Does money dominate our lives?

16 2 2019 - Pas de Commentaire, soyez le premier

Does money dominate our lives?


For the past few days, I have only met people who talk about money. It is the only prism of their existence, their only motivation, their only value. I sometimes find myself confused by this emptiness and especially by the certainty that no one can think any other way than that. All human actions are judged according to their own monolithic identification grid, money. A gratuitous act, willingness to help others or to share, seems totally foreign to them.  And it's dubious even, it hides a desire to make money, it's forced, there's something. Even the most innocuous acts are a source of mistrust. Helping an elderly person carry their heavy bags (I have to reassure them that I won't run away with their shopping), holding the door to let someone in, etc.

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People are defensive, suspicious, the values I obtained, through my very traditional education, no longer apply. They are perceived as a deception (will I abuse the helpless elderly person? if I hold the door it is because I want to hit on the girl, etc.). I obtained values that are no longer valid, helping others was a real reward in itself. Where is a chivalrous spirit, honour, dignity?

I had already encountered this kind of misunderstanding when, for example, I left my job as an IT trainer at Renault's head office. (I was able to personally train all the senior managers at that time, from Louis Schweitzer to Carlos Goshn then number 2, I was their personal trainer, I went straight into their office while the deputy directors had to wait in the waiting room (a way of reaffirming the hierarchy, which earned me an "aura" at head office (ridiculous)), in short a golden, protected, very lucrative position.

This did not prevent me from resigning, to earn half as much as I would as a history teacher. I was preparing for a competitive examination as an independent candidate after my working days at the head office. But there were still people in my entourage who could understand that it was better to have a job where I could consider myself useful to society rather than a well-paid job without social interest. That was 15 years ago.

Money as the only source of fulfilment

Today, when I look around me, I no longer see many people trying to be happy, filling their lives with an interesting activity, a passion even if it is not especially lucrative. I receive emails that tell me, but why don't you trade more, why don't you just do that? Because money is not a goal, freedom is and you can be very free with little money. I would rather spend a day reading books, floating in the pool than trading, just to tell myself ‘super I earned €1,000’, but I didn't do anything with my day just earned money that will accumulate in an account. Even more, even more, why? A new car? Sad!

I have tried to understand why society evolved in this way? Why did it become more cynical, harder and totally turned towards the golden calf? And finally why is money the only purpose of an existence that will end in a wooden box?

Why does money become the centre of society?

I think it's a combination of several factors. The economic crisis caused fear in the middle classes by creating economic and psychological precariousness. Their jobs are "lucky", a precious asset that must be defended, preserved even if it means pushing their colleagues down so as not to be the first to leave in the redundancy stakes. To take advantage of this luck (?), to keep their jobs, employees accepted everything, increasing the pace, the pressure, unpaid overtime, downgrading, etc. As a result, nowadays, the company is no longer a place of work, but of competition, pressure, woe to those who fall apart, who do not achieve their objective, who look tired.

People sometimes even end up identifying with their jobs, which causes disasters when they possibly lose them. Apart from a fixed income, it is, quite bluntly, their identity that they lose. The last month I worked at Renault, I talked to a colleague who was retiring. I felt badly for him, very badly, he seemed anxious despite his smiles and classic puns at the party organized for his departure. He confided in me, I tried to reassure him, 3 weeks later he killed himself. He had no project, no identity other than his work.

Money makes you happy

The image that the media gives us: to be happy, you have to consume. We're much happier in a Porsche than in a Laguna. This is an obvious fact that does not suffer from any possible dispute, otherwise our society would collapse. To consume, you need money, to have money, you need a job, to have a job you have to swallow a few bitter pills.  This makes people more aggressive, because at work they have to take it themselves, but outside, they can be aggressive with someone who hesitates between turning left or right in a car.

This internal violence is so controlled by the company that when an executive is dismissed, they can commit suicide. They feel guilty, if they are fired it's because they are losers. Although you'd expect them to take a pump action shotgun and make a big hole in the human relations manager. Not even that, they turn the violence onto themselves and kill themselves. This shows us the guilt-ridden power of the company. But it also shows us that for many people, their identity is linked to their work. They are no longer Mr. Jones, but a professor, a doctor or an engineer.

A narcissistic society

Society is much more narcissistic. "I" becomes the centre of discussions, "We" tends to disappear. Individualization is progressing everywhere, even within couples. Even though that is the smallest possible unit of two beings. Everyone can claim individual happiness within a couple, presented as normal and fulfilling. Even if the couple may suffer as a result. I want to, I do, my partner is no longer something special, I dump him/her. Dating sites are its quintessence. They are supermarkets for dating. We consume, but we don't get very attached, because there is always the possibility of finding something better.  There will always be someone richer, more handsome, more intelligent, more muscular. The pool is constantly being renewed like cars and televisions. A frenzy of consumption that even affects relationships between human beings.

Individualism has progressed tremendously. The idea that others are not potential friends, but potential dangers is becoming more and more pronounced. In my opinion, this individualism is explained by this competitive society. Woe to the defeated, I will kill to keep my job, my salary, my money, my consumption. Because in the end it is my identity in a commercial society. We then have the bling-bling effect. The important thing in life is money that allows you to buy consumer goods and that makes you want to buy them. They can then enjoy consumer superiority by praising their car, their latest computer. Their value is then in their social recognition and the jealousy of a neighbour or a colleague. I make a lot of sacrifices to pay for my luxury car in leasing. The least I expect is jealousy from my neighbour. If not, what is the point of working overtime?

All this to get to what? Towards a great void, to only exist in the eyes of others, and to dream of a Rolex at 50 years old. People scare me....

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