The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing; moral or ethical quality; reputation. (Source: Dictionary.com)
The convoluted and traumatic experiences of last year pivoted my perceptions of financial importance, human behavior and global ethics. An abhorrence for money, the people who possessed it, and the evil temptations we succumb to because of it, catapulted me into an intense examination of our existence. Direct experience with poverty, social stigma, and subtle discrimination led to a conscious choice to understand a natural rage. I asked, “What constitutes the worth of a person?”, “How is money equivalent to character?”, “Why do we judge based on financial status?”, “Where did these social standards come from?”, and “What is my part?”
Ben Ferencz, the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive, believes that “war makes murderers out of otherwise decent people” (“60 Minutes”, May 7, 2017). I believe the same about money, in that its lack or abundance has the power to alter competent and capable individuals into beings of deceit, ill-will or extreme fallibility. A notable quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 19th century Russian novelist, essayist, and philosopher is pointed:
The world says: “You have needs – satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” (The Brothers Karazmov)
I don’t know the answers, but have resolved to make peace with the at times tense coexistence of money and its effects on our ideals, our worth, and our hopes and dreams. I’ve learned that flowing is easier than fighting and that sometimes, a kind ear may turn and listen to our seemingly fateful stories. Lastly, I sincerely pray that we learn to recognize and practice healthier, fundamentally humane ways to characterize our own value. Intrinsic wealth is beyond class and is worth its weight in gold. The concept of radical kindness (to ourselves and others) will be the clarion principal of civilization’s ultimate prosperity.
By Kim Bragado for The Authentic Thinker