Friday, April 3, 2015

Money Wisdom #340

"An Englishman was a member of a bohemian group whose enjoyment in life consisted of his sponsorship of the wildest orgies, though he himself never joined in but always paid for everybody - he appeared, said nothing, paid for everything and disappeared. The one side of these dubious events - paying for them - must, in this man's experience, have stood for everything. One may readily assume that here is a case of one of those perverse satisfactions that has recently become the subject of sexual pathology. In comparison with ordinary extravagance, which stops at the first stage of possession and enjoyment and the mere squandering of money, the behaviour of this man is particularly eccentric because the enjoyments, represented here by their money equivalent, are so close and directly tempting to him. The absence of a positive owning and using of things on the one hand, and the fact on the other that the mere act of buying is experienced as a relationship between the person and the objects and as a personal satisfaction, can be explained by the expansion that the mere act of spending money affords to the person. Money builds a bridge between such people and objects. In crossing this bridge, the mind experiences the attraction of possession even if it does in fact not attain it."

Georges Simmel The Philosophy of Money (1907 [1990]) p.327

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