What is money? We all know it’s a gas, a hit, and a crime, but what is it really?
If you use banking like most normal people, than I guess money is little bits of data somewhere as an abstract representation of paper money that is attributed to you. Paper money has value because most everyone that you meet will agree that it is valuable. In the past, paper money had a predetermined value of a certain amount of gold, but this is no longer the case.
Gold is also a thing that people agree is valuable. It is valuable because there isn’t very much of it in the Earth’s crust, and it is shiny.
All it would take for a briefcase containing a million dollars to become a worthless box of scratchy toilet paper is for everyone at once to stop believing that money has value. Basically the same thing could be said for gold, but at least gold has certain important industrial applications.
The more I think about money, the more it seems to be not a real thing. After graduating from high school, I worked in a store to save money to go traveling. I withdrew $1000 in Benjamins to bring with me on my trip, and I remember being disappointed that so many fairly unpleasant hours of labor could be reduced to these ten tiny pieces of paper. I am comfortable with the concept of money because I have grown up with it, but I can’t help but think that it often fails the “sniff test.”
While I cannot substantiate any of the claims I am about to make, it seems to me that money, perhaps because it is not “real,” can behave in strange, perhaps even supernatural ways. For instance, although it is a basic fact of money that spending it leaves you with less, I can’t shake the feeling that losing money brings more money to me through other channels. And I don’t mean this in the “you have to spend money to make money” sense, which refers to money explicitly spent with a certain return in mind. The phenomenon I refer to is not logical at all.
For example, I once had a large amount of cash stolen from me. I hung up my coat somewhere, and while I was away, someone took the wad of bills that I had left in my coat. Soon afterwards, I got the money back, but not from the thief. Completely out of the blue, I was given a cash award for artistic activity from my college. I was not a particularly artistic person, and I had never even heard of this award, so this money was completely unexpected. The cash amount of the award I received was exactly the amount of cash that had been stolen from my coat pocket.
I’ve seen this phenomenon work in reverse as well. I once bought a cool looking calculator for a few dollars at an estate sale, but later found out that this model of calculator was being sold for almost a hundred dollars on eBay. Naturally, I jumped in on the action and sold the calculator. A few days later, I received a speeding ticket, and the fine was uncannily similar to the amount I had sold the calculator for.
In a more general sense, I seem to always have enough money, and yet I never have as much as I would like. This is unchanging. What changes is the scale of my income and expenditures, which somehow always seem to cancel each other out.
Money leaves you, but then the exact amount that you need comes into your possession. Money comes to you, but then you are obligated to pay out almost all of it for unexpected uses. Although there is no way I could ever prove this, my intuition strongly tells me that it is true. Deepak Chopra writes of money being a sort of energetic flow. If you hold onto it, it withers. The only thing to do with money is to circulate it. Spend, receive, and repeat. Making this flow more voluminous is what we refer to as wealth. It has nothing to do with having a large amount of money sitting untouched in your bank account. Although you could dismiss this idea as hogwash without any possibility of rebuttal, it is nonetheless consistent with my experiences.
It is my suspicion that certain people intuitively understand the energetic force of money and ensure wealth for themselves. Although I’m not sure of the workings of this energy or even of its existence, I definitely plan to be more attentive to the esoteric workings of money. If you find all of this incredibly stupid, then I guess I have nothing substantive to say to convince you otherwise. It would definitely be reasonable to focus instead on boring stuff like gaining marketable skills and paying into your 401(k).