By: Alex P. Vidal
“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” – Jonathan Swift
MONEY isn’t evil per se, or possession of money is not really evil, we have been told.
The want to have money for specific reasons and purposes actually can’t and should not be considered as evil.
It’s the excessive love for money, or its excessive possession for excessive, irrational and wicked purposes that should be considered as the root of all evil.
Everybody is seeking for money, but it is the seeking that counts, as money is not always a blessing when it comes.
In Everyday Wisdom, Dr. Frank Crane narrated a story about a man who won $20,000 for suggesting the name “Liberty” to a popular magazine.
“He is now charged by his wife with the abandonment of her and his four children,” explained Crane.
The first thing the man did with his prize money, his wife claimed, was to buy a six-cylinder touring car and a quart of liquor.
She also said that he kept paying $5, $10 and $15 tips to taxicab chauffeurs and bootleggers.
“Before he won that prize we were in pretty poor circumstances,” said his wife. “We were in debt, but at least we were happy.”
The question in life is not only who is going to receive the prizes, but what people are going to do with them.
Crane warned that winning a beauty prize may mean moral and spiritual ruin to the successful contestant. Beauty is of no advantage unless used beautifully.
“Many a man has found it harder work to take care of his money when he got it than to get it in the first place,” observed Crane. “If he makes a large amount of money he finds all society arrayed against him. Beggars assail him, tradesmen overcharge him, and the government taxes him. He finds that the possession of money renders him a marked man.”
A man with a large fortune is in one respect like Cain, for every man’s hand is again him, according to Crane.
So there are two sides to success.
It is a question whether success is more valuable as a goal to be attained than it is as a goal that has been attained.
Those on the way up to it get plenty of advice and sympathy from others. Those who have arrived do not receive much sympathy.
“It takes considerable training to be able to take care of money,” counseled Crane. “And often people who are suddenly raised to affluence do not know what to do with their possessions.”
Certainly if receiving a large sum of money induces a man to take up extravagant and bad habits and to desert his wife and children it is a bad thing for him.
The same thing is true with the possession of any talent. A man may be a great violinist, a great pianist, or a great speaker, and his success may ruin him as a man.
It is very difficult for anyone who is extraordinarily endowed in any way, either in money or talent, to keep his faculties in balance.
Crane warned: “The best condition for a man is one of struggle and uncertainty. While he is struggling he is automatically kept normal and in check. That the majority of the human race is not on Easy Street is a good thing for the race.”
If every man were a millionaire the world would speedily go to the devil.
It is the fact that most people need to worry and struggle along with obstacles that keep the world sound and sane.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)