Discovering inner health and transformation
Morocco is a country where a lot of people live on the bread line. It is common for a picture of the king and his wife to be hung in people’s homes and from some outsider’s viewpoint it would appear that the royal family is often idolized. Yet, we cannot help noticing the way the rulers of this and some other Arab states like Qatar and Kuwait — not to mention Saudi Arabia — have been amassing money for themselves. Mohammed VI of Morocco has been said to amass a fortune of $2.5 bn from the phosphates found in the Western Sahara which account for half of world reserves. Other rulers have based their wealth on oil. Are such rich people happy and contented with the opulence they can afford?
Do we feel indignation or perhaps a secret envy towards them? What attitude should we take to money?
Dreaming of money
When one is hard up, buying a lottery ticket and thus dreaming of untold wealth has its attractions, even if in one’s heart of hearts one knows there is virtually no chance of winning. A bit of harmless fun. Or is having a pleasing fantasy any different from coming out all guns blazing to make money and lots of it?
It is widely thought that the current economic recession in the United Kingdom — at least in part — has been brought on by reckless bankers still enjoying bumper bonuses. It may be just ‘childish foot-stamping’ but these say they want to move abroad because of the 50% top rate of tax they are paying. Money seems to be a more powerful lure for them than the attraction of living near family and friends and one’s own community let alone the notion of banking integrity. Perhaps this is why they were attracted to working in the financial industry in the first place.
One could ask provided one earns enough money for one’s basic needs, why should it bother one if another person happens to be earning more?
Money and social status
I, for one, feel uncomfortable where the private affluence of the few is flaunted in the publicly seen poverty of the many. Can this not be seen in the ostentation of the ‘nouveau riche’ compared with poorer housing, medical and educational facilities available in the public services?
On the other hand, arguably unless they had a profit motif where would our entrepreneurs come from; where would our start-up businesses develop? Just how money orientated can one be without it amounting to grasping opportunism? For how many of us is the amount of wealth we have of more significance than the use to which it could be put or by what means it was acquired in the first place?
Love of money
You do tend to get a lack of human warmth where people are too busy making money to make themselves agreeable. How could such people accept the notion of heaven which is one of sharing and doing things for the sake of others? This could never be comprehended by those who love themselves more than others and who are greedy for gain.
Swedenborg describes a group of people who had died. They had expected the happiness of the heavenly paradise to consist of magnificence, splendour and boundless wealth. They were allowed to experience exactly what they had imagined heaven to be like until they were sick of it and begged to leave!
How much better if people were prepared to be untroubled by any lack of possessions. The tradition of those from isolated rural areas can be to restore their energies by spending time living simply without expensive modern conveniences close to nature and far from the maddening crowd.
Often people say that it is a fallacy that the way to happiness is the acquisition of more and more money. Money itself may be a good thing, but no wonder we remember that the love of money is said to be the root of all evil.
Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems