I apologize for the lateness of this post in relation to the airing of Medaka Box. WhyNot dropped the show because it was too much work and HorribleSubs had HorribleQuality, so I had to wait for FFFpeeps.
In any case, we’re finally introduced to the swimming club and their philosophy of money grubbing. Just what makes money so important? Obviously, it’s because we can use it to buy the things we want. Even this might start to become less common, though. Increasingly, we’re seeing the usage of some “card” in the place of typical “money”. The reason for this is probably that of convenience; swipe the card and you’re done. In fact, some things are just not practical when dealing with actual cash. Hundreds of dollars may be pushing it, but a scale of thousands of dollars starts to look quite silly. No one’s really going to lug around a suitcase full of money like in movies. The usage of cards does bring the issue of identity theft into the mess, but that’s a whole different story. In the end, the concept of “monetary exchange” remains.
Is it really alright to be obsessed with money, though? While it’s true that money can indirectly lead to happiness, it’s not as if money itself is actually happiness in physical form. I know people who seem to focus more on money than they should, and I guess their argument would be that of “security”. But just how much money should make you feel “safe” about your prosperity? Granted, this can vary greatly from person to person, but I’d say if you make enough money to pay this month’s bills as well as those of next month, you’re probably pretty well-off. Contrived examples aside, though, if you’re already established to be well-off, there’s really no need to be a scrooge.
What do I mean by well-off? Again, trying to come up with an example would probably be dissatisfactory and possibly inaccurate, but in the very terms that society itself has come up with, it would probably mean anything middle-class and above. If you already know that you can put food on the table for the forseeable future, you really don’t need to be scrounging around for money. It’s not as if you’re homeless or a third-world citizen; those are the ones who really need help. Quite unfortunately of course, matters aren’t so simple that we can solve all of their problems just by throwing money at them, but the concept remains.
So why do those of us who “have it good” compared to others still strive to make more and more money? And of course I say this as an increase relative to the current income, not just the fact that you will make more money tomorrow. I suppose the answer, then, is because of how powerful we’ve made money. Way back in the days of yore, money didn’t even exist. The concept of an exchange was present, but what people were exchanging were actual goods. A potato for a tomato, for example. How could something as “irrelevant” as a lump of gold get mixed into the fray? The answer is simple; because we say so.
Heck, we could have been throwing manure at each other, and it would have still worked. Of course, manure is stinky and disease-ridden so we don’t do that, but the concept of a “currency” is still purely imaginary. Over time, with more and more products becoming available, and with the aid of the industrial revolution, people started to desire more than just what they needed to survive. Our endless drive for happiness in the form of things that entertain us; luxuries; has literally ingrained the concept of monetary exchange into our very world. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it can create an endless cycle of increasing desire for more.
It’s hard to take a step back and realize that all of this is simply something that we thought up and collectively accepted; a social construction of reality. Want a burger and some fries? Fork over a handful of well-worn and germ-ridden paper. What the money-misers need to do is take a step back and look at how far under the water their heads have been. There’s nothing inherently special about money. There’s no need to keep wanting more and more if you already have everything vital that you need at your fingertips. Just why is this so hard to see? I suppose it’s because it’s in our nature to adapt. We look to improve our situation, it gets better, and then we adapt to this new level of comfort and look for more yet again.
Really, many of the “problems” that plague society nowadays come from our evolutionary background. What’s the deal with obesity? Our bodies crave energy-rich foods as a result of the fight to survive that our ancestors had. With food so easily available in the world today, the disparity between supply and demand is very clearly evident. This concept, combined with that of currency, is what makes it so hard for us to step back and appreciate the simple things; to stop wanting more for the sake of wanting more just because we can.
So in the end, am I trying to say that money is evil? No. It’s undeniable that we can no longer survive without money. It’s a beast that we created to do our bidding, and in the process we’ve unwittingly become enslaved to it. But at the very least, there’s no need to become a vacuum-cleaner for money. There’s so much more to life than just money and what you can buy with it. But of course, this starts treading dangerously close to certain socio-political movements that have been on the rise recently, so I won’t elaborate any further because we all know that nothing good comes from politics.
Fun facts: 45% of US dollar bills have been in a stripper’s g-string. 92% of all US bills contain traces of cocaine. 47% of all statistics are made up.
In addendum, I propose “An Originally Inclined Aniblog” as a new, shorter (by one character) name, given our goal of being unique.