TROM Discussion: Money
The first one is just an introduction to the next part of the TROM documentary, which is all about analyzing the monetary system. The second one is Yuval Noah Harari’s Ted talk, “Why Humans Run the World,” which is one of my favorites :). Harari also has a book called “Sapiens” that I can recommend.
Check it out for yourself.
One important point Harari makes is that money is valuable only because we all believe in it. Money is not an objective reality. It’s just something we created to help us control the trade of goods and services, but it really only exists because of our imagination.
I have a friend who didn’t come face to face with money until he was past his teenage years. He grew up in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait Islands, shooting animals and picking fruit when he was hungry, collecting water when he was thirsty. He had a very hard time trying to fit into society when he eventually came to Australia. Imagine how difficult it was for him to grasp the concept that you have to do some kind of job to get some paper with which you can then go to a store to buy food that’s already caught, killed and prepared for you. For him, this was a whole new horizon to imagination.
I’ll tell you more about Manu later :)
I think that if you understand that money’s not an objective reality, this can give you more freedom to play with life. I try to explain through my blog that the reason I travel so much is really because I don’t have much money (because I don’t work very often :)).
The guys that came to my meeting mentioned that I had a huge advantage over them because I have a US passport. Which is true, I know that I can’t make a third of the money that I made working in a restaurant in the US, by doing the same thing in Russia. Plus, I don’t need visas for a lot of countries. But that doesn’t mean that that’s the end of the deal! Right now, I’m hosting an awesome couchsurfer who’s hitchhiking across Russia- from Moscow to Khabarovsk- with only about 6,000 rubles. That’s about $100. Since he only has a Russian passport, has no job, and not much money, but is traveling across the biggest country in the world- he kind of proved my point way better than I could myself :). And elaborated on the topic.
When the other guys asked him what he did for money, he just replied with, “that’s not important. When I need money, I find a way to get it. That’s all.”
So we can’t escape the money game completely, but if we understand that money’s not that important (and that it only exists because of our imagination), we can think of our way of life as a little game. We can follow the general rules, but we don’t have to get trapped in the game. We don’t have to revolve our entire lives around money. We can just get some money and manage it well enough to do what we want in life. That’s all.
Again, check out this book :)
We’re having an online talk about the same topics on Monday at 13:00UTC. I will put a link to the online chat on my Facebook page. Anyone is welcome to join.