Gifts of ageless truth in minutes of the mundane By Cheryl Leis. PhD. Management Consultant/Practical Philosopher As dwellers of this twenty-first century Western universe. we all have to cover with money. We participate in the universe of commercialism as a means to obtain those things considered necessities of life. Money plays the function of the most normally accepted agencies in this giving and acquiring from others. And the more money one has. the greater one’s power to modulate the specifics of survival – one’s have and that of others. We use money to take part in the exchange of merchandises or services. separately and corporately – whether employed by or taking an organisation. In some instances these organisations are publically funded non-profits. and in other instances they are private. for-profit ventures. Money and morality is a subject that has surfaced on many occasions in my line of work. One such case was during a contract with CBC Television to work on the development of a six-part national series titled: “Beautiful. Filthy Money and the Search for Soul. ” The rubric itself speaks to the ambivalent nature of our responses to money and its presence in our lives.
As portion of the contract. I appeared as a invitee on the panel. where I was asked to finish the undermentioned sentence: “Money is…” Yes. what is money? My response was: Money is a tool for happening out who we truly are. What you do with money. and how you live with money’s presence in your life. tells a batch about your values. Or. as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it: “A dollar is non value. but representative of value. and. at last. of moral values. ” This is seemingly reasonably close to what Buddhists believe about money. There are times when many of us are faced with an instability between money and morality and happen ourselves inquiring in some signifier or another: How we can set “Money” and “Morality” in the same sentence and non stop up with an ethical contradiction? The mutual exclusiveness of these Mwords is an built-in. yet complex portion of being human. And it is merely when we face the truth of their mutual exclusiveness that we can come to understand the arrant necessity of their coexistence. The challenge stems from the fact that there is both a religious side and a material side to our state of affairs. When we don’t conveying the religious side into duologue with the material side. jobs result.
This is true for persons every bit good as organisations. Think about Enron – what do you believe their manner of covering with money says about the moral values that guided senior direction at that place? Each of us could turn the inquiry on our ain lives. Money. in and of itself. is impersonal. It has no intrinsic value. but is a mere yardstick of value. a agency of mensurating or comparing in the exchange of one thing for another. Money “belongs to the category of great mental innovations. known as 1 measures…” Measures of distance – the metre or stat mi – span the gulf between two things or topographic points yet are non themselves things or topographic points. Similarly. money brings things of different value together without going one or the other. ” Because money is simply a manner of mensurating. it is in itself. hence. non existent. Therefore. money is both impersonal and unreal.
However. we frequently seem unmindful to this unreal nature of money and compare it with things that are really existent. like our ain values. But if. as Aristotle says. “ [ a ] ll things that are exchanged 2 must be someway comparable. ” what are we stating about our perceptual experience of world when we measure our sense of dignity by our net-worth? While money is a step of value. that value can alter depending on what the market is willing to bear. It’s instead similar to the narrative of the emperor’s new apparels. Equally shortly as we agree something no longer has value. our whole perceptual experience of it changes. This alteration in the perceptual experience of the value of something affects worlds psychologically and emotionally. So when the value of stocks falls through the floor. people react in fright or paranoia. Conversely. when stocks rise like loony. there is craze fuelled by hope and even greed. What so. motivates our relationship with money? With what purpose do we endeavor to roll up wealth? Do we acknowledge what our relationship with money says about our values?
Money Haunting For some the inquiry of moralss and money leads down another way. In “Is Lucre Really 3 that Filthy? ” Craig Cox. executive editor of Utne magazine. reflects on his ain journey from contempt for the all-powerful dollar as a kid of the 60s to going – of all things – “bourgeios. ” gaining money and larning to pull off it. There was the illustration by a prima voice of the counter-culture of the twenty-four hours. Allen Ginsberg. who wrote in Howl! of firing all his money in a wastepaper basket. Timess have changed – even for Ginsberg. 1. David Appelbaum. “Money and the City. ” Parabola. Volume XVI. No. 1 ( Spring 1991 ) . 40. 2. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics 1133a 18. 3. Craig Cox. “Is Lucre Really That Filthy. ” Utne Reader ( July-August. 2003 ) . 63. who “…of class. sold his documents to Stanford University for 4 about a million vaulting horses. ” The sarcasm. points out Cox. is that societal justness militants who want to shun wealth in order to convey about societal justness and assist the hapless are in fact assisting people to achieve the really thing they. the militants. abhor: a comfy life. He sets up an interesting quandary when he insists that “If you insist on encompassing poorness in your ain life. how do you go a believable advocator for folks who would make about anything to 5 flight it? ”
True plenty. there are those who become enslaved to money in their fond regard to mere accretion of more and more capital. However. there are besides those who are enslaved to money in their ascetic turning away of it. Both are obsessional behaviors: obsessed with holding money or obsessed with avoiding it – like the alcoholic’s household that is obsessed with avoiding intoxicant. In neither instance is money at the service of the person as a agency of supplying for the necessities of life ; instead. the person is at the service of money. Our emotional responses to this impersonal thing called money frequently lead to an automatic fond regard of value-statements. We grab on to labels such as “evil. ” “bewitching. ” “aweinspiring. ” or “filthy boodle. ” Respect for money is replaced with either worship or disapprobation of it. Emotional and value-laden responses are besides apparent when conversation turns towards money and holier-than-thou posturing rises really rapidly to the surface with remarks like: “Well. I don’t dirty my custodies with money. ” Or: “I surely don’t work for money. ” A batch of judgment of others happens: “He’s merely in it for the money. ” Or: “She’d do anything for money. ”
This judgmental posturing besides leads to ideological placement. Anyone who focuses on doing money is instantly dubbed a capitalist and conversely. anyone who speaks of communal sharing is dubbed a socialist. Nuances are lost and conversation terminals right at that place. No duologue is possible. We move from love of money to love of political orientation. where anyone who thinks otherwise than I do about money is instantly evil. Religious Moments of Mundane Existence To judge from one side or the other is to bury that we inherently have one pes in Eden and one pes in the clay of the Earth below. The challenge is to populate in both at the same time. Populating as a human being agencies larning to cover with money – whether 1 has a batch or a small affairs non.
It will make us no good to simply prosecute a religious life unless we are populating every bit and at the same time in the material universe. Christians are exhorted to retrieve that even Bishops. or religious leaders. are told to equilibrate both. “For if person does non cognize how to pull off his ain family. how can he take attention of God’s church? ” ( 1 Timothy 3:5 ) A life of integrity. or one in which the spiritual and the stuff are in balance. warrants freedom from deformation. Yet the demand for integrity is besides at the bosom of the contradiction. The religious and the stuff are of wholly different natures. Not merely must they live in the same universe. both the religious and the human sides of our being must besides hold their ain individuality and remain in full relationship with each other. We have to work at accepting this mutual exclusiveness for what it is. These are separate parts of who we are and of our day-to-day being. These separate parts are in a dynamic relationship one to the other. like notes in a beautiful vocal: you might hold harmoniousness. but you still have separate notes. If they are all the same note. there is non harmony. there is unison. Harmony has tenseness. It is beautiful because of the tenseness.
Unison is nice. but harmoniousness is richer. Morality And Business Just as it will non assist us on an single degree to concentrate merely on the one side of our nature at the disbursal of the other. likewise it will non assist to split our civilization into the spirit-lead and others. It reminds me of a narrative I late heard: Two work forces met for the first clip. in of all topographic points. a church on a Sunday forenoon. The one asked the other: “So what make you make? ” To which the second responded: “I work as a manager of XYZ division of a concern. ” “You’re in concern? ” quipped the first. who was a instructor. “Oh that’s excessively bad. ” The work of the man of affairs was seen as inherently less worthy. How far could the conversation go after that? It is a hard chasm. One finds a authoritative instance of a religious-affiliated venture that refused to admit that it must run itself like a concern. After decennaries of misdirection. the publication house cried out to its constituency to acquire it out of a multi-million debt. One former board member was even quoted in a church publication as stating that this was seen as “a church venture. non a concern venture. ”
The error ballad in this eitheror position. There was no recognition that gifts and endowments and accomplishments of different kinds were needed. The contempt goes the other manner excessively. One has merely to believe of the now ill-famed corporations like Enron or Livenet. where the state of affairs is simply the contrary: a concern endeavor that lacks religious sense. and consequences in moral bankruptcy. If our moral rules give us the model within which we operate and the ability to go on runing depends upon fiscal viability. so unity is automatically lost for any organisation when either half of the morality and money equation is lost. Balancing the Equation Merely when we pay attending and merely when we come to acknowledge the true topographic point and function we have allowed money in our lives. merely so can we perchance hope to make a deeper apprehension of how of import a balance between the stuff and the religious is. This deeper apprehension may merely come in flashes. merely fleetingly. Yet the truth that is understood in an blink of an eye opens us up to the truth of our mundane actions and being. In other words. we must go witting. we must go cognizant of our human status – this life lived in a dynamic balance between the religious and the stuff – and be attentive to both.
But alternatively of giving the right sum of attending to those mundane and material facets of life like revenue enhancements and pecuniary demands put upon us. we frequently get caught in a prejudice against money. We would instead indicate fingers and condemn in wide shots than engage in duologue of peculiar money affairs. We would instead estrange than seek to understand. Alternatively of projecting judgement or pretense we. personally. are above being affected by money. we need to confront our human state of affairs and acknowledge we live in two universes at the same time. Possibly so we would make a better occupation of life in both. “If great truth does non come in into our relation to money. it can non 6 enter our lives. ” And if we do non let ourselves to confront that truth. the negative facets of our relationship to money will mouse up on us unawares. Bad debts. delinquent measures. or an empty electric refrigerator will all of a sudden demand so much of our human attending that we will hold no energy left to concentrate on affairs of the spirit. Undeniably. it can be a challenge to populate out our moral rules in the market place ; it is built-in in the challenge of being religious and human at the same clip.
Not giving adequate attending to either the religious or the stuff. on an person or an organisational degree. leads to bankruptcy. whether moral or fiscal. In his book. Business and the Buddha. Dr. Lloyd Field provinces. “greed is a pick. ” We can take to let our insatiate desires to organize our purposes or we can take to acknowledge where our purposes are finally prima us. It is non money or wealth or even the capitalist system that is the job. he argues. Buddhists regard wealth as neither bad nor negative. Rather. the job sits obviously with us. human existences. and the purposes which we allow to actuate our ideas. our emotions and our actions. It can non be stated any clearer than said in this book: we are exhorted to “continually do the connexion between money and human values. ” And so the inquiry that truly gets to the bosom of the affair: “What monetary value do we set on our moralss? ” We will necessitate to travel past our prejudices and contempt for those whom we consider to be on the other side of the money and morality equation and allow minutes of ageless truth and even grace to infiltrate our treatments and our inquiries. When all gifts and accomplishments are welcome and when unity is our precedence. so there will be the possibility of a true and dynamic relationship between money affairs and morality.