Someone sent me a long email, the extract of which is below. I will reply to the ‘money’ portion of it and will leave the rest for the email response.
“I’m unable – after many years of thinking, acting, trying to live with it and without it – to disprove the need for MONEY.
It is also why I’m SO FUCKING MAD at Jed for, of simply NOT ADDRESSING the essence of this STUPID FUCKING THING CALLED MONEY, which, in my opinion so MANY seem to struggle with, OR, is that my state of mind which I’m projecting and that is why I SEE it EVERYWHERE?
Is money TRUE, or isn’t it? WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
After many words, and pushing myself towards thinking to “why do I write to you”, “thinking out LOUD” that seems to be THE QUESTION I’m still struggling with and what seems to BLOCK me from moving on, ERGO, to SIMPLY BE ABLE TO BE:
WHAT IS MONEY EXACTLY?
HOW DOES ONE HANDLE IT FROM THE “there are no existential questions left” PERSPECTIVE ? IT CAN’T BE TRUE.”
Sex and money… two most important things not addressed in the books.
Correct. A vast majority of people struggle with the question of money: how to obtain it, where from, how to use it and how to be free from it. Also, a vast majority of ‘spiritual’ teachers never discuss the question of own personal finances.
Is money true?
I would rephrase it: Is money real? Yes. Money is real, because it IS, EXISTS in the human world. No one can deny its existence, unless they go into the pseudo ‘spiritual wisdom’ of denying the existence of every object under the sun (and beyond).
Non dualism is big on this, but considering its roots in the Eastern teachings….. Western non dual adherents should really observe the monks here doing rounds to local businesses every morning. The monks collect alms (money), do business, accept serious donations in the form of ‘things’. Occasionally in pagodas tuk tuks are loaded with the said things to pawn them down at the markets. A bit like that unwanted Christmas present that you pass on to your work colleague on their next birthday.
Does money have existential value?
Yes, if one wants a comfortable by modern standards life: no hard physical labour, a secure place to live in, shiny objects to entertain self with (the list is as long as your imagination allows), no physical hunt for food, access to healthcare and, let’s face it, a pussy, marital bliss including.
No, if one is content with an extremely basic mode of existence: off the grid, grow your own (and sweat a great deal), time spent mostly on menial manual tasks, from setting fire to wood collection to gutting animals for food preparation to… a long list too, and you have to hunt those animals or at the least rear them yourself, which is hard.
What is money?
It is a token of value exchange. The value of a buffalo carcass to you directly is its nutritional value, and one can obtain it directly by hunting. But if hunting is not an option, one places value on the fact of not hunting himself and chooses to value the service of another who will hunt, then gut, then package, then transport, then store, then sell the meat – to you. At each stage the nutritional value of the carcass remains the same, but the value of its potential to feed you – goes up.
Food, water and shelter have the ABSOLUTE intrinsic value: that of direct life maintenance. Everything else has the fictional value agreed upon between humans which always goes up and down, depending on circumstance. In a post apocalyptic lawless scenario, for instance, some ‘things’ would become of extremely high value: weapons, medication and an intangible personal ability of individuals to direct and control groups of people, be it large or small, usually with the help of said weapons.
Money is a token of value, a few times removed from the absolute basic survival needs.
The problem starts when values are artificially inflated. Take marketing and advertising industries as an example. It ALWAYS creates artificial need, and hence, artificial value. And here is why most people struggle for survival in the modern world (by ‘modern’ I mean the world of the past few thousand years when agriculture created surplus of goods): overall, the majority are not able to and are NOT INTERESTED in creating artificial value and selling it. Most people simply want to live a modest life in some relative comfort.
However, IRONICALLY, they also fall for artificial values created by the minority which IS capable of creating and selling artificial value, and is driven to do so. I mean.. who the hell needs an iPhone to survive?
‘Jed’ once said “Advertising is the art of monetising fear”. He knew that from personal experience quite intimately before he ventured into selling spirituality. To create and sell artificial value one always has to lie; it’s a dirty business.
Money doesn’t make one happy, but it does make one comfortable. I once thought money should be completely removed from human existence, but then realised that exchanging goods and services is the fundamental cornerstone of civilizations: animals do that to the negligible fraction of what humans do. The world will descend into chaos without some form of value exchange. The world is as is.
If one were to ask me to give ONE piece of advice on the subject of survival in the modern world, it would be this: learn one tangible useful skill in such a way that you are the best at it, if not in the entire world, then in your immediate surroundings. Love it, perfect it, become the top dog at it. Then sell it at the highest price, either through the intermediary (employer) or directly via own business.
In other words – create value. There is no other way out of it, aside from becoming a scam artist.
So how does one handle the question of money from the ‘no existential mysteries left’ position… by being practical and level headed about it. I grew up in poverty and throughout my life had just about enough to live on, no luxuries. I work for a living. I have no savings, substantial possessions and do not aspire to any. I do not spend much, because no artificial value interests me, but if the need arises – I find a way of meeting it. If calamities such as a serious illness strike – I do not cling to prolonging my life by all means possible as it is, at core, a lost struggle from the first breath of the newly born.
I understand the above is thoroughly inadequate in addressing such a big subject. It would have to be looked upon from many different perspectives, because there are thousands of factors contributing to the divide of ‘have/not have’ and to the question of ‘how to have’.
The bottom line: to ‘have’ substantial amounts of money – lie through your teeth, big time. To be free from money – remove self from human society. Go a-hunting.
Spiritual teachers do not like to talk about money because they derive their monetary value from – you, by creating artificial value perception. How can they wax lyrical on the subject of money to you when you are the one who is essentially supporting their existence?
I’d rather spend my cash in other ways.
Note: You already ARE and need to continue to BE. Find a way to continue.