Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love of Money

Curiously, I am reading an Agatha Christie novel, Lord Edgware Dies, purely for enjoyment, yet the main character Hercule Poirot is spouting true wisdom. Talking of the femme fatale, "since it is of danger we are talking. . .Love of money. Love of money might lead such a one from the prudent and cautious path." And then in a following paragraph, more wisdom from Poirot, "If you care for money too much, it is only the money you see, everything else is a shadow."

Now isn't that the truth? If it is money that we preoccupy ourselves with, then all the joys in life fall into the shadows.

Money can do a lot of excellent and worthy things. Money can put food on the table and a roof overhead. Money can be a tool of philanthropy to dig wells, build schools, provide medical care for those in need. Money can pay for a vacation for a family to strengthen its bond.

But loving money actually gets in the way of such noble uses. Loving money means seeing only the numbers and dollar signs. Loving money means spending one's life with a sole pursuit -- acquiring more money. How happy is the guy(or gal, just using generic "guy") who spends 16 hours a day at work, in meetings, on the phone making contacts? How much time does one have for pleasurable pursuits, if all one's time is spent chasing the dollar. How many joy-filled moments are lost, if one is tethered to the office chair?

I know someone who worked on Wall Street for 16 years in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. He left for work hours before his children woke up, returned hours after they went to sleep. He travelled extensively, gone for a week or two at a time, many times a year. His firm "owned" him, for those 16 years. Eventually he either wised up or burned out, not sure which. But he left that work, to have time for his family, time to serve his community through volunteer work in the schools, time to pursue a reasonable and balanced life.

Love of money leads to a life unbalanced. Money, held in the right perspective, can do great things in this world. In the end of this Christie novel, love of money lead the femme fatale to self-destruction. Wisdom! And to think I was only reading this novel for enjoyment.

Have you known people in your life who seemed overly occupied with the pursuit of wealth? It's tragic to think of all the joys in life that go unnoticed by them.

6 comments:

  1. My ex husband is like that. He always had two or three or even four jobs at a time. He was always a good provider and a hard worker, but in the last year or so he has suffered burn out and is finally realizing he wants to enjoy his life more. The love of money is the root of all evil according to the bible.

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    1. Hi Belinda,
      The love of money leads people to want more and more and more. I've know people who were very well off, but complained about being poor all the time. Greed just begets more greed, it seems.

      Thanks for reading!

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  2. YES. I like what money can do, but I'm also willing to do without if acquiring money costs too much in the way of time, health, sanity, or ethics.

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    1. Hi Pamela,
      Most of the time, for me, it's a question of is this damaging my health or taking time from my family, when it comes to earning more and more money.

      The bigger toll, society-wide, is on our ethical backbone. Pop culture and the media has blurred the line between what is ethical or not, when accumulating wealth. How do you teach children the difference between right and wrong, when greed is everywhere, driving values and choices?

      Thanks for your thoughts!

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  3. With money and most everything else, I try to live the phrase, "Everything in moderation."

    As for teaching your kids the right values (your values) about money, examples are the best teacher. My kids are young adults now and have very level heads on their shoulders about money despite the fact that they grew up with peers who had a lot of status symbols that money bought. I'm sure that you are setting good examples for your kids that they will follow.

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    1. You're absolutely right! Moderation is the key. Now if only I could get that straight when it comes to chocolate. I have never been able to eat chocolate in moderation, but it's a happy kind of vice : )

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