider a country such as Venezuela, it holds the world’s largest oil reserves, even more so than Saudi Arabia, and is second in gold reserves. One would think that it would not have any poverty but estimates place 97 per cent of its population as living under the poverty line, meaning that they earn less than a dollar a day.
Inequality stems from corruptive opportunistic outlooks, especially in wealthy regions or countries that develop disparity based on a very uneven distribution of national wealth. Many nations are rich in resources but the government is using the funds for political agendas, corrupt economic benefit, military expenditure for staying power, and personal financial benefit of all involved in the scheme of distributing national wealth.
Another issue that causes financial inequality is capitalism as an economic model. Capitalism has no feelings. It is a model designed to maximise profit for industry owners. The system does not take into consideration the deterioration of the environment or any adverse effect developed during the process of profit maximisation. Frankly, I believe that the capitalist system simply reassigns roles to people similar to slavery. Capitalism has designed a system where the wealthy can now own the poor through money. Financial inequality keeps growing wherein a negligible segment of the population is amassing and controlling substantially more wealth than the almost entire population. There cannot be financial equality as long as we allow people to be shackled to the regulations of capitalism that only cater beneficially to the small population of wealthy people globally. We cannot ever consider closing this equality gap for as long as we maintain a cutthroat capitalist model. With the power that these people have, and their scant disregard for life and the planet as proven historically over the last century, there is no chance for a reversal in the inhumanity of capitalism because the end goal of every decision and subsequent action is monetary growth. Nations are very specific about maintaining GDP growth, much more than they are about saving or benefiting lives. How can we have financial or any kind of equality if the model by which we function economically is designed to regard labour and natural resources as disposable and never-ending?
Q. You were a highly successful and incredibly wealthy financial trader until you gave it all up in 2016. Why did you do this, and what have you learned through this process?
A. I gave up the life of chasing a never satisfying objective. I was accumulating wealth. I ask myself why to this day and specifically why in such excessive amounts. I still cannot explain it to myself. The purpose of my life goals while jammed into a capitalist mentality revolved around making money without any reason to explain this need for such an immense amount, being that I was only one human responsible for feeding and sheltering myself. Capitalism is not based on the ideal that we should maximise our wealth so that we can share it with the rest of the community. So I never truly understood the reason behind the circus I had built for myself. The most important thing that has stuck with me through the change away from my former self is that we can be anyone we want to be. I was, other than my physical appearance, the opposite person in mentality to the person I am today and it has only really been over a few years of transformation. I had no purpose and today I have purpose. I am still seeking to achieve objectives and I would say that for me these objectives are far more complicated than making money, which to me was considerably easier than being a compassionate person. I am constantly watching myself to ensure that I am acting out of love and basing my decisions on the principle of love.
Q. The ‘In Love’ series of books comprises 10 titles to date. What book would you suggest readers begin with, and why?
A. I would suggest that people begin with Resolution In Love. I think that this book develops and implements the strategy for personal change. The theme of the ‘In Love’ series is fulfilling the purpose of life. The other books discuss variables and models but I think that to be able to transform oneself into the force of pure love the individual should first be in control of the influential forces within them. And, to paraphrase Gandhi in expressing a concept he believed in strongly, we must first reflect the transformation we want to cause to be able to generate enough force to manipulate the momentum of universal energy to redirect on the path to pure love. If we do not take that initial crucial step toward bettering ourselves then we will never be able to become an effective agent of the force of pure love. I believe that this book will empower people to better defend against attacks of the ego and to effectively suppress its influence on the mind’s decision-making processes. In addition to the effective personal purpose in life, this book explains a lot of the terminology and expressions I use throughout my writing, which then become more understandable for further reading.
Q. How can ordinary people help transform the world into a fairer, more just environment for all?
A. There is no such thing as an ordinary human. Every extraordinary human began from an ordinary space. There are countless examples of how we become extraordinary through our desire to fulfil our purpose. Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, and the impossible mission in court for Sojourner Truth are examples of women who made ‘impossible’ seem like an oxymoron all in one word. There is nothing impossible when we set to achieve. The fact that we set our minds to manifest a better world describes the transformation to pure love in that process.
The first step to making the world a fairer place is understanding one’s position. If we are part of the oppressed or afflicted communities then we must prepare ourselves for inner transformation through transferring as much of our force of love energy to the process we seek to change. Education is one primary tool which can be a tremendous weapon for a person with limited means and opportunities seeking to develop a better world. Through the power of education we can affect people around us as we transfer the knowledge to them and assist our communities in coming into the light.
On the other hand, if we are in a position of privilege and we seek to make the world fairer then we can invest our efforts and dedicate time towards addressing some of the issues plaguing sectors of our society which is limiting the potential for a more just environment, such as homelessness.
Another thing that is important is awareness of what causes require advocacy. In order to defend, lobby, or protest for something we must first be aware that this problem exists. In the case of fairness we must be aware that this is a highly social issue. Therefore, we must educate ourselves to grasp why this injustice is persistent among us. Then, we must campaign for raising this issue socially to raise support. From there we can rally a community, nation, or the entire world to stand up for a fairer future. But without education and proper organisation we cannot aim to bring about the necessary social change that will develop our world into a fairer place.
Q. In addition to promoting better financial management, you are a keen advocate of ethical shopping. Can you explain what you mean by ‘ethical shopping’ and why it is important?
A. Ethical shopping refers to morally and spiritually responsible and dutiful spending. We live in a capitalist world and there is no escaping that in the immediate future. Capitalism is simple and it works because it does not take much into account nor does it require a lot of adjustments. The goal is profit maximisation.
The only way we can truly save ourselves, other lives, and the planet is to engage in behaviour that suppresses the destructive nature of capitalism. As consumers, when we do shop and freely give our hard-earned money in exchange for goods that we desire, we must be mindful that we are promoting the cycle of capitalism. When we shop we must be vigilant. When we purchase from brands that hurt animals, deteriorate the environment, and disregard the honour of its labour, we are contributing to those exact sentiments.
Some people have attempted to change their ways but remain somewhat misinformed. One prominent example is veganism. Some people become vegan because they are protesting cruelty to animals. They still enter McDonalds but order a vegan choice because they are protesting animal cruelty. What the vegan consumer is unaware of is the fact that McDonalds does not differentiate between vegans and carnivores. They just expanded within the capitalist model but still purchase beef patties with the profit from the vegan client’s order. As such, the vegan client has not really affected change in the marketplace, not morally nor effectively for slaughtered animals. It is essential that we are knowledgeable and educated to make the right choices that bring about change. As more people become adamant to only purchase from people who apply the strictest rules of compassionate economics into their models, the economic viability of capitalism will diminish.
We must also remember that in the spiritual standard of consumer behaviour we are not purchasing goods and services in the same manner we would be obliged or influenced to in capitalism. We are not buying on impulse or for keeping up with seasonally changing fashions. We buy for necessity as such need arises.
Q. Who do you admire most, and for what reason?
A. I would have to go with Jesus. The only path to a harmonious existence comes through love, inclusivity, and forgiveness. The only way to transform oneself into a force of overwhelming love is to forgive people for their egotistic force because we must reach the conclusion that a person who acts selfishly or opportunistically is not yet within grasping knowledge of the power of love. What is profoundly admirable about Jesus throughout his life was his conviction for forgiveness. He experienced a torturous death while advocating forgiveness and especially because those who convicted him to death did not know what they we doing. In my interpretation, it is that they have not yet known the force of love so they cannot be on the spiritual transformation to pure love energy.
It was also Jesus showing what it takes to reach this state. It was by understanding this moment that I realised there is no betterment or harmony on a battlefield. I had to find Jesus within me to transform me from a position of anger toward capitalists profiting from suffering animals and people. Eventually, I was able to transcend anger and reach a space of love and compassion. Most of all, I found composure and inner peace for I understood that my mission cannot be fighting and leading a violent rebellion against capitalism. It must be to assist people on a journey toward pure love energy so that they too find Jesus deep inside.
Once we learn to forgive each other, and love all as we love ourselves, we shall experience no suffering in a state of compassion. This is the realm of heaven where we all reach the state of pure love energy, where we fuse into God.
Q. Can you remember the moment when it first came home to you how individuals are trapped and defined by their wealth, or lack thereof?
A. There are two definitive moments for me that I remember clearly. In the case of being defined by wealth, I remember being around 11 years old and attending a party with my father at an immensely wealthy person’s house. During dinner, the wealthy host advised everyone that he was going to tell a new joke. I was too young to know to laugh on cue as soon as he was done. When I looked around I noticed people had pretended to fall off of their chairs laughing. A gentleman sitting next to me tapped me and told me to laugh loudly. I still did not understand why but I obediently pretended to laugh, thinking it was a game. The entire night was an observation for me. I few years later I met our host again and again he told a joke. Again, everyone was in tears laughing. I was old enough this time to get the joke. It was lame. He was lame. But his wealth defined him. It gave him the power to be funny when he commanded it and feared as he ordered it. He instilled in me a feeling: I enjoyed what his money was capable of achieving. I was experiencing my first interaction with power. It was at those dinners I learned people are defined by their wealth. Unfortunately, the materialistic world we live in is unapologetically and shamelessly attracted to it.
Nearly 25 years later, I was in a position of wealth, not as wealthy as the dinner host but relatively wealthy. I used to grab lunch around my neighbourhood generally. Whenever I was downtown I would make sure to buy food for any homeless person I would spot around. If they seemed very vulnerable or young I would generally talk to them to see if there is a way to help them out of this situation. Sometimes it was as minor as not having rental deposit and not having anyone to support them. I would step in. At other times it was a complicated ordeal that required getting them to a social worker that could provide them with assistance. One day I was downtown and I spotted a fast-food franchise I liked. Right outside I spotted a young man sitting on the curb. He was shy he did not ask me for money or look in my eyes. I asked him if he wanted to eat and his eyes lit up. I told him we are going to eat together inside. He was hesitant to enter the restaurant. I encouraged him and he walked sheepishly behind me. We reached the counter and the manager, who was also the owner, very disrespectfully called him a bum and told him to get out. I stopped him from leaving and turned to the owner and told him he was a paying customer. He raised his voice asking us to leave. I am generally not one to back down from a healthy argument. I knew this was discrimination because we were willing to pay and we were not being served because of my friend’s unkempt appearance. I warned the manager of the consequences of discrimination. He calmed down and said, “Fine, you can order”. I said, “No, first I want you to apologise to my friend”. I logged into my bank account on my phone and showed him my regular expense account. I told him that I had more cash sitting in my bank than the cost of his franchise. Moreover, I explained to him that the wealth gap between the person he called a “bum” and himself was multiples smaller than the gap between him and me. He had called my friend a bum based on financial merit, or lack thereof. So, continuing by the manner in which he judged my friend and allowed himself to raise his voice to belittle the poorer person, I should have been able to treat him disrespectfully. The owner apologized. We placed our order. I told him it would be on the house because he upset me and I offered him a lesson in financial relativity for free.
Then I pointed at a table where he could serve us when the food was ready. He looked at me hesitantly. Before he could say anything, I told him that I had so much money and time on my hands that I was bored most of the time and would love nothing more than to call my very expensive litigation lawyer and sue him. It would cost thousands of dollars in legal defence and he would probably lose, raising his insurance. Then he would lose the franchise because I would pay money to ensure that the story made it to the media. And I told him I live for these moments to give me some life. He obliged. I ordered my friend some more food on the house and we left. Outside the establishment, the homeless person told me nobody has ever stood up for him in that way. We spoke on the walk to my car. He liked cooking. I helped him go to cooking school. Last I remember he was a chef at a restaurant and on his days off he made specialty meals for a homeless shelter; he would even bring some extra pricier ingredients he would buy with his own income and make them delicious meals. That was one of the last incidents I experienced in a fragmented world that made me decide it is not sufficient to pick small arguments and win. This situation made me realise that we must rectify the way we treat each other. The world around me seemed as though there was a superior species and an inferior one. From my point of view, they seemed alien and incompatible. Now, I am determined to remove the financial element from human evaluation and equate all as a linked whole.