What if wealth was perishable? A simple question, but it suggests that our attitudes and behaviors would change if it were true. What we value (things) would also change. In tribal days (every culture had them if you go back far enough), wealth was measured in the ability to produce. The hunter produced meat, the gatherer produced fruit nuts and roots, the Shaman produced spiritual guidance and medicine, and the elderly produced wisdom.
Currently wealth in terms of money, power, gold, jewelry, fancy cars, expensive purses, etc. All serve to give the impression that our material resources are in abundance and symbolize living the good life. However, as a culture the more we acquire the more desperate for attention and adulation we become.
If a Neanderthal left their cave for any length of time it was forfeit. In the pre-Columbian Americas ownership of land was not a thing. Accumulation of material things was a burden.
As the divide between rich and poor increases the class war escalates. We obsess over the division of wealth in our culture and yet worship the wealthy far beyond what they deserve. But if wealth were perishable then we could not rest on our accumulation. Each generation would have to prove themselves through skill and effort.
If we valued the ability to produce laughter, how much better would our lives be? If we valued honesty and integrity more than dollars and bitcoin, how content would we be? If kindness and nurturing were valued over celebrity or popularity, how might we feel about ourselves? If the quality of our minds were the highest commodity, then we would certainly invest heavily in personal growth and development.
Two old sayings: 1, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. 2, do something you love, and you will never work a day in your life.
The first saying from the bible is meant to teach us that wealth is a distraction and can be an obsession that excludes personal development. Of course, a rich person can achieve spiritual rewards, but they must continue to engage personal growth and development and use their wealth as a tool to do good for their village or tribe.
The second saying restructures what we would call wealth. If you love what you do, then it does not seem like work. To follow your calling, to find a vocation, and be happy and content doing what you love. If wealth was perishable, then we would refocus our efforts each day to renew what we value.
As my great grandfather used to say; “anything worth doing, is worth doing well.” If we focus on excellence, kindness, joy, and laughter, then perhaps we all can be wealthy in our hearts. The legacy of love is a fortune that grows with each generation.