Money is an odd thing. It is such a measure of power or worth, yet it is intrinsically nothing, particularly in the present day western world. The possession of monetary wealth is nothing more than a representation upon a digital ledger in some bank computer, yet it confers so much upon those who control it.

I am wealthy by any reasonable standard one might care to apply; yet I am powerless. I own my fate, but nothing more. Do not misunderstand- I believe that to own one’s fate is a precious thing, and I remember when (oh-so-very recently) this was not so, and it was the accumulation of money that initially made this possible. Yet when I calculate the sum total of the wealth I either own or control, that value is meaningless to me. I do not feel powerful regardless of what the numbers imply. I cannot relate to that sort of thing- it is an innate failing on my part.

I understand that money affords me freedom to ignore certain restraints. My apartment, for instance- I pay about six thousand dollars a month to call it home. I do not love it, it has no true hold on my affections- it is simply convenient to the places I like to visit, and I enjoy the view. Due to my account balance I may avail myself of this convenience. Six thousand dollars might seem a great sum, but it is meaningless to me- all it represents is a short walk to the rail station and an ocean view. I know that these things are desirable and hence command a high price, but how can that price be paid in something that has no intrinsic value?

I remember the first time I was sold for a handful of coins rather than bartered for real things that could be touched and measured- it was the first time I felt shame at my place in the world. I did not understand money then, and I still fail to fully comprehend it now. I understand that I need it. I comprehend how to earn it through labor or create it through investment. I understand its nature as fuel to the engines of capitalism, but when I attempt to put that knowledge in to some concrete form, to make it real, make it visceral so that I can feel the truth of it as I do other things, I fail.

I am sufficiently knowledgeable to manoeuvre within the framework defined by money, but I cannot believe in the basic precepts that make this possible.

This frustrates me. I cannot escape the notion that this is something I must overcome, and soon.

One Response to “Money”

  1. The following comments are as they first appeared on the original BlogSpot/Haloscan system. –ZM

    Reflecting on this line of thought and others…
    The belief in the value of money is another beneficial shared delusion, rather like the belief that our lives having any significance.

    Beliefs are tools. Money is one of the most powerful abstract tools ever conceived. It has power and utility because it has widespread acceptance.

    I look at it as also being an aggregation point for our shared minds, as in the thread dated 11/20 below. It is orthogonal to every real problem, and therefore adds another dimension to our problem-solving abilities.

    I think all the above would hold equally true if ‘language’ were substituted for ‘money’.
    Dishman | Email | Homepage | 12.05.03 – 12:06 am | #

    You really took a liking to this writing didn’t you? For being one who never tried it before. I just don’t see where you get the energy girl. I’d be more bored if I were you. Money? We who can pay as much as 6 large a month just for living at some place are well-inclined to argue the nature of money. The “worth” of it. Capitalism is built on the concept that “if it doesn’t suit with A go on to B or C” – you said yourself you liked the nearness to the beach.
    Loren | Email | Homepage | 12.06.03 – 7:37 pm | #

    I’m sorry to see you go, but I certainly don’t blame you. Take care of yourself.
    Vicky | Email | Homepage | 12.09.03 – 11:45 am | #