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Reader comment on Alan Watts's passage ...

Money is not Wealth


On Aug 20, 2014 Rebecca McCarty wrote:

 Wealth is a word whose history is long, entomology tells us it is akin to the words..."well", as in "well-being", to feel good,  or to "well-up" in abundance, a "well" of water; to the word "will"...meaning to desire or want, and to the word "weal" as in the common-wealth or common-weal or "good". Wealth is a word analogous to the word health, which is related to the words..."whole" and  "hale" both of which are related to the word "holy".

We understand by this, do we not, that wealth then, is different than money. That wealth, at least in it's origins, meant "that which is good", "that which makes one feel whole, complete", " that which gives satisfaction to one's desires".

Wealth, by this definition, can be measured, but surely, only subjectively, personally. Contrary to popular belief, there can not any standard unit of measure for wealth, but must be as many units of measure, as there are different solutions rendering satisfaction to our collective personal desires. Money could be a unit, if getting a lot of money is the object of desire, a lot of it would satisfy (theoretically). However if money is not what I desire, if acquiring money does not satisfy desire,  if it does not bring me well-being, does not engender in me a sense of wholesomeness, it is an unsatisfactory unit of measure for wealth. The question I find I must ask myself, is this: by what standard do I, personally, measure wealth?

When the world was more agrarian in nature, where one way wealth was measured, was by the size of the manure/ compost pile, accumulated, behind the barn in winter... because the fertilizer it represented, equaled the amount of food a person could produce in the next season. Being a farmer, I tend to measure my material wealth this way, by the size of my hay pile, by the size of my garden...however I count my total wealth as being much more than just material "things"...the spiritual side of my nature takes measure of it also, and not by material standards.That part of me feels wealthy ,when I have a realization that helps me on the path of inner development. I feel wealthy when I am able to forgive others for actions that have offended me, or to help others, when I am able to work together for an abundant and peaceful way of life. This aspect of my life gives me more satisfaction than accumulating "things".

What has happened to us human beings, that we so covet money? Does it seem to satisfy? How have we, slowly, overtime, been conditioned to so closely equate money with wealth?  To think if we lack money we lack wealth, Isn't there is a difference between money and wealth for you?  There is for me. I suspect there is a difference between money and wealth for many people. How can we begin to notice this difference, separate the two from each other,and in our daily lives...and begin to govern our thinking and hence our actions, according to this understanding. Saying to a dollar: "this is money", and to saying to that which truly gives us a sense of fulfillment: "this is wealth".


On Aug 21, 2014 AJVB wrote:

 Lovely Rebecca!  Amen.
My thought, simply: When I see a person with oodles (in terms of earthly "wealth") but poor in faith (as in Jesus) my heart aches.  Give us this day our daily bread . . . Jesus.  What an eternal investment!  Without JESUS, we have absolutely NOTHING.

 

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