Money money money

Money money money. No money no honey, honey. Credit cards, houses, plane tickets, iPhones or simply freedom to lie in bed in the mornings rather doing a menial job to pay the rent. All related to money, a wonderful device to see where we are in our world.

How do we most often measure ourselves in the world? How much money we have? Who loves us, and how much? It can be really frustrating, when you don’t have any money, to see how often women will be with some guy purely because he has lots of money. And it’s called love. (It also happens, in a different way, with men, who are attracted to one woman rather than another because her nose, or another physical attribute, she is like this rather than that.)

Men often want to make more money so they can have a more beautiful woman, as if a woman/love can be bought. But then the ability to make money is just as valid a quality to be attracted to as being a great lover, or being funny. A beautiful house, a fancy car, a meal at a swish restaurant are powerful tools of seduction. Having money can also mean that more time can be spent making love, relaxing, rather than having to go to work all day.

Where we go for our holidays, if we even have holidays, what device we listen to music or watch movies on, what beer we drink, what drugs we take, what pastimes we can engage in, how much free time we have or want, are all related to how much money we either have or think we need. A lot of how we see ourselves in the world is related, for better or worse, to the mount of money we have. One question keeps on reappearing in the minds of most of us. What can we do to make money?

The Pheonix game (a pyramid-type money games, aka Ponzi scheme) came along in th elate 90s  to show some of us where we are in relation to money. And it was about money, irrespective of what I saw as a lot of new age clap trap around creating wealth, about how 'if it is not working, then it is to do with being negative', 'not letting go', 'not being open to all this money entering your life' etc etc. Now I have no moral objection to the game as such. It was/is after all simply a gamble, that some made money out of, and others lost. Some people win a lot at the pokies, the races, lotto, while the majority lose. No difference in my eyes, except with the Pheonix there was no authority taking a percentage, and there was always going to be an end point. And people were sold it as being ethical, a new, enlightened way to prosper, and so practical people had their doubts overridden due to some spiritual naivity.

Some people got enough out of it to start building houses, pay off mortgages, do all the things they had wanted to do for years. Great. Others, who joined later, lost their money, and in this economy, $2000 is quite a significant amount. “It’s not just about the money” was something I heard from many people. OK, there was a lot of interconnecting between different groups, and that in itself was valuable for the community as a whole.

Since groups of people first started dealing with other groups, there was some kind of currency based on barter, on exchange. Over time this has become so sophisticated that now people can make huge amounts of money bartering something which isn’t even theirs, which may not even exist, but still the exchange mechanism is there. Many people in the Pheonix, and other pyramid Ponzi schemes such as are available on the internet, feel that this kind of system is more moral, healthier in some way than the normal capitalist system which is too ‘dog eat dog’.

At the risk of being castigated myself, these games are far more dog eat dog inasmuch as most people get nothing for their money other than a bunch of new age catchphrases, advice on being positive, keeping negativity to themselves, keep the energy going, trust. Eeeeek!

I do not desire to lay any guilt trip on those who made money, but for me the proof of the pudding, of whether there really was/is heart in this game, and friends, neighbours are really cared for, is what happens now, when it’s stopped moving? Are those who made their money willing to reimburse those who lost? Is it still ‘not about money’? I heard also that people were meeting others they hadn’t seen for years who now wanted to be best friends, when all they really wanted was the business, to get them into a game.

I saw the whole discussion going on around this stuff as being between logic and illogic. Logic says that for every person who makes money, others have to lose. End of story, logically. Because nothing is being produced, or sold, traded. And that is how this particular society, and any other that I’ve heard about, works. Illogically, the story goes that everyone will make money out of it, that there need not be any loses, that it can just go on endlessly. The logic may be seen as ‘patriarchal’, but that is the logic that makes things work.

It is great to look at all the trips we have around money, the conditioning that says you have to work hard to make it in this world, that nothing comes for nothing etc. There’s beliefs around unworthiness, not being good enough, about having to do it illegally, behind the back of society, about having to make money through a 9 to 5 existence, to do things that you don’t want to do (the old ‘life wasn’t meant to easy’ rave), about being willing to take a risk. All kinds of things.

And it is important to note the dissatisfaction many of us have with regards to where we are at with making money, and not get caught up in reaction, in saying the system is fucked, while leaving our own stories, our own beliefs around money, intact. Money games are great for those who don’t want to confront their money trips. We all know people who are wealthy, and realise that they aren’t always smarter than we are, but how come they travel first class? How come they get to drink Moe while we drink $10 champagne? But I’m smarter than they are! Aren’t I?

Some people get into multi level marketing businesses. Potentially there are huge amounts of money to be made, as long as you get in early. It’s really one way in which we can work with our friends to make money. Doing something like that can expose any trips we have around money, about exploiting, or not, the people we meet, our friends, because we want to make money. It can be a huge challenge to do business with friends. Many people refuse to do it, saying that money destroys friendships.

Money, itself, as far as I can see, doesn’t do anything, rather it’s our unclarity, our hidden agendas, our greed, mistrust, all the things that money brings up, that can destroy friendships. One of the real attractions of the Pheonix game was that it was with friends. Unfortunately, it was a flawed system, and because of unwillingness to address these flaws, shadows have been cast over many friendships.

One of the dreams of many people is to have some money making scheme where we get to work with friends. It feels like money is one of the last great frontiers of being clear, of integrity, of being who we are with what we need. Often other things which come up in our lives are actually a byproduct of our money issues, yet we choose to deal with those rather than the money issue. To me it feels that as we have done so much work with our own stories, once we get the money story right then everything will fall into place.

We do have to get clear around money, as it is in many ways the lifeblood of our society, our interactions, cause if we are not, every facet of our interactions is tainted.

Published in the Here & Now magazine, March 2000

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By Mark O'Brien

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