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Reply To: Exchanging thoughts on Patrick Solomon’s upcoming film: What is Money?””


Yes Mars; but this is not what Patrick is addressing as the subject of his project; (at least as I see it). This is about finding and following that: “push from your own inside, your sense of your own destiny, the thing that tells you: (I am that) and I am going to follow it because it informs me about who and what I can be; it’s what I must do because in my heart and gut it represents what my inner truth of existence tells me I must do to be alive.” This is what the “follow your bliss” theme is all about; it’s not about following money.

Yes; we all have to live; so we do things that produce money so we can eat and pay the bills and the rent so we can survive; but survival is not about meaning; survival is about mere existence; life eating life; finding meaning in the way we live is about something else. And Joseph talks about the rapture of being alive; not just getting a job that doesn’t do these kinds things. Yes; work in itself is a noble thing if understood from a certain perspective; you feed and house your family because you love them; but he also suggests that as human beings there is more to living than getting on a tread mill that goes nowhere to earn a paycheck. Every person needs something that helps them to express and fulfill this inner need we all have; and that’s the Bliss Path he is pointing out; not buying a lot of stuff and going into debt because that’s what everybody else does. Consumerism is outer stuff based on consumption and does not give the inner value human beings long for; and this is the theme Patrick is addressing in my view; at least from what I’ve seen so far.

Now saying that; figuring out how to accomplish this task is part of the challenge that the Quest may entail because each life is different; and going into your dark forest to find your journey’s end goal is going to present some hurdles for any person to overcome. So what is this have to do with finance? On page 111; in: “Pathways to Bliss”; Joseph says this:

“In the west you have the liberty and obligation of finding out what your destiny is. You can discover it for yourself. But do you?

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be blessed with the accident of money, and a certain amount of support, and a margin of free time. But let me say this: people without money very often have the courage to risk a life of their own, and they can do it. Money doesn’t count, it’s not that important in our culture; it really isn’t.

I’ve taught students of all financial strata and the most fortunate are not always the very wealthy ones. In fact they’re very often the least fortunate because there is nothing to drive them. A very common experience is a student who has all kinds of possibilities and talents and essentially limitless money and becomes nothing more than a dilettante. The student is not forced to follow one path, to make a decision: “I’m going to do this.” As soon as what they’re doing gets difficult, as soon as it begins to get to the crunch, he or she moves over into another pursuit, and another, and another. They just splash their lives all over. Very often a youngster without the margin to do that makes the intelligent, courageous decision and follows it through.”

In Diane Osbon’s: “Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion”; on pages; 58-60; Joseph talks specifically about money; and then for the next 22 pages he talks about all kinds of various things related to how one’s life course is a manifestation of this quest and some of the hurdles one is going to run into; (including that of the Grail Adventure); and shares personal examples of how these themes interfaced with his own life experience. So this is not some kind of fantasy fairy tale that is being offered for amusement; it’s life supporting stuff that offers a personal perspective from his own life how this thing can be accomplished. But he warns this path may be dangerous; it may include risks and all kinds of difficult challenges; but it can be done. Why is this important?; it’s important because having a life of one’s own on their own terms instead of following social norms is what it’s all about. It’s not about acquiescing to a: “thou shalt – system”; but living out of your own center and finding that thing that moves you and living it.

I think one of the things that pulls people off course is this stereotype of fame and financial success; that the image instead of the substance behind it gets in the way of seeing and understanding what it’s meaning represents instead of the façade of the mask in front of it that distorts it’s value. Jung warns that persona is not who we are; but I think the point in all of this is to find and live what our heart is calling us to do. Joseph said in: “The Power of Myth” concerning answering this call to adventure: “to go where your heart and soul want to go”; to answer this deep yearning inside that speaks to you in a language that only you understand.

So answering this thing that’s pulling inside you is more than likely going to involve some kind of uphill battle to get to where you want to go involving finances. Now there is one other thing Joseph mentioned within the book and that is money is not the real issue because he knew a lot of wonderful wealthy people whom he really liked; and money was not the problem but often it was what you did with it. And in the overall grand scheme of things there are going to be different aspects of this financial problem that are not going to all line up where the holes all run through; so don’t judge. So I think the real issue in all of this is to look inside to try and find what is calling you; because as he mentions on pages; 58-59; he states:

“If you follow your bliss you will always have your bliss. money or not. If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have nothing.”

So I don’t know if Patrick’s movie is going in this direction or not; but this is what my understanding of what this financial incentive is dealing with that Joseph is speaking about; and why to me it’s so critically important to know the difference. I think it’s a terrific subject that points out much of what’s wrong with the value system that confuses people into thinking making money is more important than finding the life they yearn to live; and getting off your track just to get money alone will pull you away from that. We all have things that are important that making money supports; but answering that challenge is going to be one of the central concerns in resolving this issue while at the same time following that which informs us about who we are.