The Root of All Evil?

Most everyone has heard the expression “money is the root of all evil.” Lately, I have been pondering this phrase as I study the markets and watch the flow of it. I don’t feel evil.

Setting the record straight, the quote is more like this:

“Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (Bible, 1st Timothy)

The operative word is “love”.   I like money. It keeps me warm and fed and provides amusement.  If I love money too much, will I feel the evil, be the evil or do evil things? Maybe.   I think we might call that greed.  Though, it does not necessarily follow that the extremely wealthy are greedy or evil.

A rare few do not pursue it.  But most of us do because we cannot really live off the land anymore. Our systems discourage it.    

I like the idea of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.”

The invisible hand metaphor describes how we don’t get things via the benevolence of the vendor, but by our own self-interests.  As we desire goods and services, we set the “need” and the value.  This need is met by a provider who will profit by providing those goods or services, thereby feeding the providers self-interest.

In our current global condition, most uprisings happen because people lack occupation in something that will provide them with a monetary benefit, so they can eat and shelter themselves and have things they are told they should want.

Our systems of interconnectedness are changing the world self-awareness. Historically, money has made it easier for us to trade and consume. Human population consumes global resources with the speed and profundity of a metastasized tumor.  (I apologize for the mixed metaphors).

We may survive if we stop behaving like a cancer ravonously devouring everything around us.  This is not evil.  It’s human nature.  Let’s slow down, shall we?

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The Art of Living

I love ringing in a new year.  It represents new hope and a chance to look at our lives with new vision.  I think about what it means to be human today.  We are changing and adapting to an environment of our own making.  Will we survive it? Dunno. Looking at ourselves as a species is an extraordinary exercise:

We are the dominant and controlling species on the planet.  How did we do it? We are not the biggest or toughest. I would not even say we were the smartest.  Ants are better survivors.  Ants know what is good for them.

Insight Panels

Insight Panels by Marsha Mogowski

We humans started out well.  I think our ability to cooperate in order to survive helped our growth and sustainability.   Trade began thousands of years ago.  This strengthened and unified us.   It made us safer, allowed us to build protective structures, eat healthier foods, clothe and protect our weak bodies from the elements.  Still, some traded better than others, acquired more.  Aggression, protection, dominance, greed describes some of our early behavior.  As the population increased, trading necessarily was replaced with the monetary systems.  Time passes.  Now, it’s all about the money.  Financial exchange has taken on a life of its own.  Everyone needs it to survive in society.  I especially do not like the lesson some learned from WWII:  War creates jobs and prosperity.  I would much rather live in a society where peace, learning and exploration were the goals.

However, this is what we are.  We are human.  We are aggressive creatures.  We have taken some turns that are just plain ugly.  We have built wonderful communication infrastructures that help connect us, present face time and exposure to most everyone – good or bad.  It is exactly what I am doing right now.  (And later, I will feel stupid for doing it.  That’s ok, too.) 

Hope for a great new year.  The artwork,  “Insight Panels” by Marsha Mogowski, was chosen for the title and content.  They are extraordinary works to see live – great for contemplation.  This is what is good about being human!