What ultimate value has having a lot of money?
I look at life from my own experience of seven decades and from the viewpoint of being a doctor working 35 years in the psychiatric field. In recent years, that viewpoint has been deepened through severe long-term illness and near death.
Though having enough money enables life’s choices and I have always worked to achieve that purpose, I become more bemused in recent times as to why people need to accumulate vast personal wealth, beyond the realms of comfort and security and, at the same time, want that wealth totally for themselves. Many wealthy people give much money to charitable causes, and I applaud their efforts but they are not the ones about whom I write.
There have always been wars, either for grabbing other’s land or possessions, or because of religious or ethnic differences. Greed is ever more prominent and to have wealth for a few is the only direction that many countries are travelling, while still leaving a majority in poverty.
Many hundreds of lives have been lost recently around the world and hundreds of thousands made homeless and destitute by floods. It is just one year since the dreadful Haiti earthquake, and the situation in that poor country is still dire. Money is needed in great amount for all these people, for them simply to survive and live.
Yet, on the other hand, there are nations with untold wealth and massive resources who spend time ‘examining their own navel’ rather than looking outwards to others and wish to show off their wealth by creating ever more spectacular buildings and flaunting extravagance.
I had a ‘holiday’ many years ago. I put the ‘’ for various reasons as it was more a time of interest, experience and learning, rather than a ‘holiday’. I visited several countries, each for a brief visit. The tour guide gave this advice to everyone. ‘When you visit a country, please remember that you should observe and learn but never criticise.’
He said nothing about not being able to sleep at night on our return, with the images of destitute children’s faces! As a working doctor I had always had a way to use my skills to help people. There, for those fleeting minutes as we passed by, I had nothing - no skills, no currency, a different language, no time – nothing except compassion which had no means of expression. As for criticism – I had my opinion which I kept to myself.
I shall never forget a moment in a railway station. In the total darkness of a sudden power cut, I was feeling scared. I was on a ‘tour’ and being taken here, there and everywhere. I couldn’t see anyone and had no idea what was happening or going to happen. People were rushing past. Stray, hungry dogs were round my feet. I just stood still, waiting by a tree. Then, I felt the touch of small fingers on my arm. I looked down and could just see the large brown eyes of a small child looking up at me. She was holding the hand of another smaller child. Then she was gone. I didn’t even have a coin or biscuit to give them. I felt ashamed of being scared and of being a human being travelling round their country with nothing I could offer to help.
The economic crisis has left very many ‘ordinary’ people who had no responsibility for what happened without homes and with no jobs, with many others in restrained circumstances. Many older people who have worked hard all their lives, lived carefully and saved, have now virtually no income from these savings, yet, all the time the prices increase for every commodity they need.
Those who govern and those who are economically responsible at different levels seem to be very good on rhetoric. However, when you read and hear of what is being spent and, indeed, wasted – not in thousands, but in millions, it becomes apparent that either these people are totally unaware of the ‘ordinary’ people’s needs in their own countries or elsewhere, they do not care, or are disconnected from reality. There seems to be money for what any government wants and certainly plenty for ammunition to kill and maim.
I think one of the most difficult scenarios for me to understand is how countries, whose people struggle to exist, can fund/host massive world sporting ‘events’. These events do not bring wealth to help their poor, nor do these same governments sort out their nation’s water supplies or sewerage systems as a priority. On a more individual level, how can the mega rich live in extravagant opulence in some countries when there are beggars without food at their doors.
All people are born with the same ‘body and mind’ plan – all feel hunger and pain, and all are of equal worth, unless their behaviour proves them otherwise. All will die and all will have to go through the ‘process’ that decides their eternal fate.
In my country, when the majority of people think in tens, hundreds and thousands per year, I wonder how people who make decisions and those who receive exorbitant incomes can think that anyone being paid millions for any job is justified.
Hard work should be rewarded, and I have no issue, whatsoever, with anyone being rich provided they achieved that wealth through honest hard work and no corruption, that they use it sensibly both for themselves and to help others and if gain of money is not their 'be all and end all'. If that money was inherited from someone else’s hard work, then good luck to them.
But I would argue that failure should not be rewarded. Nowadays, top executives who are replaced because of incompetence walk away with large amounts of compensation and bonuses are given when the banks are bailed out by ordinary people of very modest means paying taxes. How can playing football a few times a week justify being paid millions per year, yet footballers receive vast sums even when they foul, get sent off the field or behave as criminals.
I don’t envy anyone anything, but I do think people who live for money and profit alone should learn that they can’t actually take it with them and that, even if they live to a very old age, it will have to be left on this earth.
Greed and envy are not qualities that are accepted in the spirit world. There are no banks in the afterlife. The Egyptians, many millennia ago, thought that was the case as the money and valuables were found in their tombs. Is it possible that these people actually still believe the same? Surely not!
There is no money after death, only accountability for life.
When I remember that little girl on the station, with nothing but poverty and hunger, I think about our brief lives on earth - our earthly test - as that is what life is all about.
Then, in my mind I can see the rich, selfish man - who earned his money at the expence of others. He has died, arriving at the gate to eternal life and I watch as he is being sent away for a second mission. This man is not a bad man, and is not refused so much as delayed. He cannot enter as he is. At first he looks angry and I can see him arguing and pleading. But he has no choice as his time on earth for this present life has ended and he has to ‘pay the bill’. Where he is sent, is not for me to know. I hear nothing. But, as he reluctantly walks away, head in hands, I watch his rich clothes turn to rags.
Then, I turn and see the little girl who touched my arm being carried through the gate in the arms of an angel, both dressed in pure white.
We all have our tasks and we all have choice. Our years are but short in comparison to eternity.
While I have been physically restricted by severe illness, I have written my books. A few years ago, in reality not imagination, I arrived at that same gate when I was very close to death. I could have died but I was not allowed. Instead I was sent back to my difficult life on earth and told, ‘You must go back now, your body is getting cold. Once through that gate and you cannot go back. Go, write what you know.’ Words I cannot forget and, as ordered, so I do.
All my books, so far written, are on the signed bookstore and, all but one so far, are on the bookstore. All are written for a purpose and by using the experience and knowledge from my life and thirty five years of work as a psychiatrist.