I don´t mind money as a currency. In fact, I quite like it. I think having to trait an egg for an apple for a spoon for a candle sounds very tiring especially if the candle was that thing I wanted all along. I don´t say that money is bad or that people shouldn´t want it, shouldn´t try to get it for example through work. But I think we are making too much of it and forget what it really is, a symbol of worth and by extension a symbol for eggs and candles.
Money and control
We forget that money doesn´t buy control. It can balance certain probabilities in your favour for a while but it doesn´t give control, that is an illusion. You can´t buy control over your health, over your relationships and certainly not over your happiness. The richest people are not the ones with the lowest rate of divorces, the richest country in the world is not also the happiest, not even statistically. The statistics of health insurances show that poor people have more physical illnesses (what is not surprising when you trade your body for hard work, it has its consequences). But I would still argue, that health by definition of the WHO is „complete physical, mental and social wellbeing“. The new statistics we have to consider then don´t let rich peoples life look so much healthier.
What I would suggest is that we find a new balance, a new view on work and money. We could try to make as much as we irreducibly need but also focus on figuring out how every single one of us wants to contribute to societies in ways that are fulfilling for them, that they really like. But in order to do that, we will have to face our fears of losing control. We will have to allow ourselves to question the systems as they are right now and maybe even to stray from them and to make our own paths. Facing those fears might even mean facing our fears around suffering, pain and even death since work and money is, at least in our minds, so closely connected to our basic needs. It makes sense to stay alive. Everything alive primarily should try to stay alive. But physiological, safety and social needs are not the only needs that human beings have, for example, shown in the hierarchy of needs by Maslow. It is very likely that does three have to be met before a person can strive towards self-esteem and then self-actualization. But what is not conclusively described by any theory like that is what all these categories are filled with. Yes, there are minimus but looking at our western societies, I wonder, if many things that are culturally considered basic needs are really necessary for us to survive or even are really helpful for us to strive.
What I would like people to do is to become conscious about their fears, as much as possible and in their time. I want us to stop running around like headless chickens following every empty promise to save us, to give us control. I want us to start facing this life, this persona that we are right now, as that valuable thing that it is. A thing that we will most certainly lose sooner or later. To start making conscious decisions on how we want to live this rest of life. May that be with or without (much) money. Whatever work that might include, whatever we want to achieve then in life. To consciously decide how we want to spend our lifetime and life energy. No, we will not be in full control of that. There are boundaries to every system and every system will defend its boundaries as long as it can. But that doesn´t mean that we shouldn’t know what we want and try to go for that. We might also have to learn to forgive ourselves if we feel like we have made a mistake and maybe to develop a bigger sense of humour towards how things are and how they have been or could be. The thing is, even if life really is more of a fight than a dance or game then there is still the choice of being dragged into an arena to fight or walk into it head high. I would still prefer the latter.