Now look at them yo-yos; that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’; that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free
Now that aint workin’; that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb
We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these color TVs
Nobody gets to be a Rock Star, except for Rock Stars—arguably a human creation that will never be equalled in terms of audacity.
…Having recently created the “Money & Finance” category in pursuit of expanding the blog from a narrow focus on health, diet and fitness to one of the wide scope-accounting of the human animal condition in all relevant areas, this serves as an initial entry.
I’ll be blogging more about money. What is it, really!? How do you use it and healthfully think about it? For now, though, money is not really a value, per se—or at least, absolutely. To prove that to yourself, imagine being on a desert island with a million in cash sitting right there. You can’t eat it, drink it, have sex with it (well….), talk to it, or play with it (you know what I mean). You already know this (“can’t take it with you” being the bromide of choice). Now, for you Gold Standard folks, switch it out with a heavy metal; after explaining why it didn’t sink in the shipwreck, tell me there’s any difference in your survival predicament. By contrast, you don’t seem to have Grocked the similar underlying principles.
The last half of that paragraph is the prime reason I’ve never been wholly in league with libertarians who conflate an abstraction (what money is) with the force-backed state (that will fuck you in spite of “sound money”). I don’t think any of them understand money very well in a social context, even up to and including some economists—which is perhaps why they were economists and not entrepreneurs, but I digress. Perhaps it’s just me. But, we’ll see, over the course of time as I post more about it (and, especially, how debt is money—the most valuable money—and how only humans can do it).
We’re social animals. Given. What is money, then? Well, I just gave you a clue…
Money is merely a social abstraction whereby, everyone in the social sphere agrees upon it (money) as a medium of exchange (everyone accepts it in trade). Could be anything. Chimpanzees use fruit, last I heard (takes work to get: rule #1). They trade it for sex with females and I’m sure, to keep some young males at bay from challenging alpha status—for a while. So, in the chimpanzee world, they know what money is, and they don’t know, but would judge your paper and gold—or diamonds and platinum—to be worthless to them. Why? Because that doesn’t buy them anything. …But, way more importantly, what is it that they seek to buy; what values do they seek to gain and/or keep?
Social values. For a simple chimpanzee existence in the forest: status and sex. …How wildly things have changed in the last 4 million years…
Actually… They. Have. Changed. The trappings have; not so much in terms of essentials, which might give a human animal a bit of pause.
Erect a concrete jungle around that chimp, put him in a suit, give him a means of transportation, a cubicle, phone…and all with a computer and Internet connection—and while you’re at it, train him to go through the motions to trade everything he hates for a measure of what he really loves. Because, that’s what you’ll have to do to get him to do it (give him fruit—chimp money). …And then you’ll begin to understand how easily modern humans trade away huge portions of what they love for a hand-hold on the modern social, collectivist, authoritarian, top-down, hierarchical “lifeboat” that they’re just lazy enough to hate, but love just a little more.
The chimp in the forrest trades for what he can have now. Teenagers trade in a proto-human way that mirrors chips more than adult humans—at least in my world of discovery. They trade for status, sex, pleasure, excitement, suspense, surprise, discovery, etc. Then they get married, have a coupla kids, and they trade for increased status based on experience and maturity, along with a measure of security to keep doing what they’re dong (trading for status quo). Then they retire and it’s a combination of cashing in and trading for absolute guaranteed security—“I’m done with this life struggle gig,” ….except for recouping just a bit of what I really love, that I traded all away for days upon weeks upon months upon years and decades of what I hated—so I could get a few years of what I really love, in the end.
I have no idea whether it’s the Victorian era, the American Dream (is it killing you?), or religion. I wish to tell you that this life may be the only shot you have. …That you’ll never be a Victorian, likely won’t realize the American dream; and chances are, gold-paved streets in your name and a mansion in heaven is probably most likely a fantasy someone taught you, to give you comfort and a sense of certainty—chimps only have status and sex—so out in the cold and hard by human standards. So are you really, really working for status & sex, or are you working for a mansion with a gold-paved street in your name? Here. And. Now. What is it that YOU’re really working for?
What is it that YOU, want? Out. Of. Your. Life?
I got an email.
When I was a kid, my dad made a weekly paycheck (daily pay was the norm before that). When I started working, a few places offered weekly pay, but most were moving to twice-a-month, or every two weeks. Today, as my oldest daughters are starting to work part-time jobs, I’ve noticed that even fast-food joints are doing automatic deposit on a bi-monthly or even monthly basis.
The idea has occurred to me that while pay periods have become stretched and automated over time for cost-savings reasons…it may also be having an affect on the “wage-slave” mentality.
At a time when you did a day’s labor for a day’s pay, you knew you were selling yourself and your time. When you got a physical paycheck, you got the same message, the same reminder, although a bit less frequently. You could tear into it see your wage multiplied by hours and see what you were selling yourself for.
These days, even the stubs are emailed and the workforce is moving toward salary. There is no time-equation. Is the expectation that we are always on the clock? Are we forgetting to plan and intentionally build a successful and happy private life? Is it a huge no-no to try to earn money on the side by starting your own web business?
I have an automatic, visceral, negative reaction to the term “wage slave.”
But then I chewed on it and understood. It’s not slave to the man, but to the wage. Ah-ha! And so we come full circle.
It’s a love/hate thing.
I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin’ in the camera
Man, we could have some fun
And he’s up there, whats that? hawaiian noises?
Bangin’ on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
That aint workin’; thats the way you do it
Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free
In the end, you read my blog because you’re smart and you care. I…we, all,…trade daily a whole lot of what we hate for a small measure of what we love. The essential message? What we love is all sorts of fucking awesome and it’s a shame that we do it that way. That we are willing to endure so much of our lives doing what we hate—convincing ourselves in myriad ways how and why we “love it”—only for slivers of time in the warmth in the love, is more a lesson about how much humans love their fundamental nature.
You don’t want to upset your apple cart anymore than I do, because what you love is so very important. So take measurable, incremental steps, as I am, to gradually trade less and less of what you hate, for more and more of what you love.
Love isn’t all you need, but I’d rather try to eat that than cash or gold.