Hardly anything in the world is surrounded by more conflicting ideologies and feelings and beliefs than money. In a modern society, we all have a relationship to money whether we like it or not. But many of us have a resistance to money because we see it as something that creates pain both in ourselves and in others. This belief is so strong that many people in society believe that money is the root of evil. You don’t have to be spiritual at all to have this conscious or subconscious belief in money. But spiritual circles tend to be the absolute most influenced by this belief.
Whether we want to admit it or not, the Western World was founded on the principals of the Christian faith. It does not matter whether you were raised Christian or not, if you live in the Western World, you have Christianity in your ancestral memories which you inherit when you are born. Also these religious beliefs have influenced the basic socialization process and social tenants upon which society is built and passed down from one generation to the next. You could be raised an atheist and still be influenced by this religiously influenced social belief that originated thousands of years before your birth. The Bible says, "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:10).
Now lets look at some of the more Eastern World philosophies. In the Buddhist faith, wealth is temporary and no path to happiness because it is seen as a form of attachment. In the Muslim faith, there is a belief in most orders that while moderate wealth is acceptable, too much wealth can lead to believers forgetting their dependence on God and becoming too attached to this world. In Hinduism, wealth earned and spent for one's own pleasure is evil and wealth earned and spent for the sake of dharma is divine. I could spend all day proving to you that each culture and the religious faiths that influence that culture, each present the idea that there is danger inherent in money.
Even spiritual beliefs aside, it is totally understandable why people could come to this conclusion. According to statistics, money stresses us out more than anything else including terrorism. We live in a world where for the sake of making more money, companies who have created a monopoly in the market ensure their products will break or go out of date so that people are forced to spend money on new products. New inventions that would progress mankind as a whole are violently prevented from development so that existing companies can continue to make money in the way that they do. Wars are waged to maintain financial control over resources. We live in a world where some people own multiple yachts and collector cars they will never drive, while other people are starving in the streets. We live in a world where governments maintain control by making their citizens a slave to taxes and required costs of living. It isn’t even an argument that money and corruption are all too often integrally linked. But is that because of money? Or is it because of something else?
Every development within the consciousness of mankind happens as a result of desire. A person had to feel the pain of being restricted to the ground for them to want to take flight and thus eventually invent the airplane. In the beginning, after we moved beyond the idea of simply fighting for and taking what we want from others, we became a species that based the meeting of our needs on trade. This was genius. If I have an egg and you have honey, but I want your honey and you want my egg, we can trade and both be in a win-win situation where conflict can be avoided. This is good because conflict is a threat to our wellbeing and even survival. But then we felt the pain of what if I have an egg and I want honey but the person trading honey doesn’t want an egg? I’m basically stuck in that scenario. Either I take his honey and get into a conflict doing so, or I submit to the idea that it doesn’t matter if I want honey, I’ll never be able to get it. We can’t live with this. To not be able to align with our desires is torture because it is the opposite of personal expansion, which is a big part of the purpose of life itself. And this was the rather genius birth of the idea of currency. If we have something that is universally desired because it can be universally traded for whatever we need from someone else, then we no longer face that limit. If I have money, and everyone wants it because they can trade it for whatever they want, now I can have honey and he doesn’t have to want an egg in order for me to have the honey.
Money was also a way of using credit as a means of getting what people needed if they were not in the immediate position to exchange something for whatever it is that they needed. Money got people out of the position of having to rely on altruism, direct barter and gifting for getting what we need, all of which made us feel totally powerless. Money also allowed for us to have a much wider market and therefore a much wider field of possibilities to get what we wanted.
Eventually this concept expanded to the idea of symbolic forms of money. This is a symbol or something of next to no value being used as a representative of something of actual value being stored somewhere else, like gold being kept in a vault for example and represented by paper money. This included the idea of the gold standard.
Eventually this concept expanded to the idea of digital money that is there would be nothing physical or tangible being exchanged at all. One example of this is that governments didn’t want their amount of money in circulation to be limited by how much actual gold they could grow and accumulate because that was keeping economies in depression, so countries like the US broke free of the gold standard. Now there did not have to be anything of actual value stored in another location which that digital amount was representative of and numbers could simply be exchanged from screen to screen.
Any progress, invention or improvement comes with inherent downsides just like it comes with inherent upsides. Obviously if you think about any step in the line of the invention and exchange of money, you can see these potential downsides. For example, if we can create money to be universally barter able, anyone could theoretically make as much money as they want so then governments would take control of that and make it illegal to make money so that only they could. Or if we no longer need actual gold to represent money that is intrinsically worthless, the monetary system can become totally dishonest. This potential for all these downsides is not the topic up for debate. The topic up for debate is whether money is bad and is intrinsically evil. The answer is no.
When we focus on money in and of itself as being evil, we are actually scapegoating. Money is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. It is a tool for getting what we need and want. It is a tool, just like a hammer is a tool. We cannot say that a hammer is inherently evil just because killers used them to bludgeon someone to death. It could be used to do just as much good, if not more than it can to do bad.
Let’s look at a few cases where money hurts people to prove that money itself isn’t the problem.
A person spends all their time working to accumulate money and so their whole family feels abandoned. The problem in not money in and of itself. The problem might be that the person has an inaccurate view of the actual needs of their family and thinks that providing is the only means of showing love to their family and not quality time. Or the person might believe that the only way to be valuable socially is to be successful. So he or she prioritizes trying to gain status and social value by making money over everything else in his life.
A company establishes a monopoly that now capitalizes off of people in a way that is not in the best interests of those people for the sake of personal capital gain. The problem is not the money in and of itself. The problem is that the people making the decisions with the company are operating from a narcissistic viewpoint where they believe that a zero sum game is possible. They do not see that they are intrinsically connected to those people so it is only a short-term success, which will ultimately lead to a complete collapse because they are actually opposed to the best interests of the actual people that their business depends on. The problem is that they do not feel connected to people.
- A government taxes the crap out of its citizens to the point where the cost of living is too high for anyone to afford and far beyond what is needed for the maintenance of roads, schools, libraries, parks or the paying of police officers and fire fighters for example. The problem in this scenario is not money in and of itself. The problem is that the people making decisions about how much money to collect from the public and how that money is spent are motivated by all kinds of personal agendas. Agendas like power. The reason that people want power is to maintain safety. If we are not the one in power in a world such as this, other people have the power and this means that we are at the mercy of what they do and don’t do. So this might motivate a government to charge insane taxes so as to develop an incredible military power so as to be able to wage and or win a war.
I’m not arguing that we can’t create monetary systems or even non-monetary systems that are better than the one we have today. We absolutely can. But if you take any situation where money could be seen as the problem and ask yourself, if money itself were just a tool and therefore not the problem in this scenario, what would the actual problem be? You will see that the real problem is not money. The real problem is human. The real problem that needs to be addressed is our beliefs, our fears, our priorities, our needs and our feelings. It is the reasons behind why we are using the tool of money in the way that we are using the tool of money.
What you have to see is that if money were not available, people would use any tool at their disposal to do the exact same thing that they are doing with money. And when we address those things that are the actual problem, our social systems (including the ways we go about getting things we need within society such as monetary systems) will automatically change. Money doesn’t make your character worse; it simply acts as a magnifier for what is already there. And even if someone began to act differently once they had money, I can tell you that it isn’t because of the money in and of itself. It is because of how people act around money because of their own personal beliefs. For example, once you get money so many people around you begin to treat you completely differently. People start to gravitate to you entirely to use you for personal gain and get as much as they can from you. This naturally makes a person with money go into defense mode and begin to isolate themselves and hold on to what they have for fear of it being taken from them. How people act around money makes most people with money tighten up in terms of generosity and grow distrustful.
Money is not the root of all evil. It isn’t really money that stresses us out. We are stressed out about the very thing that all biological organisms on earth have been stressed out about since the beginning of earth and that is making sure that we get our needs met. This is what stresses us out more than anything else. We are simply convinced that money is the only way to do that now a days. And on a side note, many of us do not feel worthy or deserving of our needs being met, so we find it very hard to create money.
We have to take our attention off of the scapegoat, which is money, and put it onto the real problem, which is our unaware human ego, so as to directly address those thoughts, beliefs, feelings, needs and wants and intentions that are a part of our individuality. And until we do that, we will not create anything to replace the current monetary system of today with that will look any better than this does.
As idealistic as you may be, it is total illusion to believe that you can force a group of people into creating an altruistic society where all people’s needs are perfectly met. Wherever a human ego in a state of unawareness and unconsciousness exists, corruption will exist, with or without money. And money, being a tool can do just as much good, if not more, that it ever did bad depending on how you use it.