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Of Money and Bullies

by Izzy Kalman (June 2004)

You’re not a bully, are you? You probably don’t think so. At my Bullying and Sibling Rivalry seminars, between the end of April through the end of May, I had my seminar participants fill out an anonymous survey (anonymous so they wouldn’t be reluctant to provide honest answers). One of the questions was, “I think I am a bully.” Of the 484 completed surveys I collected, 470 individuals, or 97%, answered “No”. Few people think of themselves as bullies, and this probably includes you. The anti-bully movement that has gripped the modern world is made possible by the fact that most people do not see themselves as bullies. Who would consciously support a movement that condemns themselves? Bullies are considered evil because they exert personal power over other humans, and power is the taboo of the modern world. Tell people that you would like to have power over them and see how many friends you have left! This taboo against personal power was confirmed by another of my survey questions. “I respect people who seek to increase their personal power over other people.” 422 individuals, or 87%, answered “No”. Another question on the survey was, “Your salary is being renegotiated. You can choose between earning more than me or less than me for exactly the same job. Which will you choose?” 450 participants, or 93%, answered “More.” (I suspect that many who answered “Less” didn’t properly understand the question, which I should have worded more clearly.) You, too, if you were in possession of your wits, would also wish to earn more than me for your exact same job if you had a choice. The great majority of my seminar participants are mental health professionals. We mental health professionals are the last people in the world who should be deceiving ourselves. How can we help others understand themselves if we are fooling ourselves about our own nature? Though it is impossible to understand life in civilization without understanding money, no one is ever taught what money actually IS. This ignorance about the nature of money is precisely what makes it possible to lie to ourselves and go on a self-righteous crusade against bullies. And that is the purpose of this article. I’m going to open your eyes to the nature of money. If this lesson sinks in, life should never look quite the same to you. And I hope that afterwards, whenever you see someone campaigning against bullies, the word that will immediately come to your mind is HYPOCRITE. The Definition of Money I will now tell you exactly what money is. The most accurate definition of money – and if you know a better one please let me know and I will replace mine – is “POWER OVER PEOPLE.” That’s all it is – nothing more and nothing less. All money is good for is controlling people – getting them to work for you. This function may be fairly obvious when you directly pay someone for their work. But even when you buy a material object, all you have paid for is human labor. When you purchase a car, the Earth gets none of the money for the materials that were extracted from it. All you paid for is the work of other human beings to extract materials from the Earth and transform them into a car. We all want money because it is power over people. We want to earn as much money per hour as possible so that we can pay lower paid workers to do the chores we don’t want to do ourselves. If you earn $60 per hour (after taxes), you can work one hour and pay someone who earns minimum wage to work more than 10 hours for you! Why dirty our hands and break our backs cleaning our toilets when we can sit in the comfort of our office listening to people talk and then hire someone else to do the dirty work for us at a fraction of our pay? Most of us encourage our children to get a higher education so they can get a cushy job doing what they love and pay others to do the menial jobs they can’t stand. The main reason the fast-food industry does so well is that most people’s time is more valuable than the time of the people who cook at these eating establishments. I’m sorry to break the bad news to you, but if you want to earn more money, you are not much different from those we call bullies. It’s just that money obscures this fact. When we buy clothing made in a sweat shop, we don’t see the slaving person who sewed it for us. When we call kids “bullies,” it is because they make it obvious that they are exerting power over others. They do it with observable verbal or physical actions that put others beneath them. They are displaying the raw, natural side of power. But that is because kids don’t earn money. When we lived in nature, we didn’t earn money either because it hadn’t been invented. As adults in nature, we, too, had to get our power being able to intimidate others – just like those we call bullies today. Now we live in civilization. Physical intimidation is no longer the method of choice to have power, unless you are a criminal, police officer, or soldier. Using personal physical power in civilization is likely to get you in trouble. Today, the primary method of having power is through money. And that’s why we all want more of it. When you want to earn more money than me, it means you want to have more power over me than I have over you! Shame on you! The great majority of people in this country are Christians, yet most Christians don’t understand what Jesus taught. Jesus’ most frequent complaint about people is that they are hypocrites. He also noted the power of money to corrupt: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) When you understand what money is, then you can appreciate how right he was on both counts! Since, as my survey showed, most people don’t respect those who want to increase their personal power over others, and almost everyone wants more money, this means that most people don’t respect the kind of people they are! How Money Hides our Violent Nature Another couple of questions on my survey were designed to show how money lets us hide our violent nature from ourselves. To the question, “If I hire someone else to kill, I am guilty of killing,” 461 participants, or 95%, answered “Yes.” To the question, “I am personally responsible for killing animals,” 414, or 86%, answered “No.” Do you think that when you eat meat or fish, animals killed themselves and jumped onto your plate? When you purchase animal products, you paid someone to kill them for you, which makes you responsible for killing them. But since we pay money to others to slaughter the animals where we can’t see them, we can conveniently avoid awareness that we are killers of animals. We think we abolished slavery in this country in 1865. We didn’t do anything of the sort. We only turned slaves into independent contractors. Instead of owning slaves, we just rent them. It turns out to be far more efficient. Why buy whole persons and then have to take care of their housing, health and children, when you can just pay them for their labor and let them worry about taking care of their own basic needs? There are millions of people in “developing” countries slaving in subhuman conditions to produce our cheaply priced goods while we go around living in air- conditioned houses and driving air-conditioned cars. Though those workers are really our slaves, money obscures this fact from our eyes because we don’t see those we pay to toil for us. So from now on, whenever you hear the word “money,” replace it in your mind with “power over people.” This practice will give you a much more accurate understanding of reality. And the next time you decide to condemn bullies, put your money where your mouth is. Quit your high paying job and go work at McDonalds for minimum wage. Click here to apply for a job at McDonald’s. »

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