I’ve had an immense epiphany recently. It really involves something that I’ve had strong feelings about my entire life, and now finally, I realize I was probably wrong about these feelings all along.
It concerns wealth. Truth is, I’ve never cared about money. All my life, money has been nothing but numbers to me. Once upon a time, society decided that small circular pieces of metal and strips of cotton can be exchanged for virtually anything, big or small. Money has always seemed ridiculous to me, but it works, and it’s the best option we’ve got to make economies function, so I accepted it. After growing up, money became even more trivial to me. When I check my bank account, it’s just numbers on a screen. Everybody works nearly every day to make some numbers on a screen become higher numbers… Okay then.
Beats acquiring things through conquest, I guess. Oh wait… We still do that.
If we counted tree branches instead of dollars, that would seem less ridiculous to me because at least branches are physical objects that you can actually do things with…
In addition to my lifetime apathy towards money, I also, for the most part, always had a disdain toward people who had obscene amounts of it. I always liked Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, because they seemed like good guys, but in general, I’ve hated rich people for most of my life.
In addition to that, I always wondered what the hell I would even do if I had billions of dollars. I still wonder that. There’s only so much you can do with money. I’m sure the biggest house in the world wouldn’t cost over a billion, and even if you bought a house worth that much, what the hell would you do with all that space? I always felt that if I were rich, I’d get bored with life very quickly.
And in addition to that, being rich would make me constantly question my personal relationships. I’d wonder if people were in my life simply because of my money. Or, if I were very generous to the people in my life with my money, especially my kids, then that would probably just turn them all into spoiled assholes. Think of the Hilton family.
In summation, I never cared to be rich, for a variety of reasons. And that’s still the case to this very day. It probably won’t ever change. However … (and this is where my recent epiphany comes in), I’ve finally come to accept two things: 1), I am capable of acquiring wealth, and 2), I think I should try to.
All my life, people have told me, and I have noticed for myself, that I have an array of natural skills. Mostly, they all center around being intelligent. Now for you insecure idiots out there thinking I’m just being arrogant when I say that, my retort is: No, I am not being arrogant. This is something I’ve never wanted. All my life when I have told people about tests I passed without studying, or things in day-to-day life that I solved quickly, etc. They always responded with shrugged shoulders, followed by something like, “That doesn’t surprise me.” My point is, people have always expected me to achieve above-average feats. Sometimes I felt like a calculator that solved a large multiplication problem, was proud of it, but then people react saying, “Duh, you’re a calculator.”
But in addition to people always expecting me to just be great at everything, there was the fact that I had no desire to be. I’ve written an article already about how intelligence is not a superpower; it’s a curse. Everything has always felt so trivial to me. I don’t care that I can figure things out quickly. I don’t care that I can do impressive things when I put my mind to it. Why should I care? We all die in the end anyway. Even if I achieved something colossal, like resurrecting dinosaurs at the age of 12 with nothing but a high school chemistry set, I still wouldn’t care. Besides, once you do one thing great, people expect you to do another great thing. It’s never enough.
Speaking of never enough…
Yet another reason I’ve never cared for money is that, well, you literally can never have enough. I don’t just mean that in a gluttonous, greedy sort of way. I mean with real-life applications, you never have enough. For example, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, from 2017, caused literally hundreds of billions of dollars of damage in multiple countries. I don’t know the exact estimate, but I think it (at minimum) amounted to something like $200 billion. Nobody on Earth has that much money, and even if they did, they’d go broke if they spent it all repairing the damage caused by these natural disasters. And even if they didn’t go broke after spending that much money, there are still other things people need funding for, such as recovering from the next hurricane season (and the one after that), and fighting diseases, and fighting poverty, and fighting corruption in world governments, and countering global warming, and space exploration, and etc., etc. On top of everything I listed before, there is also the fact that no person can never have enough money.
So, why even try? Is there a reason to? Until recently, I would have answered, “No, not really. Make a comfortable living, but there’s no reason to have a lot of money.” And I would have been wrong.
I’ll never believe that money solves the world’s problems, and I especially will never believe it can buy happiness, but only a fool denies that money helps. Just because you can’t fix every problem doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to fix some. Most of the time, to fix any problem, you need the resources to do so, and you get resources from money.
Six years ago, when I risked nearly everything I had to help friends of mine get free of heroin addiction (read my book Atheist Miracles if you want to know that story), there was something I constantly had to say to one of them. This person had a good heart, and most of her friends were also in need of sobriety, or just food to get through the day. She always tried to help them, but never could. So, I had to keep telling her, “You can’t give something you don’t have.” As a random hypothetical, I would say, “In order to give someon five dollars, you first need to have five dollars yourself.”
It’s advice that I should have listened to myself. I was the one giving the advice, and even I didn’t fully grasp it.
I want to help the world. I don’t want there to be violence, death, poverty, or pain in the world. For half my childhood, and all of my adult life thus far, the idea of fixing the world’s problems seemed so far out of reach that it may as well not even be attempted. Still, I tried to do my part through, well, what I’m doing now: Writing. I’m a thinker. I have a lot of thoughts to share. I can only hope the things I share will be helpful to someone out there. And the great thing about writing is that it outlives us all. My words will still be here even after I’m gone. Will anyone care to keep reading them then? Doesn’t seem like it, but I’ve tried anyway.
It’s time I started doing more. I know I’m capable of much more. A person can only go so long ignoring their full potential. Yes, basically what I’m saying is: From now on, I’m going to make it a priority to earn as much money as I can. The more I have, the more I can accomplish, and give back. Words alone, whether it’s through books or a blog, can only have so much impact. It isn’t purely about money, either. Some important things come with it, such as greater recognition. It’s unfortunate about human nature, but most people only give a damn about what you say or do if you have money.
My feelings about money haven’t changed. I still don’t care for it, deep down. I still don’t know what I’d do with it if I ever have a lot of it. I will still worry about the authenticity of my relationships (not my wife or child, obviously, since they’re already in my life). I will still think money is just a bunch of numbers on a screen. That may be an inhibitor down the road… Only time will tell. Still, I’m going to try.
“Try” is the keyword. I’m not 100% convinced I’ll succeed.
What will I do to make this happen? Perhaps down the road, if I am successful, you will see. I have already begun on my years-long plan to make this change occur. As for you guys, my audience, there won’t be any change that you notice. At least, for the time being. I will still blog, I will still write books. Same old, same old, for now.