THERE is no idea that seems so much misunderstood as this idea of “Money.” On the one hand we find many people engaged in a mad chase after “money for moneys sake,” and on the other hand, many others who are decrying money as the root of all evil, and severely criticizing the tendency of the age to seek money actively. Both of these classes of people are wrong—they are occupying the opposite sides of the road of reason, whereas truth is found here, as always, “in the middle of the road.”
The man who seeks money at a thing of value in itself—the man who worships money at a very god— such a man is a fool, for he is mistaking the symbol for the reality. And, likewise, the man who decries the pursuit and desire for money as a foul, evil thing—he who would make of money a devil—this man is likewise a fool. The wise man is he who sees money as a symbol of something else behind, and who is not deluded by mistaking the shadow for the substance, either for good or evil. The wise man makes neither a god nor a devil of money—he sees it as a symbol of almost everything that man may obtain from the outside world, and he respects it as such. He sees, while it is true that avarice and greed are detestable and hurtful qualities of mind, still the lack of the proper desire for, and striving after money, makes of man a creature devoid of all that makes life worth the living.
When the sane man desires money, he really desires the many things that money will purchase. Money is the symbol of nearly everything that is necessary for man’s wellbeing and happiness. With it he opens the door to all sorts of opportunities, and without it he can accomplish practically nothing, Money is the tool with which man may carve many beautiful things, and without the aid of which he is helpless. Money is but the concentrated essence of things desired, created and established by society in its present stage of development. There have been times in which there was no money—there may be times coming in which the race will have passed beyond the need of money as the symbol of exchange and possession—but, be this as it may, the fact remains that now, right here in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, there in nothing that is so necessary for man’s well-being and content as this much-abused money.
Remember this, first, last and all the tune, that when I say, “man needs money,” I mean that he needs the many things that money will purchase for him. And for one to decry the desire for money is for him to decry the desire for nearly all the good and desirable things of life. As a recent writer has said: “Unless a man acquires money, then shall he not eat; nor be clothed; nor have shelter; nor books; nor music; nor anything else that makes life worth living for one who thinks and feels.”
The people who decry the desire for money are generally those who have found themselves lacking in the qualities that tend to attract money; or else those who are in possession of money that has been inherited, or is otherwise acquired without the labor, excitement or satisfaction of having been made by themselves. With the first mentioned class it is a case of “sour grapes”; with the second it is financial dyspepsia, which has left the victim devoid of a normal appetite.
In spite of the loud cries and protests of our long-haired brothers and short-haired sisters—so-called “reformers”—money is still necessary in order that man may have the necessities of life, as well as a few luxuries. We cannot live on beautiful theories, but must have bread and batter, and potatoes, and sometimes a piece of cake or pie— and it takes money to get them. Money means freedom, independence, liberty, and the ability to do great good, as well as great evil. It means the opportunity to carry out great plant and to fulfill great ideals. It means the filling in of those mental pictures that we have sketched out in our minds. It means the chance of materializing those airy “Castles in Spain” that we have dwelt upon in moments of hopeful ecstasy. Ah, yes, money is the wizard, able and willing to work wonders. It is, indeed, the genie who can and will do its master’s bidding.
I hold that in the present stage of evolution of man, money is to mankind what air, water, sunshine and mother-earth are to the plant—it is nourishment. And, as in the plant, the desire for nourishment is a natural and worthy instinct, so is the desire for this financial nourishment in man a perfectly natural and worthy instinct—it is the working of the same natural law. And, mark you this, that as the desire of the plant is a natural indication of the existence of the nourishment-need, so is this desire in the breast of man a certain indication of the possibility of its satisfaction and attainment, if natural laws are but followed. Nature is no mocker—it causes no desire to spring up in a living thing, unless it also endows that living thing with the faculties and powers to attain that which it craves. A realization of this great natural law will do many of my readers much good just now.
But note this, also, nature does not encourage the hoarding up of anything for the mere sake of acquisition. It punishes this error severely. The Law of Use underlies all of nature’s instinctive cravings. It desires that the living thing shall draw to itself the nourishment and material it needs, in order to use it. And this desire for money on the part of man is governed by this same law—the Law of Use. Nature wishes you to desire money—to attract it to you—to possess and acquire it—and lastly, and most important of all, to use it. By using money, and keeping it working and in action, you will fall in line with the workings of this great Law of Use. By falling in with this Law, you work in harmony with the great natural forces and purposes. You bring yourself into harmony with the Cosmic Plan, instead of opposing it, and when man so brings himself into harmony with the natural forces around him, he reduces friction and receives the reward that comes to all living things that work with, instead of against, the LAW.
So, friends, in closing this chapter, I would say to you: Be not afraid, but assert the desirability of the possession and use of money: recognize that it is your natural right to possess it, just as it is the natural right of the plant to sunshine, light and air. And do more than this—it belongs to you—demand it of the LAW, just as does the plant.
Cease all this talk of the beauty of poverty, and the joy of the humble—you know that in the bottom of your heart you do not mean a word of it You know that you are just saying these things because you are afraid that you cannot have that which you want. Throw off this mask of hypocrisy, and self-deception, and stand out in the open like a man, throwing your head up and looking the world in the face, saying, “Yes, I do desire Money; I want it and I want it earnestly, and through the LAW I demand it as my rightful inheritance—and I’m going to get it, beginning right now!”
Throw off the shackles of the slave, and assert your freedom. Assert your own mastery of that which is your own. Don’t be afraid to assert what you want, and to see it clearly ahead of you—then march straight onward to the mark, without turning to the right, or to the left, without fear or favor, without flinching or fouling—straight to the mark which is called Financial Success! For in that goal, alone, may you find that for which you seek—that which your heart desires.
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