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Myths surrounding money Myths surrounding money
by Joseph Gatt
2007-12-30 10:06:46
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Money is also a state of mind. To some, being rich and famous does not buy happiness. But to many, it is the only life they ever dreamt of.

I haven’t counted the number of times I got cut off for mentioning money related topics. In all the economics classes I took, my professors hardly ever mentioned money, preferring terms such as richness. Many societies dislike rich people, accusing them of cheating to become rich. However, money is a state of mind, and if how much money one makes might not be everyone’s business, money should be a topic subject to more debates.

Many agree that money changes people, makes them more selfish and greedy, and perhaps dehumanizes society. Spiritual people also believe that money makes people evade spirituality and is the root cause of all evil. Some just don’t want people from their surroundings to get rich because that would make them look like a failure. That’s when myths around money are created.

Those myths include the fact that rich people exploit other people, and see poor people as losers. However, there is room for everybody to become rich. As long as people learn about ways to make money, find something they like, and steer away from people who would dissuade them to make money.

But that’s not it. Perhaps a little originality would be required to be rich, that is, thinking of something no one ever thought of. People would tend to blame the economy or the government for not achieving their goal. Yet there is room for everybody to become rich, anytime. The way society is structured can not prevent people from getting rich.

People become rich with all sorts of backgrounds, in all sorts of professions and in all sorts of countries. It does take a little effort, though talent is not necessary. Time is sometimes needed though, so people should abolish myths that the best way to become rich is to become rich fast, gambling, winning the lottery, auditioning for stupid television shows that promise to make a star out of you or through illegal means.

Some parts of the world hate investing money due to the bureaucracy it takes to do so. We could all agree that it would be faster to go through all those procedures than to complain about them and wait for them to be abolished to become rich.

Therefore, you should not be influenced by the negative and pessimistic view on money. No matter how convincing arguments made by people that becoming rich is a long, useless and destructive process, one should try to think on his own about money. Becoming rich is not a fate for only a certain category of people, it could be a fate for anyone. The more people will talk positively about money, the more rich people there will be, and the more prosperous a nation’s economy will be.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-30 10:51:51
I wonder why the poverello (the little poor man) of Assisi or St. Francis wouldn't as much as touch the stuff. Did he know something we don't? Could it be that he had seen and reflected on how much unhappiness it brought to his own father and brother? On the other hand, he did seem to be a happier human being after he symbolically married "Madonna povertà." Ruminations, for whatever their worth!

Alexandra Pereira2007-12-30 23:07:47
"Money is also a state of mind"
I'm so sorry that when I imagine bucks they cannot pay for my dinner - most restaurants don't accept them... yet!! But when they do I'll take the entire Ovi team out to a japanese. I promise :)
"To some, being rich and famous does not buy happiness"
Does it, to you?? That's universal wisdom, my friend.
"Those myths include the fact that rich people exploit other people, and see poor people as losers"
This would be a myth if it wasn't too often true... and very often as well the origin of some fortunes. I respect very much people who became rich being honest and with their own effort, but I believe they still are a minority.
"The way society is structured cannot prevent people from getting rich."
Which society are you talking about, please??
"Some parts of the world hate investing money due to the bureaucracy it takes to do so."
I think it's more often because they lack it to do so??!! Money, my friend, is awfully distributed in this world, even if your neo-liberal american view has a positive enthusiastic tone. I have a question for you: do you agree that everyone should have a right to basic dignity and satisfied needs, in spite of the money they have or don't have? See...??? The problem is not really money... it's our obsession with it and the fact some people (who??) use it to legitimate inequalties and have power over others. Is the problem human nature? In part. Maybe we should only have access to money when we become better human beings.

Alexandra P.2007-12-30 23:25:46
Let me tell you of myths about the poor: that they are lazy, unoriginal/unintelligent, pessimistic, jealous of rich people and fail to see the positive outcomes money can bring. Can you identify any of these in your text? I'm sorry, but I think your vision of things is superfitial, even if i can get your starting point. Do you think it's fair for an african child to live until 16 or 17 and have no chances in life (not even to live enough to try to become rich...!!! for god sake) because of being born there and not in canada?

Alexandra P.2007-12-31 00:42:32
I mean, it would even be a bit more fair if we were all born with the same money and the same life expectancy, just like most of us are born with arms, legs and a brain. But that's not even the case. And we can't blame genetics or luck for that, but only human will.

Alexandra P.2007-12-31 00:56:45
ps - But since you are so confident, I would take you as my personal adviser on how to have a more comfortable life. Are you willing to participate in this experience for free? (it's just that I can't pay you... yet, at least).

Sand2007-12-31 13:02:24
It is a commonplace for smug comfortable people to pass on their pseudo-wisdom that money cannot provide happiness but the lack of money which can mean the lack of food, clothing, shelter, health, insurance, transportation, communication, and the horrifying experience seeing loved ones suffer for these lacks is not, for most people, a formula for a delightful life. This is so obvious for even the dullest of intellects that I wonder why it must be expressed.

Jack2007-12-31 17:48:08
It is not money itself that is evil but the empirical collection of it at the expense of the poor. Even if I think positive of money, I have seen that the more rich people become the more they do talk about it. I can not understand how talking positively about money can not affect a nation's prosperity. This seems to idealistic.

We can neither say that the poor deserve what they get (they certainly talk positively about money in many cases) nor that the rich do not deserve what they have earned. There is no wisdom in making blanket statements about people based upon their wealth anymore that we can about people's lack of it. Tell the disenfranchised (pick any continent) there is "room for everyone to become rich" and they will laugh in your face.

Alexandra Pereira2007-12-31 18:30:53
I think there is room for everybody to become not-poor. That would be a good start! Being rich and famous does not buy hapiness, it helps to have more comfort - which is a bit different, even because we all know cases of rich and famous who are truly unhappy people. If everybody would be rich, no one would be rich - which is interesting, we would be back to our own competences and talents to distinguish ourselves. I would be happy if in 2008 at least some millions of people more could have more needs satisfied and, if money is necessary for that, well then that they would have millions of dollars more. And love, of course.

Sand2007-12-31 21:06:29
Perhaps I'm a mutant or maybe merely somebody rather odd but all this talk of being happy strikes me as extremely peculiar. I do not expect to be happy or joyful or extremely sad . I merely expect to be and be interested in being alive and being useful and not in pain or hunger or thirst. Money can be useful in many ways but it is not always necessary or even worth my time if something else catches my interest. And being famous is something I would most prefer to avoid as I would find it embarrassing and it would interfere in my other interests. So I really don't know what the hell you're talking about. Nobody should be hungry or in pain or have no place to live. So far, nobody has figured out how to do this. I certainly haven't and I frankly doubt anybody else in this discussion has either.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-31 22:11:28
Aren't you the same fellow who sometime ago quipped a quote from a scientist: if you are so smart why are your rich? Here is another one: if you are so rich, why are you so unhappy? And so we have all quipped away (with or without typos) and solved nothing. Perhaps we should reconsider St. Francis of Assisi?

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 00:15:52
Ms. Pereira, is there really a border line line between not poor and poor and not rich and rich? Could it be it is in our minds, our intentions and our values and where our hearts are? Could Plato have had it on target when he said that poverty has nothing to do with what we have or don't have, but with how big are our desires? Moreover, did Aristotle have a valid point when in the Nicomachean Ethics he makes a distinction between our natural needs and our frivolous wants? Could it be that our current rampant confusion in this regard is the inability to tell one from the other, as abetted by the advertasiments of Madison Avenue and those enlightened sophists who love to confuse the waters with misguided premises?

Alexandra Pereira2008-01-01 03:15:08
Happy New Year for you guys as well!!! Much Love and Food for everyone!!! (I don't care if you buy it with money or exchange it for carrots, or someone just gives you a piece of cake) By the way, does humanity know the word "giving" or "sharing", is it valued today? Much hapiness :) :) :)

Alexandra Pereira2008-01-01 03:34:19
Mr. Sand:
"So far, nobody has figured out how to do this."
I think this would rather be: so far, there was not enough will to do this :) that's more like it :)
Dear Paparella,
Plato and Aristotle are beautiful, but I think when one doesn't have a meal or a roof, one can be considered materially poor. Hadid's article was about material richness, we should not confuse material and spiritual wealth - but we should consider that not having money can stop one from buying books or cd's, artistic materials or get more knowledge about the world by simply travelling, that is, it can also interfere with your spiritual growth, which is a complete dictatorship. Not to mention that lack of money can stop one from studying and climb social stairs or be more qualified. This is extremely unfair. Globally, we should MUCH MORE base our societies in merit and abilities than in having or not having material goods or possessions.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 03:49:00
Indeed, when Aristotle referred to needs as distinguishable from wants, he did not have only the needs of the body in mind but also those of the mind and of the soul which are even more important than material needs for a full human life, one that is worth living. Unfortunately, as Jung aptly pointed out materialistic modern man is in search of a soul and a mind, if he even knows he has those endowments. Hopefully, with a new year, hope will spring eternal and peace will too if there is enough good will around to reject a nihilistic philosophy of quite desperation. The angels at Bethlehem never said good will to men as if it were a piece of candy, but rather peace to men of good will. There is a big difference!

Sand2008-01-01 04:51:39
Considering the non-materialistic soulful sons of bitches that enter market places strapped with explosives to religiously and idealistically rip apart peaceful people shopping to fulfill materialistic wants I am not at all comfortable approving soulful motivations. But religious people who have contempt for people not swallowing the standard confident bullshit about what Jung and angels did or did not say or intend keep denigrating people who simply want to live modest and decent lives while the central church keeps enriching itself endlessly from its sucker adherents.

Alexandra P.2008-01-01 08:25:04
Mr. Sand:
"I do not expect to be happy or joyful or extremely sad. I merely expect to be and be interested in being alive and being useful and not in pain or hunger or thirst."
And being alive and not in pain, hunger or thirst doesn´t make you happy? It should. ;)

Alexandra P.2008-01-01 08:33:15
Mr. Paparella:
Hopefully, with the new year, atheists and religious people and even nihilists can get along and be neighbours or even laugh together. That would be a great accomplishment :)

A.P.2008-01-01 08:41:43
I will leave bitter disputes away and enjoy my "king cake", "queen cake" and other delicacies, if I can get them. My father, who died this year and was younger than any of you, would have a toast with champagne or espumante looking at the stars and call you both "patetas". ;)

Sand2008-01-01 09:18:29
Well, A.P., what my concern boils down to is what is actually meant by "happy". Should I be continuously aware that the mere neutral well being of not being hit by a comet, suffering from leprosy, not addicted to any drugs, not, at any particular moment, being mugged, tortured, starved, frozen, assailed by religious fanatics, (fill in here your own particular phobia), or should I merely dismiss the mysterious and irrelevant term from my consciousness and get on with making my life as interesting and amusing as possible?

Sand2008-01-01 09:23:27
Incidentally, I prefer my patetas baked with a dollop of butter and a dash of salt.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 11:20:18
And so with a one liner wise ass comment on patetas, voilà, the issue of happiness is readily dispatched. After all, nobody ever saw happiness walking down the street by glass houses. Pathetic indeed is the right word!

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 11:27:30
Ms. Pereira,

as I have expressed previously, I could not only laugh together with an atheist such as George Santayana but I could even have lunch with him and even invite him to my home were he passing by. We'd probably continue to disagree but a dialogue would be possible and fruitful because we'd be willing to honestly entertain each other's point of view in the dialogue. There are atheists and then there are atheists, just as there are religious people and then there are religious people. The ability to distinguish is crucial, it seems to me.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 12:39:46
P.S. In effect that means that one ought to refrain from egregiously smearing with a wide brush and silly and offensive caricatures the whole group in either category (atheists and religious, that is. Which does not mean that the story on a particular issue should not be told, warts and all, but it should be the whole story, not the clever by half story as unfortunately caricatures and slanderous cavalier statements tend to do. You wish to talk about the corruption of the Church, fine but then don't caricature a saint such as St. Francis of Assisi (or the other legions of saints) which are the direct product of that Church. In other words, one ought to be honest enough to look at both sides of the coin or risk coming out with superficial trashing cliches which do no honor to either cause. One ought to be also willing to look inside and realize that the religious and political fanatic lives inside each of us. Not to do is to project the holier than thou attitude we so decry in overly religious people. I am afraid that fundamentalism does not apply to religion only. It also applies to those who separate reason from imagination and reduce it to rationalism.

Sand2008-01-01 13:58:24
When I see the Pope in ragged clothing dishing out soup to hungry poor people I will accept that the man, at minimum, is respecting his own stated ideals.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 14:34:45
Wonderful cop-out of the issue! A one liner, and voilà the issue is settled. Next caricature coming up, with a dash of slander and a modicum of bashing and a few personal insults thrown in for good measure. Bake at 400 degree. We could call the results the universal cake of pre-judgment and ignorance contemptuous of academia.

Sand2008-01-01 15:35:54
No cop out there. You just are too myopic to see it.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 15:47:35
And voilà the issue is settled with three words. Oops, another grammatical mistake. No I don't mean the name of Samson which I acknowledge as a typo, I mean your "You just too myopic to see it." The grammatically correct rendition should be: "You are just too myopic to see it." I wager that some rationalization will now be profered to justify the mistake but Forrest Gump (who went to college and respected honesty) would surely see through it. O tempora, o mores.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 15:51:04
P.S. "Profered" above is a typo too, by the way. It should be proffered.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 15:55:58
I retract my correction and spare you the effort to get on your horse and charge my myopia which missed your "are" which in fact is there. But I still think that putting it before "just" is more elegant. Are we having fun yet. I can imagine what may be going through the mind (oops, the computer of meat) of those reading those idiotic exchanges: is this what those two dudes consider fun on New Year's day?

Sand2008-01-01 16:04:25
If I wasn't familiar with your mental problems I would assume your mistakes were the result of over indulgence on New Years Eve but you are merely up to snuff.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 17:57:02
Ah, mental problems. Must be those damned voices again which have been suggesting rethorical stratagems and innuendos galore. They are not the spirit of Christmas. Don't listen to them.

Sand2008-01-01 18:18:57
Aah! Rethorical stratagems. These gems are obvious menthal jewels seduthing you from thensible thought. Poor Paparella. Totally lotht.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-01 20:39:33
Is that what the voices wrote? Poor Sand. Just tell them that they don't know how to spell, even if they happen to agree with your outlandish views. Maybe they'll leave you alone.

Sand2008-01-01 21:39:25
No, Honeybun, I was merely following your example. When you lead me into the thicket of typos you have to know I know the steps.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-02 02:33:00
Indeed, you know the steps all right. Too bad they are the devious and misguided steps of rabid dehumanizing rationalism with delusions of superior enlightenment. But the emperor remains naked, as the wise imaginative child noticed.

Sand2008-01-02 07:18:43
I wonder who and where this wise imaginative child might be. You have repeatedly exhibited the infertile desert of your own mind that must pull flash card quotations continuously to maintain a presence so it is most clearly not you. Introduce me please.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-02 11:47:26
Very well, let's do those introduction. The child's voice has been projected unto me but the little child is "fantasia" a terribly sincere and blunt child who knows no cynicism and sarcasm, something that is unknown to the narcisist looking in the pond and misguidedly concluding that everything reflects back to his ego and one's image surmised beautiful merely because it is one's own. Should he however be fortunate to get away from the pond in the cave lit by the fires of a restrictive rationalism and come out in the light of the sun to be exposed to the whole of reason, he will hear the voice of a child (the child he has long disowned and buried in his subconscious)shouting "the emperor is naked." That voice is one's unappropriated shadow much more visible and uncomfortable in sunlight, and therefore to be disowned and projected unto others. But when he does that he remains naked. Shalom.

Sand2008-01-02 17:05:36
Aside from mixing up the myth of Narcissus with the Anderson story with a touch of Plato's cave there seems to be at least a touch of original thought there. You seem to be saying you have gone beyond Plato's understanding that humanity can only see shadows of reality and have progressed to a direct confrontation with reality itself, something no sane human has ever claimed before.

Permit me my doubts.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-02 19:00:23
Obviously you haven't the foggiest of what is Plato's logos of the myth of the cave or Kant's "neumenon" and "phenomenon" for that matter,but you obviously wish to give the impression that you do and cavalierly judge accordingly. While Socrates knew that he did not know, you know that you know and also know that those who disagree with you do not know while you know it, as any duly certified deranged rationalist knows it. You did hit it on target however as to where rationalism detached from myth and poetry eventually leads to; to a loss of reality or of conceiving reality what is in one's head, and that is not a pretty sight, especially when those rationalists acquire political power. It is enough to turn the world into an insane asylum. I told you not to listen to those voices. Once they grab you they don't relent so easily. Dostoyevsky's The Devils would be a bit more appropriate for the situation, if I may venture a modest a suggestion.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-02 19:04:02
P.S. The Emperor is STILL naked, I am afraid.

Sand2008-01-02 23:48:56
As is your habit you have merely thrown a bit more convoluted shit in my direction and exhibited another demonstration of your loopy view of the world.
We are both getting on in time and it looks as if you will stubbornly die with your delusions rather than accept that the universe cannot be untangled by abstract speculations of ignorant ancients but must be uncovered point by point slowly and carefully by people willing to test their concepts in the actual world and reject them when they prove untenable.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 02:53:53
"Plato's understanding that humanity can only see shadows of reality and have progressed to a direct confrontation with reality itself, something no sane human has ever claimed before." (Sand)

SOCRATES: Indeed, imagine what it would be like for him to come suddenly out of the sun and to return to his old place in the cave. Would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?
GLAUCON: Most assuredly.
SOCRATES: And while his eyes were filled with darkness and his sight still weak (and the time needed to become re-accustomed to the cave might be very considerable), if there were a contest in which he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never been out of the cave, would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that his ascent and descent had destroyed his eyesight, and thus that it was better not even to think of ascending. And if they caught anyone trying to free another and lead him up to the light, they would put the offender to death.
GLAUCON: Without question.
(Plato's myth of the cave)
comment by Dr. Paparella below:

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 03:13:18
Your doubts are misplaced and misguided, as the above excerpt demonstrates. What in fact Plato does clearly say is that the man who has escaped and gone beyond the shadows of the fire in the cave, and has been in the light above returns to the cave to enlighten his fellow-slaves to their condition, the human condition deprived of the knowledge of the Good, the Beautiful and the True which in reality is not normal. Of course the people who consider themselves aleady enlightened and “normal” who have never been out of the cave of their rationalism devoid of the sun of the poetic, who confuse shadows for substance, ridicule the man and call him crazy, but even Forrest Gump, who has a college degree, however, and has read Plato and is sincere, can pretty much figure out who the real crazies are.

Sand2008-01-03 06:58:20
Your obvious love affair with Forrest Gump to the extent that you place your mental machinations in total congruence with his is significant.
Anybody with even the least speck of intelligent analysis is quick to comprehend that the Good, True and Beautiful are not and never have been absolutes and anybody that claims they are is imposing his/her personal and cultural taste on the universe. Whether it is Plato or Paparella, anybody who believes that it is possible to step into a theoretical sunlight to see these as absolutes is indulging in monstrous egotism with, perhaps, malevolent intent.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 08:41:38
Point proven. And when the man returns to the cave and tells the ones still in chain that the transcendentals exist and are not mere secondary characteristics of reality, they will chuckle at him and answer him with some one liner and then they will exchange high fives; but alas, they will remain chained to their chains thinking that the fire is the primary light. Had he brought back a pizza with onions and mushrooms or a cake (universal or not) yes, they would have believed that, but the transcendentals? Never heard of them. O tempora, o mores. Vico had it on target: ratio without imagination leads eventually to the barbarism of the intellect and the turmoil of our brave new world is merely a symptom of that mind-set.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 08:48:55
P.S. As for Forrest Gump, he is of course underestimated by the rationalist who doesn't see (as an Einstein was capable of seeing)that there is more to intelligence and reality than the narcisistic voices in one's head. He is sincere. Chances are he will learn three times as much from a philosophical exchange than the close minded unbending rationalist who declares himself "clever" (by half)and is sure of his "enlightened" position on what reason is.

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 08:53:55
PSS So much for Plato. Plato to the bonfire too together with Aristotle and Aquinas and Augustine. Next issue to be baked? Pass the mustard please with a dash of salt.!

Emanuel Paparella2008-01-03 12:48:01
To Akli Hadid: before I leave this thread, I find it intriguing what that word "myths" can provoke. Perhaps we "enlightened" men of the 21st century ought to consider the idea that myth conceived as a lie or a deception is not, and never was, its primary etymological or philosophical or mythopoetic meaning. That reprehensible conception of myth was begun in the Age of Enlightenment as a put down of anything that was not purely rationalistic. The results are apparent. We now conceive ourselves nothing but machines. As for heaven on earth, now that 80% of Europeans are Christian only nominally, all one needs to do is read the daily news. But of course Lucretius and his cohorts are convinced that all that is needed is to liquidate religion and heaven on earth would blossom. A sort of miracle. Fat chance!

Sand2008-01-03 15:01:27
Unfortunately, curing cancer has very little effect on stupidity.

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