What If Money Was No Object?

What If Money Was No Object?


A profound speech from the late Alan Watts.

What If Money Was No Object?We often hear "Money is the root of all evil", but the actual quote is "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (KJV Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10), which is an entirely different thing. (I agree with Tim, but I would change the word "faith: with the word "truth").

Money itself is not the problem, but living your life around it is. We have been convinced that money and happiness are in some way proportional, but this could not be further from the truth. What is true is money makes life easier, but an easy life is not a happy life. In fact, an easy life breeds lazy, simple-minded, weak people, which I would argue is not compatible with true happiness. (Read about the related 'Cargo Cults' )

It is no coincidence that the money industry, which started out once upon a time as simple tools for trading, is so heavily managed, manipulated, and controlled. This is because money, more than anything else, is what drives people's live. Control the money, and you control society. This is why in old England they gave the death sentence to anyone who messed with the money system, why community script is outlawed everywhere, and why cryptocurrencies are outlawed in many countries and are being moved into state control everywhere else as much as possible. The whole money = happiness pitch is just that, a sales-pitch by those who control the money/culture industry used to get you do buy into the money system; "You want to be happy? All you need is money."

I am not saying that money, in and of itself, is a "bad" thing, or should be shunned. In today's society, it is quite necessary. Sometimes one's bank account balance reflects their skill and value, but quite often it does not. Unfortunately, money has replaced value, and by value I mean "the work necessary to stay alive and contribute to the community". There is no proof, but I am taking as axiomatic that in pre-money societies (before 5,000 bce ), a person of no value, i.e. unable to take care of himself or contribute to the community, was not long for this world. Value may have been measured by some skill, or, for the unskilled, some service, such as hauling rocks and trees, cleaning up, preparing the gizzards, producing babies (which requires zero skill, but raising them presumably did) etc. Personally, I am a big fan of capitalism, as it has raised more people out of poverty than any system to date, and is a meritocracy, at least in theory. The dark side of capitalism, like everything, is the dark side of human nature: greed, fear, insecurity, which leads to oppression, control, and violence. Sadly, today all too often equate someone's value with money rather than any sort of useful skill (I do not include the skill of making money from money a valuable skill, but more of a criminal skill). Before money can be a liberating rather than an oppressive, we have to reassess what the true definition of value is. No, I do not think this will happen in my lifetime, or in the next 300 years, at least not as a society, but we can shift our personal perspectives right now.

Money is the poor man's concept of wealth.

It is easy to discover what true wealth means to you. Just make a list. Put money on one side, and then put everything you would not be willing to sacrifice for it on the other, in order of priority. I suspect that things like health, family, love, creativity, exploration, both inner and outer, community, friends, and such might be on that list. There is where your wealth resides.

On a personal note: Because I have had the awareness of an 'afterlife' (mainly due to my out-of-body-experiences) since I was about six years old, anything that I could attain in this life that I could not 'take with me' seemed to be a complete waste of time. "What", I thought, "is the point of accumulating money and/or stuff when it will be of no value to me very soon?". By "soon" I am referring to the inconceivably short time we are in this life in relation to our non-physical lives. Granted, this attitude has not always been helpful, as I have been homeless and dirt poor many times. However, when I look back at my life, there are many more things other than the unpleasant circumstances of poverty that I would go back and change. Circumstances are just not that important. How we deal with them is, for THAT is what we do take with us. In fact, some of the happiest times in my adult life were when I was working 70 hrs/wk for $25/wk (that's 35 cents/hr, in 1981) doing holographic research in my 20's, in my 30's when my ex-wife and were just starting out with nothing, and when I was living in a tin-roofed garage as an illegal alien in scorching South America in my 50's. My 40's were miserable as I spent all my time working to stay in the top 5% income bracket, never seeing my kids, or my home, thousands of hours of traveling, legal battles (over money, of course), and ultimately having a near-fatal heart attack at 50.

If you're not familiar with Alan Watts, he's worth checking out. He was a British philosopher who interpreted and Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. He died in 1973.