The Value of my Money

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.

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19 thoughts on “The Value of my Money

  1. How you treat money talks about how, deep down, you treat yourself and your own worth.

    Couldn’t agree more. Francisco’s speech came about as a revelation. A revelation of something that was long known and implicit!

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  2. Yes, that one too! Reading both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged felt like reliving a world that existed only in my mind until then!

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  3. ==Explorer
    I think I know exactly what you mean – felt the same way myself. It’s nice when someone puts thoughts into words – and oh-so-beautifully at that!

    you don’t blog, do you?

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  4. ‘Nice’ is an understatement. I haven’t found a particular word that does justice to a feeling that can’t be contained. But for now, ‘joy’ comes close.

    I figured I’d conquer reluctance this time and start blogging afterall. That’s how I ended up at your blog!

    I did read your blog on words…the one that talks about instant conversations. Framed my thoughts about it. Just finetuning it.

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  5. I saw this in TOI today. I find it befitting this context.

    It’s good to be just plain happy, it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss. – Henry Miller

    Expect my URL sometime this weekend!

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  6. ==Explorer:
    I bit mushy for my taste, especially when read in the context of reality with all the variables. However, makes some sense with this particular isolated context 😉

    Look forward to the URL

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  7. There are reasons aplenty why I’d remember Gaizabonts! Your blogs are such a relief from the constant insanely insipid conversations that people force me to have. You should write more and more often. You understand when I say mental stimulation is a pleasure in its own right, don’t you?

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  8. Pingback: Respecting Value « Square Peg/Round Hole
  9. “How you treat money talks about how, deep down, you treat yourself and your own worth. ”
    If even a 50 paisa coin drops from my wallet, i pick it up and touch it to my forehead. This respect came long before I started earning and i think it really is my attitude towards spending.
    Well written post, on a very different topic and comes to an amazing conclusion in a unique way.

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    • That respect (picking up and touching to the forehead) is probably a legacy and culture instilled by our parents and grandparents. I think, the reason why it remains (or does not) when we grow up is the real determinant of what value we place on money.

      Thank you!

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  10. hmm… This post compels thought.

    It brings to mind a rare few (just two in my acquaintance) who’ve earned money the hard, honest, sensible way, but are yet casual about what importance they accord it. One is an A-list graduate (from no less than IIM-A), but who wears these labels very lightly or not at all. One of those delightful human beings to be around who walks the talk – he actually let go of cash-cow careers to pursue an ideal. His ideal is a very simple one surrounding the discovery of self and he’s made both a cause and a vocation of it. The vocation, aided of course, by intelligent decisions, hard work and market savvy, brought the money home, in plenty. Nevertheless, perhaps grounded by his relentless pursuit of the ideal, he actually has the money FULLY under his control, rather than the other way.

    To him, money is just a tool. Strictly so. He doesn’t even regard it as necessarily the means to the end – the greater ‘ends’ of life, if you will. The mind is a far greater transactor of real wealth, in his opinion. And the greatest currency is thought – mindful thought. Money is simply only to serve sustenance purposes. Does he fold it neatly into his purse or is he less aware of how he handles it? I wonder, does it even matter what physical regard he accords money, given that he has the final ideal achieved and firmly under his belt?

    Does folding it mindfully indicate any more grounded awareness of one’s limited resources than leaving it (carefully enough) in a purse, but without regard to its dog’s eared result?

    I, btw, am traditionally brought up, on this count – and like you, by habit, handle money tidily – but I’m just wondering, is that a virtue in itself? 🙂 Symbolism is one thing, but the real intention should count more than the symbol, right? Ideally, I mean…

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    • Symbolism is a reminder. Or, a ritual that celebrates value. What value you accord to money (or anything for that matter) is a matter of thought. Without the sense of value, symbols are just visual artefacts.

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