Saturday, October 17, 2009

without context.

If you choose to focus on 'other than money'
you will be accused of hating money.

a friend was. 'why do you hate money?'

'i don't, i am just not comfortable focusing on it, aiming for it'

What is the evil?
1 Timothy says it is the Love of money.
That friend asked me to put thought into this, after a discussion he had with the founder of Success Magazine, and how Ayn Rand believes that money is just a way to place value in a civilized society, for goods and services, and is not only not evil, but a gift of reason.
"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will.
Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return."

I'd say
money is not evil, any more than capitalism is evil, or a gun is evil.
Giving value, in common with man, and trade in agreed value...
this is civilization. And money and capitalism are tools of function.
Systems, weapons designed to build or wield power. The power of will, action, chosen purposed kinetic movement. Power in itself is not evil.

A blade is just metal. shaved fine, and only equips
the hand that wields it. Gives power and effect to the stroke of the arm. In an evil hand, to damage more than it could without. In the right hand, it can carve a tool for survival, or defend the defenseless, or set free that which is tied.

A man may be a coward with his fists, but a tyrant given a knife.

Power in the created is a danger.
Because it lets the created flirt with creation, with enacting his will upon others, and watching them move at his call. And our god-like flirtations remind our spirits that we all wish to be god. the only sin. all other sins descend from this.

Though I believe this stems from an evolutionary need for survival.
We are drunk on the idea of controlling our surroundings, environment, because that better guarantees our survival.

But the tension there is this: for the spiritual man, the spiritual survival may demand death. and to sell your spirit for fleshly longevity is the test, the poison fruit.

Money, perhaps more than any other tool, is a generalization of power. It is tangible, tradable power and most importantly, a shape shifter. It can make a man dance, build a tower, dig a ditch, harvest food that he will not eat, or sell his body. Money in a man's hand will turn his will into another's behavior.

It needs no context, no explaination. It needs no empire built on fear or respect or birthright. It needs only to exist. And the whole world will act, move, build, or destroy at its whisper.

Even the man who wishes to do good, the shape shifter lets him feel his righteous benevolence, showering gifts and goodwill with his paper magic. His flirtations here are given another layer of deception, self-approval in his god-like commands. The pang of conceit will allude him as he grins at his worshipping grateful kingdom.

It is the purest wine. It is power than can be found on the sidewalk. and imagine, two strangers see thousands of dollars scattered about in public, make eye contact, and lose themselves in sprinting to get it first. or money on the freeway, risking life, to grab fist fulls.

The fear of money in the pious is not the fear of the tool,
but the fear of man.
A man should have a healthy fear of genius, unparalleled skill, intoxicating beauty. These things are power in a context, and can corrupt the fragile will of a man. Without a history of broken pride, or an understanding of human smallness, power in a man will rot him. Now, remove context, accountability, and any learned skill or necessary understanding, and you find money. And you have acid. corrosive to the wood of man, save the insulation of humility.

A young fool will crave money because it is his will alive, without responsibility. If only he can get the paper. through trickery. or treasure chests. or inheritance. or outsourcing labor at the expense of community. or pillaging the forests and mines and lesser people near the equator. or the blessed and miraculous lottery.

it is the closest man has come to magic,
wizardry, and blind power.

I am getting closer to the idea I was digging for.

1 comment:

Mary said...


Provocative thoughts. I like your idea that money/wealth is lacking in context. A free agent. Which may morph and form to whatever will directs it. Without a strong relational anchor, it's easy to be deceived that our wit or skill, our s e l f procured this. That's why wealth is the slipperiest slide toward the swamp of [false] *self-reliance. *not the good emerson kind :) So many social, political and economic challenges were posed by this guy named Jesus. Yet, repeatedly money, wealth, possessions are what he chose to scrutinize. Donald Kraybill in his book, Upside-Down Kingdom quotes Jesus ending a sermon with this, "No slave can serve two masters for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." (Luke 16:13) then writes, "Mammon, an Aramaic term, means wealth, money, property, or profit... competes directly with God... Jesus doesn't grant deity status to knowledge, skill, appearance, occupation, nobility, or nationality. It is wealth, he says, which clamors to control us like a deity. " There is also account of the young ruler who asks how to ensure eternal life? Jesus answers, obey the commandments. The man says, I have observed them from my youth. Then Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Wealth, health, intelligence, power... anything that can trick us into thinking we are self-sufficient and do not need each other and a gracious God are scary and dangerous. We are a body. We need all our parts. Money is like a commercial saying hands can stand on their own. Or eyes are the best so should ditch the head.

I wish we all were One, I wait for the day we'll be united again and for good.