This week Cat wrote about the relationship between druidry and money in a practical and personal sense over at http://druidcat.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/faith-and-funding/ It’s a good and thought provoking blog about how we value things, time, energy and skill, what we give for free in service, and the necessity of being able to eat.
I’ve been fermenting an idea this week which seems relevant. Cat talks about money as being a way of exchanging energy – a productive notion, I think, that enables us to consider money in a spiritual context. What I want to explore today is the relationship between money, and fear.
Based on experiences to date, there are no problems that are not reliably exacerbated by poverty, while many problems can to some degree be alleviated by throwing money at them. Even if you can’t fix the underlying issue, being in comfort while you deal with it is a hell of a lot easier than if you don’t have a roof over your head. What can you not buy, with enough cash? The news is full of the kinds of breaks and advantages enjoyed by the super rich. Who wouldn’t look at those lifestyles, and the freedom great heaving loads of cash bestow, and want a piece of it? Who wouldn’t imagine that kind of life as being far preferable? Life is full of uncertainty, while money seems like the great insulator.
Of course the money itself doesn’t do anything, it’s the way in which you deploy it that gets results, which is where the money-as-energy concept comes in. Then there’s that interesting question of ethics, so important in druidry. With enough money, a person can buy an advantage over those who have less. Be that the better lawyer, the goodwill of a government, someone to walk in front of you with a big stick… or anything else. Somewhere out there is a line, a shift between what is fair and reasonable, and what is downright corrupt. How far can we fairly use money as energy and a means of getting things done to our advantage, and at what point does that become oppression, corruption and abuse? I don’t have an answer to that, but I think it needs asking, all the same.
What my druidry encourages me to think about money is this – that there is such a thing as sufficiency. Not an idea of wealth that can smooth every bump and grease every wheel, but enough. Beyond that, I feel a degree of duty to act in ways that are not just about me. Or at least, I envisage that with suitable degrees of security and resources, I would then start using what was left with an eye to others more than myself. Of course the measure of ‘enough’ will be mine, and will undoubtedly represent far more than many people in this world enjoy, but also far, far less than might constitute riches by a lot of standards. The trick will be, holding that notion in face of changing circumstances. Power, after all, corrupts, and what is money, if not power? Although I could also argue that poverty corrupts too, and desperation is just as likely to make us feel like relinquishing a belief or a moral stance, as excessive ease is. You can’t eat the moral high ground, and it won’t keep you warm at night.
I suspect that there is no amount of money that cannot be taken from a person, and nothing that will reliably protect us from fear.
I’ve suggested to reality that it really ought to test me on this, and see if I can hold my good intentions in face of gratuitous success and wealth. That’s not going to happen this week, at a guess.