Saturday, July 10, 2004

Metaphysical Money Problems

Money is one of the greatest deceivers there is in the world. Money is simply a means of communication. We all agree that a certain piece of paper, or a certain electronic number is equivalent in worth to something else. Worldwide, humans have adopted this metaphor (is metaphor the right word—money is something that stands in for something else, labor, worth, comparable item) to make an easier system of exchange. It is a fragile system of exchange. In order to destroy it you do not have to destroy anything physical, all you have to do is destroy the belief in it. If people lost faith that three dollars can buy a small coffee at Starbucks, then three dollars would not purchase a coffee at Starbucks. It is also an incredibly resilient system—faith in money can be easily resurrected.

This is where money deceives us. We start to think of money as being real and having value. In this context value would indicate inherent worth, utility or importance.. Some people actually believe money is an end unto itself. To achieve that end they spend their lives in pursuit of money. After which they die. End of story.

PFP—pretty fucking pointless. Actually, that is a bad description because fucking at least has some inherent value as a biological act (I would argue that there is some limited value in the pleasure as well).

I have read somewhere, and I do not remember where or I would give attribution, that capitalism is a system whereby everything has a price but nothing has any value. I would agree with that. I want to think of capitalism is a sickness that has infected the world with selfishness. This is wrong, capitalism has a place in our world and the real problem with it lies in the lack of moderation in its practice. Capitalism is appropriate as a system for bartering objects. However, it is not an appropriate system for measuring the worth of human life—simply using it for such a purpose automatically reduces the worth of the life in question.

Hence the nightmare healthcare system in the United States.

My objection to using money as the arbiter of the worth of people and things is twofold. First, I feel that using an economic measure for the worth of some objects and enterprises is pointless (art, education, space exploration) and harmful (health care, politics). The second, and more serious objection that I have to this system is that I personally never have enough money.

That last sentence has more depth and meaning to it than might be suspected. What I am trying to convey is that I, like many others, have allowed money to usurp actual values I hold. The result is that I find myself making artificial and dangerous choices such as: do I work towards earning more money or do I work to enrich my life? Do I get an extra job, or do spend time with my wife? Should I invest my time and effort on becoming more spiritual or in gaining more material wealth.

In some ways these choices are not mutually exclusive and are false choices that way. In others, these are very real and important issues. The problem is that I am not sure I am really intelligent and discerning enough to actually make these choices.

Maybe I should invite the Goddess into this part of my life as well, maybe that would be helpful.

Dear Goddess Brigit, I thank You for my sobriety today and ask You to please help me stay sober all day long. Lead me in Your ways this day.

Thank You,

Blessed Be.