Is Money Bad for Your Soul – Discussion

14 08 2008

By Teasome

 

 

Economicsfairy:

This pubs and churches theme goes well with this question. Is it really?

 

I fully agree with the author on this one: if it is a tool for a good goal, money is ok. Perhaps even good. But then this condition MUST HOLD: it must ONLY be the means, not the end in itself. So the agent who has the money must have higher values.

 

I guess this is where the trick lies. The trick with money is that it easily ‘re-qualifies’ from the category of ‘means’ to the category of ‘ends’.

 

This is perhaps where religion comes in. The purpose of religion is to educate people about true universal values. That’s why when religion says money is bad, it doesn’t really mean it literally. All it means is that there are higher values than money, and warns people against money becoming a burden on their heart, a constraint to spiritual growth. It tells us about freedom from money as a prerequisite to such growth. That is, being able to be happy without the money.

 

I also agree that’s it’s silly to always regard rich people with suspicion. Where did he/she get the money from? That’s something that has been very characteristic of people here in Russia, and it hasn’t helped a lot to build normal relationships in society. On the other hand, I understand this suspicion. Money IS indeed dubious, because there is always asymmetry of information. Exploitation IS really happening. Exploitation of resources, when oil, gas and other depletable resources have been used at criminal rates. Exploitation of the environment, which is appalling, shameful, murderous. Exploitation of people, who flock to the huge revolting cities and waste away their lives in stuffy plants and offices, murdering their souls and creativity. Exploitation is real, unfortunately. The world is so complicated these days and the asymmetry of information is such that we don’t realise sometimes that we are indirectly (if not directly) exploiting the nature, other people and ourselves in our struggle to maintain a certain lifestyle.

 

And finally, using money for change is great. I think it’s a great idea to invest money in education, for example; your own or someone else’s. Invest it in people so that they become knowledgeable, independent, understand what is needed for sustainable life, courageous to follow their calling. It’s great to have money in order to give people creative and interesting jobs, give them opportunities to understand their true potential and find ways to apply it, invest money in art, environment, help the helpless. But you always have to ask: where does my money come from? I have earned it working day and night, it’s my clean, hard-won money – but how exactly clean is it? Perhaps if I got this job, someone lost it. I paid for the electricity and the petrol I used in the process of going to work and working, I paid for the paper, I paid the taxes so that the government takes care of the unprivileged and the environment – true, but is it enough? Does my work really pay off, is my earning really fair? What if, like with a butterfly effect, the fact that I am working and earning this salary, causes, through a whimsical and intrinsic chain of effects, someone else to die somewhere on the other side of the globe? How do I know it doesn’t? I probably never will.

 

So in the end, money is good as a tool, but it is only through a radical and irreversible change of lifestyle and priorities that a true change for a more sustainable living is possible. I suppose.

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One response

14 08 2008
economicsfairy

You are absolutely right – it all depends on where the money came from, how it was earned, who was affected by that and how, how it is spent, why the money-maker wants it etc. … But again, I think money itself is just a form of energy. Whether you warm a house with a nice, cosy fire – or destroy it with the same fire: up to you!

I just wanted to point out that I don’t like this idea (in some “religious circles”) that being rich prevents you from being spiritual. But you are right: If people start to worship the money (or a career, a relationship, a hobby, a holiday, the family, a certain image of oneself) more than “God” (whatever that is), it will all go downhill.

On the other hand, it is just not helpful to try and stay away from money – and also from power and lots of other “wordly” things that need to be dealt with creatively. Same goes for sex sometimes. I feel that “religious people” who just stick to certain laws and rules (out of fear to do something wrong and then to be eternally punished for it), avoid too much in life and therefore will never be able to make use of their full potential and energy. At the same time, you can often observe that their “moral indignation is just jealousy with an aureole” as some genius once put it.

The minute you become “religious” out of fear and then anxiously try to “be good” without any other motivation, you are already lost.

We need to make use of all the powers and energies in the world, but we also need to develop good judgement to do so wisely so that we won’t ruin our souls.

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