Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Money Burning 23-10-09 £50

I did my third money burning ritual on Friday 23rd October. This time I burnt £50, last time it was £20, before that £10.

I recorded the serial number of the £50 - M10 362939. I probably should have done this for the £20 and £10. Perhaps it was added significance of burning the highest value note (in common usage in the UK) that encouraged me to record the note's number. Being a child of the 70's I associate the £50 note with oil sheiks and second-hand car salesmen. I don't think I actually saw one until I was in my twenties.

It certainly felt like a lot of money to burn.

I could have spent £50 in so many different ways. My family didn't fail to remind me of that. Their protestations didn't fall on deaf ears, but I  felt committed to the burning. I don't think my ego would have allowed me to 'fail' for the sake £50. However, the size of the burning definitely meant my resolve was put under greater strain than in previous years. I guess whether my resolve holds into the £100, £200 and £500 years will depend, at least in part, on my financial situation.

I should point out to those who don't know me, I'm not rich. Yet, anyway ;o)

To put things in perspective, in the last three years, my money burning activities have released me from the custodianship of £80 (not cost, remember?). I don't feel guilty, or silly. The burnings have given me pleasure (I guess some might call the pleasure perverse, although I wouldn't) and inspiration. For me its also been a profound way to explore my relationship with money. It does feel like a sacred ritual.

I wouldn't like anyone to think that burning the money was an act of arrogance or some vulgar display of wealth. I don't light a cigar with the note ! In fact, even though the act is the same, they couldn't be more different. That sounds bizarre I know. The best analogy I can draw for you is with sex. It can be a wonderful transformative event, or the greatest violation; physically its the same act.

I was disappointed that the youtube recording of the burning failed. The video didn't process properly, and because I recorded it live via a webcam, its gone forever. I was however very pleased that half a dozen or so, bore witness to the burning via a live webcast. To the best of my knowledge, they were all fellow microbloggers. All were really positive about what I was doing and offered encouragement. I'm very grateful to them for sharing the moment with me.

My son recorded a little video of me changing up the 2 x £20, and 1 x £10 in the village bank. I wasn't trying to offer proof that the £50 was genuine. It is. But attempting to prove that to anyone who doubted it would be extremely difficult. What I wanted to do was give a sense of the events around the ritual (which really form part of the ritual itself). The 23rd of October is starting to feel like a special day to me.

Since the burning, my friend and colleague Mark Sampson (@IronManRecords) has burnt £10.

I'm really really happy that someone else has taken to burning money. If you've read this far, then you should too. Money is so much part of all our lives that you should 'invest' just a little of it to find out how you really feel about it.

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