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Archive of ‘Meaning’ category

The Ultimate Currency

By Seamus Anthony

Yes, it’s a cliche, but regardless, it is very important to realise that Life is all a game: if you play by the rules and play well, you score points and win prizes.

The other day I was emailing my partner to tell her I had deposited some money into our shared account. Being a freelancer the money income is irregular, and some weeks are better than others. As I sent the email this week I felt a little flush of triumph because it had been a good week and I’d paid us more than usual. Inwardly at least, I punched the air and did a little victory dance.

Then, suddenly I got a very strong “outsiders impression” (think “alien who has never been to earth or seen our way of life before”) as to how odd this whole money palaver is. Basically it is like a game in that we just need to score points to win prizes (things we can buy). If I don’t win enough points we can’t buy food. If we win enough points we can eat like Kings. If we really win enough points we can buy more than we can ever use, or *gasp* help other people who do not have enough points to get “ahead of the game”, as the saying goes.

Basically, and not surprisingly for a sports-crazy race, we have turned the stuff of life, surviving and thriving, into a game with a points scoring system (money), prizes (house, car, early retirement)and rules. Break the rules and you will probably lose points, or privileges (freedom). Really break the rules and you may suffer the penalties of ill health or even death (so game-winners go to the gym, eat their greens and don’t murder their spouse even when they are sorely tempted to do so).

But how do you score points? You create “value” or “wealth” for other people and convince them to trade some of their points in exchange for what you have created. Value or Wealth can be defined in this case as something (a physical good, information or service) that the other person either needs or wants or both. If they need it, it has value to them; if they want it, same.

Creating things of value to trade always takes some time. If you can figure out how to trade your time (whether it’s your own time or other people’s time that you purchased from them) for a greater amount of money, then you stand to win. The ultimate winner in the game of life gets to use all of the time he has left in whatsoever manner as he chooses, whether productive (in earning points) or not, because he has enough points to easily provide all the value he personally needs for the rest of his life, therefore has no genuine need to trade his own time at all.

Interesting how time then is the ultimate currency – why? Because on an individual basis (i.e. per individual human) time is finite. It is scarce.

Invent an Elixir of Immortality and the very fabric of society would unravel completely. It would change the Game entirely.


The Wheel of Fortune

By Seamus Anthony

wheel of fortuneThings run in cycles – what was will cease to be, before coming around again into its time, back into existence. But we must learn to prepare for these times of opportune conditions so that we are prepared to capitalise on them while the going is good, before the season changes and the window of opportunity closes again (until next time). This is magic: working with the elements of nature, the stuff of life, the swirling fields of potential.

The cycle of life is represented by the seasons of nature – we sow the seed in spring, tend the garden in summer, harvest our produce in autumn and this sustains us through the fallow ground of winter. By seeing in advance that winter will come, we know to work hard in spring, summer and autumn.

This applies not only to the macro-version of this that plays out in our lives (working hard in our youth to prepare for our old age) but also in many micro-aspects. For example an artist may experience inspiration and energy in her youth, followed by a time of success where the world opens their arms to her endeavours. This may be then succeeded by a (seemingly) long winter where neither does she feel inspired nor does the world pay her and her art much attention.

But if she continues to work and to hold on for better days, eventually her inspiration and desire to shine returns, and fresh new art follows. This new spring may be followed by another summer of growth and in turn by an autumn of harvest in the form of recognition from the world.

We see this cycle play out time and time again for many artists and public figures. Take Leonard Cohen’s long roller-coaster of a career. Of late he has been more popular than ever after some years in the career wilderness. However, while he is obviously enjoying his renaissance, at his age, he must be well aware that even this latest triumphant career upturn will not last forever.

To develop a sense of where we are at in the various cycles of our lives, the little ones and the big ones, is a useful skill indeed. Sometimes it’s easy – it’s not hard to tell when it’s time to move house: for whatever reasons, usually practical, you just know it’s time to go. However at other times it can be more difficult to know how to read the signs accurately. For example: if you have been feeling sick to death of your boyfriend for a few months, is this a sign it’s time to end the relationship or is it just a natural energetic fluctuation in an otherwise healthy relationship?

Here enters free-will. We have the ability to step in and put to use the “stuff of life” to attempt outcomes. You can work for the outcome of becoming a free-agent again, or for the outcome of seeing the relationship through to a return to fun and fulfilment.

This is the magic of our lives … but the magician gambles because we do not always know if our work will actually deliver the outcomes intended and, if it does, whether those results will bring us the benefits we hoped they would.