“Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the whole world.” — Epicurus

This quotation is recorded in Seneca’s Letters – Book I – Letter IX.

This one struck me forcefully; it’s one of those quotations that is just a simple truth but has the force of depth, as though the words are riding on a wave in deep ocean.

Yeah, it is basic — if you desire more than you have, you are unhappy. But it’s also true and it reminds us to keep our desires in check. Up to a certain point, satisfying your desires may provide you with greater pleasure (and that point is much lower than you might expect — see this brief on the origins of happiness study) — but after that point they may no longer serve your purpose.

If you are still unsated when you are “master of the world” then apparently nothing will satisfy you.