These days, particularly, is life all about money? This sense in which we’re all accumulating more or peddling away to simply break even. Isn’t it generally one or the other? Those “with” money tending to see it steadily increase while those without it seem destined to tread water forever within these rising tides.
Doesn’t it seem that costs will always be rising? There’s always something “more” we need, some new basic standard for security or status within this fast-developing world. As if we’re chasing something that will always be shifting just out of reach. Perhaps, a sure footing in life? A place where our worth, our social or material safety, is assured and we don’t have to fight to maintain it. (Notes One)
Of course, we must find ways for our genuine needs to be met, it just seems like the way we’ve being doing so might be quite seriously and dangerously flawed. How much of our psychological, environmental, social or international stability are we wise to be placing in the market’s hands? To what extent is the natural human need for acceptance, worth and status becoming a source of endangerment for us all? (Notes Two)
It just seems that the way we’ve been going about things has created as many destabilising forces within and between our communities as it has in all our personal lives. Aren’t we constantly seeking our worth and power on those terms? Needing the money to buy whatever things will make us appear valuable in the eyes of others. Wanting whatever freedom, leverage or influence money can offer us.
Isn’t it often leading to questionable ethical decisions? All the ways we’re buying into situations that cause harm, directly or indirectly, to others through what we’re empowering by way of our payment (Notes Three). As if we’re driven to make poor choices or allegiances on purely economic grounds – justifying them in terms of whatever savings, assets or gains we might’ve made through the transaction. As if that’s all that counts.
And, all the while we’re seeing worth and value through the lens of money, it seems unlikely things will really change (Notes Four). As if, in all reality, our decisions now simply come down to money and will be judged wise or reasonable on those grounds alone. Is it true? Can everything be cast in financial terms and made to look admirable in that light? As if there are no other values capable of standing up against this.
What would life be like if we took money out of the equation? If, in all the places “money” is the deciding factor, we had to justify our choices some other way? As if money were just the finishing touch to quite a different chain of reasoning, where other values had to make their presence felt and be the considerations that determined the course of our actions.
Instead of being guided by merely economic interests, could we find more harmonious, less damaging ways of meeting all our needs?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Value and meaning in our lives
Note 1: Who gets to define us
Note 1: Market forces or social necessities
Note 1: Making ends meet
Note 2: Living in luxury, on what grounds?
Note 2: Solving all the problems we’re creating
Note 2: Economy as a battleground
Note 3: What we create by our presence
Note 3: Attention as a resource
Note 4: The insatiable desire for more
Note 4: Advantage people don’t want to concede
Note 4: Values on which we stand firm?