Friday, February 29, 2008

Unfortunately, I don't have the kinds of feelings for you that you have for me. If I did, I'd be a gazillionaire by now--what am I saying? I'm already me!

People think I look like paper bills or coins or even shells, but the truth is, that's just my "skin", if you will. The real me is unseen, much like that invisible soul that all humans possess. Many trust me, by the way. Like Peter Pan and fairies, if men and women stopped believing in me, I would cease to exist. I am merely a medium of exchange, after all.

If I could be sad, I would be sad that so many think that I have power to save them from their unhappy selves. And if I could be mad, I would be mad that men squander their lives in pursuit of me--only to find out that I am but an illusion. If I desired all the kingdoms of the world and to have men serve me, I could easily do it through the lies they already tell themselves about me. To them I represent power, prestige, privilege, pleasure, praise, protection and pride. Without me, the poor are shunned by their friends.

Alas, sometimes I wonder if humans will ever know the real truth about me. Few of them, being wise, do know. But most do not, to their detriment. I cannot and never will be able to give them affection. Neither can I give them true power, for true power comes from above and within them. Nor can I give them happiness, for everything I obtain for them is external. Do they need me to live? Not really. But I think it would be difficult for those who live in modern Western societies to not need me.

Common folk are not allowed to directly create me, or they would be called criminals and forgerers; yet banks and governments create millions of me, often out of thin air. Sometimes all I am is just a splotch of ink on a balance sheet. If you were to ask me where I was located, I would tell you that I lived in the far recesses of your mind.

But no one thinks about this when the economy is good. Only when hedge funds begin to falter and mortgage loans default and inflation rises and the risk becomes too great do men cry out over me. Their desire and corresponding despair have been so great that some have committed suicide. Silly them, crying over a mere concept.

Shhh! Can I tell you a secret? Many people measure their worth by the amount of me that they were able to collect. What they don't know is that they themselves are infinitely more precious than I could ever be. Someday they will find out that they exchanged the truth for a lie. Now that is what I would call a bad bargain. But don't tell them or else they will hate you. What they were taught and what they believe about me is sacred to them. I have seen the temples dedicated to me in the realm of mankind. To them I am a god!

I am not innately evil. However, when humans love me too much it is evil to them. I am not a substitute for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.; you get the idea. I could talk about myself forever, and volumes of books have been written about how to attract me, grow me, grab me, manage me, invest me, save me, talk to me and lose me. But I suspect that most people don't know how to properly handle me, because they are blinded by their own foolishness, greed or pretense. They see me, but they do not really see me.

So next time, please try not to make a big deal about me. Don't obsess over me. Don't resent others who have a lot of me, for they probably got me by doing the same kind of obsessing that you are doing right now and it is killing them. Don't be stingy; use me to help others for good, and not for evil purposes. Remember that I do not have as much power as you think I do. I only go where the current of human decision and will takes me, or I will stagnate and be squandered or wasted away before you know it. I may be beautiful, but I am ephemeral. I make living a little easier but I can't complete your life. And please, if you really don't possess a lot of me, don't pretend that you do. It is very unbecoming. If you use me only to indulge yourself, beware! Some day you will die and then what will happen to me? Archaeologists are still digging me up from stockpiles that the ancient Romans hid in the last days of their empire!

I don't have a heart, so don't fall in love with me, because you'll get yours broken. Then you will think that the answer to that is to collect yet even more of me (or other material things), and you'll only fall further into a trap. Be grateful and content for whatever amount of me you have, for if I could loathe greedy persons, I would. Am I annoying you with my advice yet? Good. Maybe I can spare you some grief. I have caused terrible quarrels and fights to break out between husbands and wives, friends, companies and employees, and among every group of humans you can imagine. I have torn apart the closest, most intimate bonds because two people could not agree over how to handle me.

Do me a favor--enjoy me but don't fight over me; because in the end, it is you who care, not me. It is you who love and hate and laugh and cry, not me. I have a lot more to tell you, so much that you probably couldn't bear it, so I'll leave it at that for now. Once again--I don't love you, get it? I never have and never will. Only you can decide your fate; don't let me do it for you. I rest my case.