Friday, February 15, 2013

About the Blog

My blog is half artistic endeavour, half academic pursuit. Mostly, it tries to answer the question 'What is Money?' Something that's fascinated me ever since I can remember.

From 2007 I've done an annual ritual money burning. In 2008, I wrote about it. Now every 23rd October I burn some cash. I understand this seems like an odd thing to do. But it's been great for me. The ritual now has meaningful place in my year, a bit like a birthday or Christmas. I see it as a sacrifice; specifically a sacrifice of my custodianship of Money's power. I've described the ritual as the ultimate act of forgiveness.

With Money being so much in the ether I think trying to gain a personal and 'visceral' understanding of it is important. Having a salary and a solid career all your life will inevitably inform your view on Money. In my early 20's, I was a market trader. That's a real one, not the stocks and shares type. They're a dying breed now. Buying and selling, exchanging cash and goods hand to hand was not a unique experience by any means, but for me it was formative.

Eventually, in my late 20's I studied money formally and my market trading experiences informed my perspective. I went to the London School of Economics (L.S.E), had a wonderful time, managed to get a 2:1 and started putting my feelings and ideas about Money into an intellectual framework. I was unimpressed with what little Economics had to say about Money. Indeed, at its worst, I found Economics to be a sophisticated but meaningless abstraction useful as JK Galbraith said, 'as a form of employment for economists' and not much else.

Whilst at the L.S.E. I spread my net as wide as I was allowed and then a little wider still, and tried to find out what Philosophy, Anthropology and Sociology had to say about Money. I also fell in love with Freud. It's a romance that's still ongoing, despite us not seeing eye to eye on Money. Around the time I was deciding whether or not to stay on for further study, I got a comment on a paper I'd written in which I'd claimed that Money seemed more like Gravity than anything else. My Philosophy Professor said that was 'plainly crazy'.

It smarted a bit at the time, but it helped me to make a decision. I went off and started a sex site called NaturalSex with Sally, my wife, and her friend. As you do. I had a great time doing that, but ended up a bankrupt.

I have some vague idea about understanding one's sexuality being a key to self-realisation. I'm not saying that this was the motivation for my choice at the time. That had more to do with horniness, fortuitous circumstance, and of course, a desire for easy Money. We were filthy fuck-monkeys who willingly engaged in as many unnatural acts as we could. But we tried to be principled. To be fair to each other, and to everyone else involved. And although we chose never to charge for sex, our income was certainly dependent on our sex life for a good few years.

In May 2013 Sally and I separated after 28 years. I can't say for sure whether or not I achieved self-realisation. I think that's probably a lifelong thing. But what the experiences NaturalSex did bring home to me, is that Sex cannot be understood through reflection alone. Practice is vital. I think the same is true for Money.

So it's the combination of the ritual, the visceral and the academic that now underscores my understanding of money and my attempts to answer the question 'What is Money?'

That understanding goes something like this.

  • Money is an aspect of reality that mediates Value and enumerates certain relations through currency.
  • Value is the fundamental force of the universe stimulating everything from atoms to animals to evolve.
  • Money reconciles the monism of Value and the dualism of human experience through the medium of Mind.

This all might sound a bit metaphysical. So, in keeping with the last point, there are two strands to my attempt to create something more earth-bound.

One, is to create a model of the relationship between Money, Value and Mind. So far this involves Robert Pirsig's description of Value and Sigmund Freud's description of Mind. I think that understanding Money in the context of Value and Mind might give new meaning to the numbers Money produces.

The other, is to do things that explore our conceptions about Money. My ritual money burning being the obvious example. I think it's important to reveal and give expression to my relationship with Money and to encourage acts of revelation in others.

I don't write much about Sex and Money, but I probably should. The most important things are often the hardest to write about.

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