I was speaking today with someone about a really bad date they went on and they have allowed me to share their horror story:
“Was nothing interesting – he just insisted every two seconds on telling me how much money he makes and showing me his bank and his second side profit. Constant stories about how amazing he is for getting into his job which I’m like, ‘okay find you’re proud, I’ll listen no problem.’ But then he came for my friend who’s happy working Morrison’s for the rest of her like and was just a bit of a dick about her to me not matter how much I tried to reason with him… He wouldn’t believe me when I said that I don’t give a shit about money because I’d rather be poor and with someone than go for someone based on their bank.” – X
Do we live in such a time that we are preprogramed to associate wealth with success or have we always in lived in such a time? Following the creation of material wealth back in the very birthing pools of a barter based society, is that where it all started thousands of years ago? Such shiny things we hold dear when the dull can hold much greater beauty in its character. When you look from you window you can see such abundance in the life of the Whole why would we ever need to crave more than we need?
I mean, sure, never working again sounds wonderful but that’s just me. Perhaps I would get bored with all my time filled with blankness and indulgence of whim rather than service and diligence to myself and the greater humanity. I don’t want to sound a total hypocrite, I enjoy the finer things like fine dining, mud baths, kimonos and cigars. I could live without them though despite my enjoyment. I could love another with nothing but the thread on my back. I could hold myself with moral fortitude still if I so worked to do so – I’m not saying it would be or is easy – on the cold floor. So could we all.
What an off putting quality to have is to be obsessed with luxury. I’ve known people in my own family to be drawn to those things, to live for the high live and feel incomplete without a glass of champagne and a fast car to travel in. I was always content with a bottle of off-brand cider and my legs to get around with.
It’s a futile thing to search for wealth and power as in the end what have you done for the world other than taken? Of course if your mission is to ensure security for others in this then all the more difficult task to keep your own motives in check with your morals. Or rather your own nature as a being of balance and harmony. If you indulge the body, the soul will suffer – similarly the other way around. If you indulge the soul too much you will neglect the body and your journey across this reality will be quite short and with fleeting purpose. Despite this, what does great mountains of cash do for you other than for something to climb?
We live in a time where we need money to survive in some way or another yet it enables us to cling to attachments and grow unhealthy dispositions about ourselves in a purposeless indulgence. I’m trying my best not to be a hypocrite to my own supposed virtue yet its difficult isn’t it? To go without the creature comforts entirely. It’s a balance, as I said and a Taoist virtue more than stoic yet even so, stoicism is not about having no emotions and desires but rather controlling them.
“Dear guest, be bold enough to pay no heed to
To riches, and so make yourself, like him,
Worthy of a god.” – Aeneid, VIII: 364-5
I saw pictures from a family holiday to Dubai and saw a resort styled as a construction site where the rich could pay to play in diggers and hard hats and build sand castles. To me this was a tone deaf and rather snide way to entertain yourself. When someone has so much money, they play dress up to see how people beneath their social class earn a living? What a privilege it must be to experience sweat only for pleasure and to be so disconnected from the reality of living that it becomes an amusing game to laugh at those who built the marble floors in the grand hotels.
Reflect on what you have and what you don’t have. Reflect on what you need and what you don’t need. How much of that is bought and paid for? How much of that did you bring with you into this reality? How much of that have you cultivated for yourself in spirit?