FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

We are taught that money is the currency of our lives. Really, everything we learn comes back to earning money so we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones. I’m not omniscient and definitely come from a privileged background, but it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where getting money isn’t the primary goal. Because money buys all the other stuff we need. Our needs are met using money.

Certainly I’m generalizing and there are exceptions to the rules – there always are. And the exceptions are very interesting because they often represent alternative strategies and systems. In the case of money, the system is to have a currency that ‘goes between’ all the other goods and services necessary to life. Imagine if we still bartered for everything.

“I’ll trade you two quilts I knitted for four of your chickens so we can eat.”

Kind of sounds like an ideal life to me, actually. But imagine how difficult it would get with all of the STUFF there is to need and want.

“How many silicon chips is that x-box 360 worth for a trade?”

Once we passed the ‘getting our basic needs met’ stage of human evolution, trading, bartering, and general commerce got so complicated we needed a ‘go between’. Enter money. Cash. Dinero. Moolah.

And so it goes. Money replaced the barter system as a standardized value indicator providing a ‘worth’ for everything of possible trade interest.

And so the obsession with money began.

The point of this episode is not to beat up money or people interested in money. I really just wanted to think about what other forms of currency might also be important in the world. Or to ponder other systems of value that provide meaning to our lives. Or. . . . really, things that money can’t buy.

Money can’t buy love and money can’t buy time.

And I can’t think of more valuable (and limiting) resources than those.

So this begs the question, “Did the acceptance of a system of commerce centered around money necessarily lead us to DEVALUE those resources not measurable or quantifiable using this system?”.

I hope you enjoy the episode and continue to wonder whether or not money is as important as we make it out to be, or whether Time and Love obey an entirely different system altogether.

Original blog post with podcast and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/08/kew-episode-37-currency-of-life/

KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

One of the things I think about most often is how we have to have a job to earn money to buy the time we want to live our lives. It’s like the life we’re born with is secretly conditional upon participating in this loop.

I’m not angry about it anymore, but I used to be. This forced agreement seemed unfair. Not that I didn’t want to work, I just felt violated having my life be conditional upon participation in someone else’s system.

So after I calmed down, I started thinking about how we measure the value in our lives. Which led me to money. We see money as the ultimate indicator of all of the important things. Of all the THINGS in life that can make us happy, we see money as being the most important. But it isn’t just about money. In fact, I was using money to leverage the other things I wanted. Most notably, TIME.

To me, time *should* come before money. It’s part of the universe (or at least we think it is, as we understand what it is). It was here before us. It wasn’t invented by humans. Time asks nothing, is consistent, and fairly equally distributed among species. And when it isn’t equally distributed, awareness of time is enhanced instead of taken for granted. All I can really do with time is try and understand I only have so much of it. Which becomes painfully more and more obvious as I age. . . .

In addition to TIME, I also value LOVE in similar ways. As in, if I had all the time in the world, and no loved ones to share it with, time would have less value. So some measure of love in my life is also important. So it’s also critical to my happiness to have love in my life.

And, sadly, if I had to rank my understanding of, appreciation for, and effort spent in pursuit of, I would have ranked money much higher than time or love for most of my life. It’s only lately that I’ve realized I want to prioritize time and love over money. For the rest of my life (time).

Unfortunately, that deal we make at birth about money doesn’t just go away. We still need a certain amount of money (and therefore lose a certain amount of time) in order to meet our basic human needs. There is a reason we rank money more highly than other things and that’s because it is ESSENTIAL to meeting your basic human needs. There are fewer and fewer ways to meet your basic needs without working and earning money. So life becomes this game of either needing less money or earning more money to hopefully meet your time and love (and other) needs. Personally, I’d rather need less money than lose more time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these currencies, and others that you may value.

Podcast audio link: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7175626-kew-episode-37-currency-of-life.mp3?blob_id=31009066&download=true

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/SuSOjGAVFB0

Preview KEW Episode 37: The Currency of Life

Money is important. You need it to get the other things you need. Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs (food, shelter, safety) you can think about other things in life. People use money to measure their success and their ability to have other important things. Money is like the gateway.

But there are other currencies we use and spend every day. For me, two important currencies are Time and Love. Without Time what good is the money? If you were to die tomorrow, how much could you spend? And how much time would you have traded for that money? See, it takes time to make money and to enjoy your time you need money. It’s weird.

And, really, if you have ‘enough’ money and time (whatever ‘enough’ is), what good is it without other people to share them with? Love is another form of currency, but it obeys a different set of rules. In fact, Money, Time, and Love all play by a different rulebook.

I’ll get pretty deep into this in this week’s Episode. Here’s a preview!