„Money is the thing, to make somebody do what you want him to do, without striking him dead or rob him, without hurting him. Money is magic.“
A sentence that I have heard in a 3Sat documentary called: „ Der Schein trügt“ by Claus Strigl, and that I couldn´t forget about anymore. And a sentence that made me think a lot. Am I doing things that someone else wants me to do just for money? Unfortunately, yes sometimes. And are we just all slaves, who like hardworking bees and decoyed by money are creating more and more wealth for the „kings“?
Fundamentally money isn´t a bad thing, because at the end of the day it is only a medium of exchange and where so many people live together, there has to a sort of „system“. But the human doesn´t seem to know where the limit is and instead of dialing it down a bit and sharing things fairly, we always strive for more, higher, faster – without consideration of weaker ones, animals and nature. And some people then get rich on the expenses of others and create an imbalance in the world. And the rest of us is just taking part. Because we also want to have a nicer house, a bigger car and a cooler outfit than our neighbour.
Money makes us compete against each other without noticing that many things that we are trying to achieve and that we consider to be right and appropriate, come through the influence of our education and the media. We are being taught to be lone fighters.
Let me tell you a small anecdote out of this documentary:
Indigenous people from a place in Africa had lived the same way for thousands of years. The doors to their houses were always open and people cooked in front of their houses and one would share things with the others. Then there was the moment when suddenly someone brought money into the village and from then on life changed completely. People wouldn´t cook anymore in front of their houses, and you wouldn´t even know anymore what the other one was cooking, as everyone locked their doors now, in order to keep the money safe inside the house.
So money opens doors for us but at the same time it closes others.
According to our society rules the person with more money has also achieved more, has made it to the top and earns more money. But I am really questioning if f.e. a banker works harder, has achieved more in life and really deserves to get more than f.e. a nurse does.
I also found it really interesting to hear that many terms from finance originate from the bible. Sale – from sale of indulgences, Credit from credere- the credence, faith, etc…and according to this documentary money only works because we all believe in it – just like it is with religion. It would be nice, if instead of greed, the faith in a good and fair world would have priority.
To me it is astonishing, that with all our abilities and developments we still haven´t realised the most important things in life. Or maybe we realise them, but most of the time we do not live our life according to them. No matter how much somebody accumulates, nothing can be taken with you after life. And the most important things in life cannot be bought with money anyway „ With money you can buy everything, except meaning. Meaning arises out of relationships. You can buy dependences but no relationships. ( quotation: „Der Schein trügt“)
So you can consider money as a means to an end, or you can let it enslave you, or keep others under and always try to possess more than your neighbour that you have never seen anyway. But at what price?
And how much of our morals do we throw overboard in our daily lives because of money?
Maybe we buy cheap meat, even if we know the animals suffer. Maybe we buy cheap clothes and always something new, even if we know that it is being produced by child labour. Maybe we work for a company that just gets rich at the expenses of others or nature. And we are trying to reassure„ If I don´t do it, someone else will do.“
So how much are we prepared to do for money?
„Money is the thing, to make somebody do what you want him to do…“ Maybe we should all question more, what it is that someone else wants to convince us to do…
Text and Thoughts by Sigrun Guggenberger
Illustration by Meng-Chia Lai