Is Money the Root of all Evil?





“Reality, what a concept!”  This is from a play called Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, presented in the 90’s with Lily Tomlin, I believe.  I might be off on the date.  Both “reality” and money are concepts about what is so.  Money is a subset of reality.  Concepts about them are shared, more or less, and we keep adding and subtracting as a society.  Common sense is, if I hand you reality and dollars, you will know what to do with them.  If not, I can refer you to my wife.

We have all heard that money is the root of all evil.  For the life of me, I cannot track down who said it.  Yet, this is a “come from” for many people, it is their context, their reality.  In fact, money can be used for evil; it can create imperfect worlds; it can be squandered; and it can be a motivator launching the ships that discovered this land, which became the United States.

In 1950, my parents and I arrived on a boat dock in New York.  No bands, only hands.  WWII was over five years earlier; we stepped into a new world.  We had no money, American or foreign, and no concept of American reality, or more precisely, their baggage carried the old world reality.  It is quite a story, my family.  The opportunities barely known and then hardly grasped.

You and I and my original family have lived through 52 years of the most amazing set of events and experiences.  At every turn, the duality of money, both as a peril and as an opportunity faced them and me and you.  “Money’s razor edge” is very sharp; it can cut to save, cook, kill and halt, and seed.  Everyone knows of so many stories of early failed geniuses and successful fools.  Walt Disney, Ray Kroc, the Warner Brothers are a few examples of the former.  You can fill in the fools’ blanks yourself.  My parents did the virtually impossible – late in life, they began anew in a foreign, and for them, a forbidding land.  They faced the perils and found what opportunity they could.  My father’s first job paid $100 a week, working 40 hours.  Less all tariffs.  Maybe even biweekly, I don’t know really.  From this, they created a life of as much ease and excitement as their reality and energy/money could allow to muster.

The future is both full of peril and opportunity.  Money has been created and destroyed at an unparalleled pace.  Money is racing around in fiber optic cables, impulses powered by a nascent global economy.  Like it or not, we are headed to that dock, with all the peril and opportunity money can buy.

I participated in a seminar three years ago during which a speaker state unequivocally that we were moving through time faster as a function of the expanding universe.  SO it was true, our experience of the quickening of time is real.  I am not off the track or my rocker.  He indicated that there is one way to go – “Retreat forward.”

That is truly a positive thought.  The opportunity and peril of money are also parallel to “retreating forward,” now.  If time is moving faster and we are not, we are in peril.  I don’t mean becoming a better workaholic.  Our attitude about money has to change.  The reality of money has to become consistent with its speed.  What may appear perilous is really an opportunity, and not in a marketing sense.  And reflecting on my parents, I pose this question, “What made them have the nerve for opportunities when the reality before them appeared so perilous?

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