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Reflections from a Farm Part 3: What is Money for?

By bengy | Idle Musings | 28 Jan 2023

Reflections from a Farm: What is Money for?.jpg


Ahhhh.. this is really the life, being a guest on a farm! As I had mentioned before, I think the rural/farm life is just too much hard work and stress for me... so, I guess that is why I don't do it! But it is a real pleasure to drop by to visit, explore, and help out where my incredibly limited skills might be of some use!

The long peaceful evenings after the crazies (the kids...) have gone to sleep leave us with lots of time to just think and reflect.... and stare out at the lovely sky and endless horizon. This last reflection from a farm is just about money... those weird numbers that we chase and want, but at some point stop really needing... but we seem to get addicted to the chase. Of course, there are many interests in a commercial and consumer world that depend on us continually desiring new things and thus being kept on a endless wheel of chasing things that aren't that important to us... and I guess that in these societies, this is what we have been brought up and trained with.

I have heard different ideas of what money is... but the most interesting and resonant one that I have come to land on is the idea that it is a "claim" on another person's time. Of course, different people have different "prices" for that time, depending on their skills and the actual person... and some people have made it an art to remove the skills component of that equation! Think influencers and CEOs... all of those sorts of "jobs" that add very little, but extract quite a lot.... and then they are fundamentally the ones that help drive the endless cycle of chasing after numbers...

... and many of us have been conditioned to link the numbers to a sort of "success" or link it to some sort of validation for what we do, or what we are. In some part it is, but again, at some point there is a loss of that link and things go really askew.

So... what to do? I guess there is the question of what do we want? Because, that is going to determine how much we need. I'm starting to suspect that sometimes, we don't ask what we want and or what would be "enough" to make us happy... but instead, we just collect numbers, and make what we want fit that. Sort of like when you move into a larger space, you just accumulate stuff to fit that space... but in this case, the space is the numbers, and the stuff... well, it is still stuff!

Perhaps it is also a question of what is functional enough and good enough? That said, we all have different opinions on all of these things... for instance, for me... I spend money on violins/instruments and sheet music... and games and technology. But I tend to skimp on cars, and will only buy second hand ones that are only what I need functionally and nothing more. That said, I'm slow to spend on all the other things that I would spend money on as well! It is rarely getting the top-line most expensive thing... but a careful weighing up of efficiency, quality, and bang-for-buck. Trying to find that sweet spot when I've saved up enough to indulge myself!

So... what is kicking off this idea of thinking about these things... well, my older daughter is starting to reach a point in her life when she starts needing to know about how these things work. That ultimately, it isn't enough to keep buying little sugar hits of "possession" that ultimately fade quickly and isn't real fulfillment.... instead, it just serves as a consumerist hit of some fast acting and fast fading drug.

I'll teach my kids about that sort of thing, and maths and physics... I'm glad that my wife is doing the "girl-stuff" side! I'm not even sure where to begin with that... no direct lived experience!


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I am a Musician (Violinist/Violist) specialising in Early Music living in The Netherlands. I have a background in Mathematics and Physics due to an earlier tertiary level study... and so, I'm still quite interested in Science and Technology related stuff!

Idle Musings
Idle Musings

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