On Money:

In the material world we live in, money is king.
And yet, there is nothing material about it.

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It’s been said by many people in various ways that “money makes the world go round.” It goes without saying that it plays a large part in our lives. We see it everyday; we see it swap hands in the coffee shop, we throw it into piggy (or real) banks, and we spend most of our days working for it. We watch as experts trade it and predict its future value. We judge the value of material goods by how much money it costs; in the material world we live in, money is king.

And yet, there is nothing material about it.


So What Is It then?

Yes, money exists in the physical world; it has weight and density; we can feel it. At a point in the not-so-distant past, it was even made up of (materially) valuable resources. But the money we worship, as it is, is of no intrinsic value. It’s what that money becomes that gives it worth. Money is a shape-shifter; it is Mystique, The T-1000, Merlin, Professor Lupin; it can be anything.

The famous shape-shifting wizard, Merlin - as seen in Disney’s Sword in the Stone.
The famous shape-shifting wizard, Merlin – as seen in Disney’s Sword in the Stone.

It can be a night downtown, complete with bottle service and a booth to call your own. It can be a new book, the smell of fresh pages still intoxicating in their strength. It can be a water pump for a thirsty village in Africa. It can be a lady of the night, or a donation to the church. It can be tickets to the show, the game, or to get on the overnight train to visit an old friend. It can be a university education or a down payment on a house. Money, simply put, is a promise of the future.

And that is why it is such a terrifying thought to spend one’s life pursuing it.


There is nothing less material than money, since any coin whatsoever (let us say a coin worth twenty centavos) is, strictly speaking, a repertory of possible futures. Money is abstract, I repeated; money is the future tense.” – Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths.


I’m not so naive as to think money isn’t important. It serves its purpose, and can be put to use in some pretty amazing ways. I, like Epicurus, tend to believe money has a limited role to play in our happiness. It can give us the food and shelter we need to survive, or the education we require to follow our dreams. It can cover the cost of rent for your new yoga or art studio.

The Epicurean graph of Money vs Happiness, as found in Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton
The Epicurean graph of Money vs Happiness
, as found in Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

But it will never make us truly happy.


Why it’s crazy

It seems almost ludicrous to think money will lead to our happiness. Spending one’s life chasing the accumulation of money, or the material items that money can transform into, is perpetually pursuing the future. There is no life, no experiences, no love, or laughter in the future. Those things are found in the present moment; they are found in the here and the now.

It’s been said that the minute we fulfil a fantasy we can not, and will not, want it any longer. This is because it is never the material desire that we want, it is the fantasizing about that desire that we seek. Think of the time you fantasized about being single, getting a puppy, or buying that new car. If I could just obtain “x”, you thought, I`ll be happy – only to find out that happiness doesn’t work that way. Even a small child desires the shiny red ball or those magically rattling car keys, until he or she obtains them. We may get a brief fulfilment out of finding a new (or multiple new) partner(s), playing with the new pup, or wheeling around in the new whip – but that novelty will always fade. It fades because these things only serve to plug a hole inside of ourselves, a void that can only be filled from within.


This is why money – and the pursuance of it – it such a foolish prospect.

If we spend our days accumulating money, we’re spending that which gives money value in the first place – our future. We’ll have many coins that can turn into many things, but with no time left to perform such powerful magic. Our future, much like the money we attain by wasting it, is not something we can bring with us after we pass from this life.

A fulfilled life isn’t measured by the number of fantasies you fulfil or the material objects you obtain. It’s measured by the experiences you have, the people you share it with, and (most importantly) being fully present in those moments. Spend your time in the future, or chasing it, and you’ll miss the collection of moments that fulfil us, the ones that pave our way to happiness.

Don’t spend your life in a constant chase of the next future fantasy. Chase the present moment. Live in it fully, love in it fully, and laugh it in fully. Your happiness is not a fantasy to be fulfilled. It is right in front of you this very moment.

Take it, its yours.

Be good to each other,

– MG.

4 thoughts on “On Money:

  1. This raised an intriguing realisation in me. I am actually in the process of buying a house (with space to create a studio) and taking an extra loan to build a lovely meditation and yoga studio in the garden. I am not someone who has pursued money, I find it a little confusing for exactly the reasons you point out here, essentially it has only the value we give it.
    So I wondered, as I read, about my taking the risk (and my ability to do so by raising ‘borrowed funds’) for this future payment and value system ( I make the decision now, someone agrees to lend to me now, the studio will exist in the future, the funds to pay further in the future.) The bank has a degree of faith in my future action of payment based on how I have previously paid monies…but no real interest in the business I have created or what I will creat next.
    In this moment, it is me, it is me placing faith in me, providing my own next stepping stone to step toward, it was quite an unexpected realisation as I had not considered before what promise was being made by whom… and as oddly as ever, finding that realisation through a random page on the internet I sat down to as I had the gift of a moment to spend reading something new.
    Liking your style, Mike Giorgi:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey! I’m glad you chose to take a leap of faith in yourself, that’s great to hear! Whether we like it or not, money is very much a part of our world – what you choose to do with it can make all the difference! I wish the best for your next steps on this journey!
      Thanks for stopping by, hope you’ll continue reading!

      ~MG.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoy your succinct, clear writing.

    “If we spend our days accumulating money, we’re spending that which gives money value in the first place – our future. We’ll have many coins that can turn into many things, but with no time left to perform such powerful magic.”

    It’s almost as if we are obsessed most with potential. We grow up yearning for the ability to do things, looking forward to the first milestones (crawling so that we can explore, walking so we can explore further, talking so that we can make an impact, and so on), that we hold on to that desire for potential if we aren’t careful (more money so that I can buy more things or influence more people).

    In the end, our unused potential dies with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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