Coming to Our Senses So We Can Live a Wealthy Life

Coming to our senses must, above all, be the experience of our own existence as living organisms rather than “personalities,” like characters in a play or a novel acting out some artificial plot in which the persons are simply masks for a conflict of abstract ideas or principles. Man as an organism is to the world outside like a whirlpool is to a river: man and world are a single natural process, but we are behaving as if we were invaders and plunderers in a foreign territory. For when the individual is defined and felt as the separate personality or ego, he remains unaware that his actual body is a dancing pattern of energy that simply does not happen by itself. It happens only in concert with myriads of other patterns — called animals, plants, insects, bacteria, minerals, liquids, and gases. The definition of a person and the normal feeling of “I” do not effectively include these relationships. You say, “I came into this world.” You didn’t; you came out of it, as a branch from a tree.

– Alan Watts

I came across the above excerpt on Brain Pickings. It’s from Alan Watts’s book,  Does It Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality where he talks a lot about what he believes wealth is.

Wealth and Money

As the world population continues to rise, global warming becomes less and less of a solvable problem, and the disparity between rich and poor salaries grows larger, the way we’ve defined wealth in relation to money seems to be a common element in all of these issues.

When we talk about universal healthcare, people opposed feel that way because it’s shown as a tax on them. In other words, they see the money they earned going to someone else.

When we talk about taking measures to fix the environment, we’re shown how much money it will cost. But what about the potential loss we face that can’t be monetarily defined?

So, what is wealth to you?

It would seem that creating a wealthy society would be one where the negatives (global warming, crime, murder, fewer homeless, etc.) were actively reduced to as low as they possibly could be, and the positives (a surplus of clean energy, amazing education for everyone, affordable health care, etc.) were increased.

Because if we’re all starting out experiencing the same level of a positive life, our focus would be taken away from the ego (“How can make the best life want”) and turned on how we can best treat our society as the living organism it is.

Can we really get rid of money? I don’t know, and I’m not sure that we need to.

Can we stop equating money with our image of wealth so that is no longer a goal?

Well, that’s where I’ll leave it with you.

In the comments, please share your thoughts on what wealth means for you and what our ideal goal as a society should be.

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Founder at LeafOut
LeafOut is an iPhone app that helps you easily track your experiences, fill your days with more gratitude, and look back on your life -- even if you rarely have the time to sit down and write about it.

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