Morning Meditation #37: The Illusion of Wealth

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My internet got turned off yesterday. I am smiling about the notion right now, how money plays a role in our lives. I wonder, do I deserve to have my internet turned off? Who deserves to become homeless because they couldn’t pay rent? What sick and/or old person will deserve to die this winter because they couldn’t pay a bill? What sick and/or old human passed this summer because they couldn’t pay for a utility or medicine? To quote old Clint, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

The kids use a website called DreamBox Learning’s Math Program. Last night my daughter asked to get her account started, but it was too late, so I told her that we would do it today. Now maybe a wonderful friend will take pity on us and allow me to borrow some money or something, but otherwise it seems money has the power to make a loving father become a lying father as without assistance, I will not be setting up an account for anything. That seems like it shouldn’t be possible, but we live in the environment where this is common place. Money has the power to turn parents, grandparents, spouses, and friends into liars everyday across the globe. I admit this state of affairs used to send me into a frenzy of rage, and indeed, this whole system seems to be an immoral one.

There are literally thousands of reasons people get turned into involuntary liars everyday. A wife leaving for the store looks her children directly in the eye and says, “I’ll be right back,” only to be killed coming home in car accident. This happens everyday. So, it seems inevitable, life being life and all. By mere statement of intention we are setting ourselves up for potential dishonesty. This is the loophole for anyone who is a fan of money to sincerely nod and say, “See, it isn’t money’s fault.” This reminds me of the notion that religion and blind faith isn’t a problem, but rather bad people do bad things. True, but why is it okay to arm bad people with extra weapons for delusion and hatred? Similarly, just because life is inherently unfair, what reason is there to add extra unfair and divisive factors into this world. The love of my life has told me often that she doesn’t have a problem with money, likes money, and believes it is what one does with it as the true value. But, every time it comes up, what constitutes who should get to make the decision of who deserves money over another, she admits to having no answer. We have had some of our worst moments in these conversations, because, as I said, this used to toss my mind into complete turmoil and self-loathing. I have worked so hard in this life, multiple jobs for years at a time while going to college, and raising an infant. I work everyday writing and learning at my greatest capacity. Thus far, none of that seems to suggest that I deserve any money at all, as my current income is zero. Anyone who empathizes and has compassion will consider this as unfair. No wonder she has no answer. She is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, but a question without an answer is unanswerable.

I have had to leave my home in order to publish this morning. Is that what I deserve? Of course not.

Here is the truth that has me smiling ear to ear this morning. Our monetary system is based on nothing, therefore, I am as rich as the richest considering neither of us possess any currency with intrinsic value. There is only temporary privilege granted to those who possess currency right now. Which sadly, they have no intrinsic right to, and therefore we may exchange places several times within this life. Some are lucky enough that all their efforts result in currency, but are they content?

I no longer let currency cause me anxiety or sadness. I may never get married or be able to travel the world without the privilege of valueless currency, but I know that those factors can’t make people truly happy. Satisfy a whim or goal perhaps, but every goal we achieve will be subsequently followed by the next goal, and the next, and the next. I started doing the MM posts to list and talk about goals, but it is important to remember that these goals do not define me or bring me a moments fulfillment. My fulfillment comes from a morning phone call I get to make, a smile from my beautiful daughter, and a compliment from a friend which is unsolicited.

One cannot buy love and admiration, and these are things I possess in spades. Some will look at my life and think, “Gosh, I wish I had all of that.” I also know that if I keep those things as my actual valuables, the worthless currency we consider resource will follow. I may never be “rich,” but I will always be wealthy.

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