Is Money Evil?
We've moved on to Week Six of "The Artist's Way": Recovering a Sense of Abundance. A lot of this chapter is given over to our attitude toward money. I know my relationship to money is problematic. I'd come to think of it as an unfortunate necessity. It buys the things that I need to survive. It provides me with a roof over my head and food on my table, but over the course of my life, I'd come to believe that money is not good.
When I was young, full of innocent optimism, my attitude toward money was of "want". I looked at the people that had money and knew it could get me all the things I wanted: toys, a bicycle, later, clothes and pretty accessories. My attitude was uncomplicated. Adults had money. Adults could do whatever they want. I want money because money equals freedom.
As my understanding of the world deepened, I began to look at the people that had all the money. The more money someone possessed, the more horrible they seemed. The rich seemed to sit on their money like a dragon sits on its hoard of gold. They accumulated possessions that they barely seemed to use: multiple homes that they might spend an odd week in; dozens of cars that they might or might not drive, and some of them possessed as many as seven yachts. I don't think anyone needs seven yachts.
I learned about the concept of unlimited wants. No matter how much we have, we always want more. The rich become rich because they buy the policies they want in the the government. They create loopholes and special privileges. Even the young of the rich are intolerable as they develop a sense of self-entitlement, believing that they were born to privilege and thus deserve to be rich; sort of like a divine right of kings. Poor people are poor because they deserve it: they're lazy or stupid or just wrong.
As I looked at what money seemed to do to people, I realized that I wanted none of that. I didn't want that smug complacency or the self righteous greed that the rich seemed to possess. I came to think of money as something tainted, something that I ceased to crave.
I may need money to get the basic necessities but I didn't have to like money or even to want it more than I had to.
In the Sixth Week of "The Artist's Way", Julia Cameron asks us to reconsider our attitude toward money. Is money really the problem?
Money is a commodity that we use to trade for goods and services. In and of itself, money isn't evil. Money is more a neutral.
I realized that I came to blame money for the greed of the rich. Money isn't the real problem. It's greed that is the issue and money is just one manifestation of that greed.
Money doesn't have to be a bad thing. Wanting abundance in your life doesn't have to be a bad thing. Money isn't evil. Greed might destroy you. A lack of compassion and empathy might destroy you, but the problem has never been the money.
I can want to be more comfortable in my life. I can want abundance and the things money can buy: more plants and books, Tarot decks and crystals, art supplies and cute shoes. Wanting those things isn't wrong. Wanting to not worry about how I'll pay the bills for the month isn't wrong either.
I can want abundance. I can seek abundance and success without undermining the well being of my own soul. I don't need to hate or fear money.
It's strange that I never processed something this simple on my own. Money is not evil. Greed is the problem. I can retain my empathy and my compassion while embracing abundance in my own life.
I know that I don't want or need six houses and seven yachts. I can appreciate money for what it is without turning my life into a hunt for a dragon hoard. I can embrace abundance and still be a good and compassionate person.
Money isn't evil. Seeking abundance in your life isn't evil. Hold on to your humanity and go after what you want. Wanting things doesn't make you evil (unless you really believe that you truly need seven yachts). Embrace abundance and remember your sense of compassion for those that are struggling.