Money was a great invention. With it, we found a way to get people to do things for us, or give things to us, without resorting to abject slavery or direct force. In this way, for thousands of years, money has been helping contribute to a more stable society.
But along the way money has also given rise to a pervasive, indirect slavery. Most of us are so hooked on the stuff now, that we spend our day doing things we otherwise wouldn’t, or would do far less of, or do far differently, if not for the money.
This preoccupation with money by billions of people has led to some wondrous achievements for sure. But it’s also had downsides that we can no longer ignore.
One is that we are very successfully and very rapidly sacrificing our planet and its fragile ecology to a worth-less phantasm called the economy.
Seeing as how this biosphere is our life support system, not to mention our progenitor, turning it into money is probably a really stupid thing to do.
Another problem is that while so many are busy growing the economy, few are as busy growing themselves. So almost no one in today’s society comes close to full self-actualization, even while drowning in material abundance.
Our relationship to money needs to change. And one way to begin is by changing our understanding of money. Which is why I’d like to tell you, finally, what money really is.
Money is a neurotransmitter.
This is why, with enough money, you can get almost anyone to do almost anything.
You just have to squirt enough of it at them.
If money is a neurotransmitter, what does that make you?
A neuron in a global brain.
Consider your mind. Notice how it seems to emerge from your brain. Your brain in turn is a network of many simple neurons. Your neurons are cells made of communities of organelles, which are made of many small molecules, which are made of even smaller atoms, and so on. You get the picture: it’s a clear pattern of higher order phenomena emerging from groups of simpler things.
Drilling downward from our minds toward ever simpler things is comfortable enough. But what if instead we went one level upward in the stack? From this level we could see how together we form a larger network. All our communications, transmissions of sound and symbol, body language, electromagnetic fields and more being synapses in this global brain.
At this point you may be thinking, “I don’t want to be some sort of automaton controlled by a secretion. I want my life to amount to more than that.”
Well you’re in luck. Money is quickly evolving and so are we.
In our own localized brains we can identify upwards of 100 different neurotransmitters. During our evolution they have increasingly differentiated, thereby facilitating greater intelligence and more robust experiences of mind.
In similar fashion money has evolved from shells, to ingots of gold, to official coinage regulated by a geopolitical state, to the current emergence of cryptocurrencies.
Soon, instead of a few hundred currencies tied to slow-to-rise, slow-to-fall, slow-to-change nation states, we will have thousands of digital currencies — a massive diversification and specialization of global neurotransmitters — enabling unprecedented patterns of organization and activity in the global brain.
As for our own evolution, because we humans possess much more complexity than the individual neurons of our own brain, we have the opportunity to reconfigure our neural network and other connected systems into significantly more efficient and robust configurations such that we experience higher levels of consciousness.
The higher our level of consciousness the less affected we are by money.
As consciousness rises, forces other than money come to lead one’s commitments and life direction. Money becomes a dispassionate afterthought, a merely practical consideration, like electricity.
If you’ve ever said no to money for the sake of love, meaning, purpose, or growth, then you’ve already tasted this. Keep going. The rabbit hole runs deep and opens out onto one of the biggest trips of all: moving through a world mad for money while caring for and being influenced by it very little, or not at all.
And if you go far enough, then you will eventually come to experience something more powerful than having a billion dollars — becoming the kind of person whom a billion dollars cannot distract or dissuade.
At that level it’s like being Neo in the Matrix: you can see through something that others think is solid. It’s living, as Thoreau said, with the license of a higher ordering of beings.
How to get started?
It’ll look different in each person’s life, but my general advice is to take whatever money you do control and direct it toward the elevation of consciousness. Put in more actionable terms, divert your money away from the societal hamster-wheel of wants toward meeting your legitimate needs.
By needs I mean the raw materials out of which the psyche constructs itself: love and friendship and challenge and confidence and so on. Sometimes I call these essential experiences. Like maybe you need to quit your job, or start a business, or visit your mother, or move somewhere. Your higher self will know best.
The other most overlooked need in our culture is for healing. And by this I mean undoing some of the psycho-spiritual damage you’ve incurred getting this far. Because if you have gotten this far, you can bet you’ve been damaged. Everyone, in the course of surviving, picks up dozens of self-limiting traumas and buckets of mind-poisoning shame along the way.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of technologies and techniques out there and thousands of healers and guides waiting to help repair us.
With each real need met, with each wound healed, our consciousness rises. As it does, we crawl further away from the control of primitive neurotransmitters like money into increasingly right relationship with each other and the Earth. We confer new intelligence, coherence, and harmony in the mind that together we co-create.
There is really nothing else to do.