Friday, December 5, 2008

Wealth in 2012

Wealth in 2012

What will be the meaning of wealth in the year 2012 when the Mayan calendar draws to a close?

As the global economic crisis has spread there have been extreme drops in stock markets worldwide, accompanied by hand ringing about the incredible amount of “wealth” that is being destroyed.

But what really changes from one day to the next other than numbers representing share prices? The businesses have not been destroyed. Their buildings, people and products remain intact. The big change is in how people feel about those businesses.

What is wealth after all? We might say it is the ability to get or have what one chooses. But why is this important? Perhaps because purchasing power gives a person a sense of control over their feelings.

Buying a new car may make us feel better about the person we imagine ourselves to be. Driving it someplace may fill us with sensations of pleasure. This is probably true for most objects in our life. We want things not for what they are but for how they make us feel.

If external circumstances determine impressions about prosperity, then a rich person is one who can change outward situations drastically enough to affect their feelings. A poor person is one who can’t.

This kind of prosperity, wealth from the outside in, is obviously limiting. Since most of humanity totally believes in it, there are rich as well as poor people.

It is also unfair since the material world is by definition finite. Every war is ultimately an effort to steal somebody else’s stuff. Peace movements, with their mantra of “stop war now,” are futile so long as wealth is experienced in terms of externals.

If a global shift in consciousness is indeed occurring, one aspect of it could be a radically different sense of prosperity. The current economic crisis may not actually be destroying wealth, but rather the concept of wealth as something that comes from outside the person.

When people are able to generate the feelings they want from inside, then outer circumstances will not have to be altered. External objects will not be required in order for a person to feel happy.

There is an ancient story about people who live through the last days of this age. It is said they will walk down roads upon which gold is strewn everywhere, but will not bother to stoop and pick it up.

This is not an image of insanity, but rather just the opposite. It is a depiction of those who have found the true wealth - that which comes from within.


  1. I think the Beatles put it best: "The best things in life are free ..."

    Oh, and what about: "Let it be ... Let it be ... whisper words of wisdom, let it be ... There will be an answer, let it be ..."

    Not to mention: "All you need is love"

    Now, given how popular they were, I think it shows that a lot of people know this kind of stuff, instinctively. And that they do want to be reminded of it.

    The trouble is that all their needs and wants, all their unintegrated fears and desires, are so strongly embedded in them, that it can be very hard to break free of this craving and this addiction, and to get present to what really matters.

    The trouble is that people feel so bad these days that they will do anything to feel good. Including spending exorbitant amounts of money in the hope that they will feel better. And that is why celebrities earn the kind of money they do - because people feel good when they hear that record, or when they see that film, or when their sports team wins.

    All of which - especially when it comes to sport - is relying on externals.

    I think that those of us who are aligned with the Beatles mantra, that we cannot preach about it. We've tried that approach and all it has done is turn people away from us. All we can do is to lead by example. That through the radiance of our peace and joy, others will be drawn to us. I think that this was the message of Jesus as much as anything.

  2. Thanks Nesia. A friend of mine, Don, wrote a long article about this a few weeks ago, I'm pasting the last part of it:
    "...In today’s world, money no longer represents anything tangible. Money is created out of debt. A government issues a bond to raise money. Which came first, the bond or the money? Here is where banks come into the picture. It does not matter which came first. Banks have been given permission to create money out of nothing, out of debt. A corporate bond, municipal bonds, car loans, mortgage loans, any kind of promise to pay allows banks to create more promises to pay. Once you sign that “promise to pay” the bank turns that loan into an asset, and can now make a new loan based on that previous loan. A concept for our minds to grasp is that if everyone, everywhere paid back their loans and all government, and corporations did the same, there would be no currency, no money. The system we live in depends upon debt and that debt, that promise to pay back the loan is dependant upon something even more valuable ……. Trust.

    So what is this crisis really about? The erosion of trust between countries and Int’l banks has reached a critical mass. The agreed-to system of world finance has handled many abuses and can handle many abuses and still survive. What has happened in these days is a critical point has been breeched where finally greed and corruption became the order of the day. Unfettered, unregulated and unmitigated greed is what is now unwinding before our very eyes. The greed has given way to fear.

    This is a crisis of values and character. It is unfortunate that world financial systems require regulations and laws. These requirements indicate a propensity of human behavior toward excess. Value has been placed on having money and things rather than value based on character and integrity. Each of us is presented with opportunities in every moment of our lives to demonstrate where our interests and passions lie. There is no getting around it. We are what we do, what we think, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves.

    The crisis such as the one on the world stage right now will not be solved by putting more money on the table, tax rebates, lower mortgage payments etc. Healing will only come when new (old) values come to the forefront, not only on the financial stage, but in our very lives. Until we demand that sound values and character are the most important elements for a stable and thriving society, a cloud of uncertainty will continue to be present.

    There are hard times ahead for all of us. This will be a challenge we will all be living through together. It is best resolved by helping each other and restoring trust and integrity between each of us. Trust restored."