What do you believe about money? What is its place in your mind? There have been many ‘definitions’ of what money is; many thoughts and many ideas. One of the most powerful thoughts about money – and more about it being the root of evil, is very well described in the speech by Francisco d’Anconia in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
However that is a very deep thought about the purpose and value of money and its relationship to men who possess it or don’t – their relationship and perception of money.
Yesterday, while waiting for a flight I saw two women stack up all the local currency that they had and I guessed they were doing what we all tend to do when leaving a country – dispose all local currency – especially if it is not easily convertible.
Crumpled pieces of paper started landing up on the table from all possible pockets and wallets. Soon you had a stack of various denominations surrounded by pints of Fosters. The plan was probably to have as much beer as residual local currency permitted.
My first reaction was disgust – not at the disposal plan – I do it all the time. I was disgusted at the way the money was being ‘thrown’ in. The currency notes were as crumpled as a love note that refused to swell in your heart. The notes were tossed in the “beer pit” as casually as grain being fed to birds. A few notes fell to the floor and they were picked up and tossed back in the pit with as much indifference.
In my growing up years, respect for money has been hammered into my head for years together. Parents and teachers ensured that we did not ‘play’ with money. Keep it safe and organised. We even have a festival where we worship money. Money has a ruling Goddess in the beliefs that I grew up with. I felt disgusted at the way the women were treating money.
When I churned these thoughts even more – I wondered whether I was thinking right and thinking enough. I wondered if I was being culturally myopic. World over I have seen money being treated very differently. The ethos of money that I learnt and grew up with is not the same for everyone. For most people, money is just a tool – a tool of exchange. Why and where does the concept of respect come in, then? Francisco said, “Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them.” Ahead, he says that money is, “…only a tool.”
My thoughts come from another part of his speech, where he says, “To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money—and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.”
It, probably, then comes down to how you have made your money – that determines how you treat money. It determines how you use, abuse, or misuse money. It determines how you treat it – like a loved one? It demonstrates your own values about yourself. It describes how much importance you attribute to your efforts that got you the money.
How you treat money talks about how, deep down, you treat yourself and your own worth.