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Human Life Versus Money in the Bank: Which One Would You Choose?

My parrot, Pearl, contemplates all the very pretty, feathery bodies he may have inhabited over the years!

As I’ve been reading and studying more about Dr. Brian Weiss’s work (here is my post about my initial discovery), I’ve learned some very surprising things.

I say they are surprising because they are things that I’ve often thought or said to myself inside my head, but never expected to hear an actual global authority voice on the topic say those same exact words.

Here is an example from Dr. Weiss’s book that I just finished, “Same Soul, Many Bodies:”

It’s not the lack of money that’s stopping us but the lack of value placed on human life. We’d rather sacrifice people than spend money that we have. Simple safety measures could avoid pain, hurt, and even death. Each life is so important, so special, and yet thousands are sacrificed, usually for greed…..when will we learn?

Ohhhh….how I resonate!

How grateful I felt to read these words – words that have so often occupied my contemplations these past several years – printed in a book that is still being read around the world! [To clarify, these words were actually spoken by a patient of Dr. Weiss’s, but in the book he also states that he has often had the exact same types of thoughts.]

I guess my issue here regarding my feelings towards the “money first folks” is really one of a lack of empathy. By that I mean, I’ve never been what I would term “money driven” – which is probably why I’ve also never gotten rich. (Sigh.)

But basically, I do whatever I do for passion, love, self improvement, because a little voice inside my head says “how hard could it be?” (fyi: usually quite hard), because it sounds fun or because it needs doing and no one else seems to be doing it….reasons like these.

Looking back, I don’t see myself doing anything for cash, save for my first horrid job out of college, which made me want to off myself every single day but also allowed me to pay off every cent of my college loans in less than three years.

And the moment I was debt-free, I was also speeding out of there and heading off to India to go help people on a self-pay basis, which promptly put me back into debt again.

So you see how it tends to go in my particular life.

This means I am also not sure I will ever be able to fully grasp how mesmerizing, tantalizing, alluring, all-encompassing the craving for cash is to some people, and more specifically to the people Dr. Weiss is talking about in the quote above.

For instance, let’s say there is someone who grew up not having enough to eat. They saw their parents working and slaving (or not working and lazing around) and they resolved never to live like that again when they were grown up.

For these folks, money might be a truly significant driver, encoded into their limbic brain system as a legitimate survival need where “more” is always the right amount.

Or maybe there is a person who was always told by teachers that they would never amount to anything and bullied by peers. But they have a very smart brain and work hard and dream of turning the tables when they get out of school by earning tons of money and proving the bullies wrong. So they do, and then they have all the money and the fine things and it is clear who is the real success in life.

I can completely see how these types of deeply traumatic experiences could turn into powerful motivators to choose cash over compassion.

Of course, perhaps that isn’t even how these people see it.

Perhaps they just like earning money and that is fun to them. Or maybe they have their eye on a bigger prize, such as solving world hunger or ending cancer, and they know they need lots of funds to do that. So a few souls get sacrificed in the balance….they feel they can justify that since it is for the greater good.

Honestly, how could I ever know what drives one person to choose money in the bank over the safety and survival of other beings, human and non-human?

I couldn’t, because my wiring is just plain different in that regard. Plus, I don’t find “more” reassuring. I am quite aware that with one hurl of a solar flare, one launch of a nuclear weapon, one incoming asteroid, one catastrophic storm and “more” can turn into “less” and then “none” in short order.

With enough changes in how we live life here on Earth, all that green paper and all those round coins could even eventually be worthless as currency – just so much kindling and so many paperweights.

For this reason, the very few times in my life when I’ve had money have been the most anxious times, not the least. Money is not cuddly, not nurturing, not a good listener. It isn’t tasty or refreshing. There are many, many, many life needs that money can’t meet.

Speaking of money and the future, what is so interesting in this particular book of Dr. Weiss’s is that he has started venturing into progressions – visiting the future with his patients – versus simply working on regressions – visiting the past to heal past issues and learn.

I’ve never had any desire to visit the future, on account of how the present often seems so scary already. I think, “if today there is this much mayhem and greed and murder, well, I don’t even want to know how much there will be tomorrow.”

And I really don’t want to know how much there will be in 10 years or 100 years or 1,000 years.

Of course, maybe there will be less of these awful things too, maybe because we’ve killed everybody off or something big has shifted to the point where our priorities must shift if we are to survive ourselves.

Or maybe in the future we have all left the planet for Mars and there our lifestyle is such that the issues we struggled the most with here on Earth are literally non-issues.

Again, I have no idea and no way to find out. But maybe Dr. Weiss and his patients can know when they progress to the future. Maybe they can see some hope, or some way to head off the awful, toxic, deadly future that often seems to be headed our way.

In the book, Dr. Weiss hints at these possibilities, but always also references the intersection of destiny and free will to keep a great big question mark where any type of reassuring (or terrifying) certainty might otherwise exist.

I don’t know. I just know that, overall, I don’t get it. Why would anyone find  stockpiling cash more enticing than investing in a brighter future for every being and the planet itself? I have no idea.

When I was doing the grueling work of recovering from an eating disorder, depression and crippling anxiety, I was not motivated by the thought of cash at all. At first, I was just motivated by anger and fear. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to die – I just didn’t want to die because of some stupid disease that had decided I was expendable.

So I fought, and eventually I won and I lived. And from then on, on account of my late start in life, I guess I have just been too busy living to tap into the incessant drive for “more, bigger, greater” that seems to grip so much of the world today.

Maybe this is also why I so frequently daydream about changing species. I identify so much more with non-human beings, such as my parrot, Pearl, and his two shelled siblings, Malti and Bruce, who are so content with receiving their daily needs one day at a time.

Their trust…faith, if you will….in sufficiency is awesome. Mind-boggling. And seemingly impossible for homo sapiens to emulate.

Today’s Takeaway: If you had to choose between safeguarding or saving life (human or non-human) or making bank, would there be a struggle? Why or why not? Do you know someone who seems totally motivated by “more” at the expense of “better” for themselves and/or others? Is this something you stress and worry about like I do – if yes, how do you calm and comfort yourself when the stress gets really bad?

Human Life Versus Money in the Bank: Which One Would You Choose?

Shannon Cutts


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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2017). Human Life Versus Money in the Bank: Which One Would You Choose?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2018/01/human-life-versus-money-in-the-bank-what-would-you-choose/

 

Last updated: 15 Dec 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Dec 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.