The Myth of Money as an Indicator of Existential Worth
An existential dilemma! The following is an example of denying there is choice because a monetary value is placed on options available and interferes with our real feelings of worth.
Imagine an unhappy wife who decides to divorce. Her lawyer advises that after dividing their total assets (some currently inaccessible from the extended family), she will be without a home and owe her spouse $150,000. Formerly adamant on leaving, she now says ‘I really don’t have any choice. How can I walk away from everything I have put in!’ She starts to justify her marriage and denies her unhappiness and appeals to logic an social and cultural expectations of what the wise thing to do is.
Existentially, how can we evaluate our state of being by placing a material price on it? The value to be gained by choosing what she truly wants, is being measured by a monetary figure attached to some notion of fairness, effort invested, a fictitious myth that previous investment negates any future choice – when, in fact, the previous investment myth is the unquestioned assumption that the worth attributed to her state of being, ‘her life’ is a function of previous investment. The cost of relinquishing an investment (of time, money, effort, denied choices etc) is not the true cost – the true cost is time and effort wasted in the future, not spent on chosen desires, which are denied as she focuses on perceptions of previous investment lost.
This assumption highlights the myth that limits us in truly ‘showing up’ as beings choosing their existence purposefully with the knowledge that this choice exists. By attributing a monetary or material value to our choices alone, we miss the real cost of denying our existential freedom. The cost? A life that lived with duty and obligation rather than purpose, creativity and meaning.