17 Dec 2000
THE POWER OF MONEY
When I was a student in Nigeria, a friend of mine told me that there was a famous joke in his village that went thus: If you want to confirm that an Igbo man has really died, drop some coins on the floor and observe the subject. If you do not notice any movement just go for a coffin. Such is the power of money that we spend the whole of our life on earth chasing it. We are so obsessed with the search for this elusive thing called money that we sometimes forget what we really need money for. Whether you are eighteen or eighty-eight the magnetic effect of money is unbelievable.
Someone once wrote that there were five reasons to spend money: on necessities, on investment, on self-improvement, on memories and to impress your friends. The question that pre occupies me now is whether we really weigh the importance of our needs against the way we obtain money to spend on those needs? On what will a grandmother (arrested sometimes in Russia) spend the money she was to obtain from selling her grandson to be slaughtered by human organ traders? What is more precious than human beings that African leaders will deprive them of livelihood and spend money on? Why will a patient prefer to die with a bundle of money tied to his waist instead of using a fraction of that money to pay for medical care? Why is it that prostitution continues to thrive in this era of HIV/AIDS when the women know that they are virtually swapping their lives for money? The simple explanation to the above questions is that we attach more importance to money than the real worth of that money. In our minds, we tend to magnify the value of the money we do not have many folds. This explains the reason we do stupid things because of money only to regret later.
It is a peculiar human characteristic that we can never ever be satisfied with the money we have. Whoever invented money must have been a genius and probably didn’t know that his invention will kill tranquillity and sleep. Money seems to be the only thing that we don’t get fade up with. We will embrace the cfa in Cameroon the same way we will embrace the rupee while in India. No matter the colour, shape, size or origin the attraction of money anywhere on earth is the same. It is the only thing that is loved universally. If we employ half the energy we use in chasing money to seek God we all will be assured of heavenly abode.
Incidentally, the more money you have, the higher the craving for even more money. When you have 100000frs in hand, you tend to believe that 1 million will solve all your problems. If you have a million, you switch your problem solving estimates to 20 million and so forth. The human mind has this particular ingenuity of creating grandiose projects to take care of any amount of money in hand. Some monarchs, aristocrats and the world’s rich have spent fortunes to build mansions containing hundreds of rooms. Forget the fact that they can only sleep on one bed in one room at a time. Imelda Marcos of the Philippines reportedly bought 3000 pairs of shoes for herself when her late husband was president. If she had to put on each of these pairs of shoes a day, she will take close to a decade just to wear each pair of shoes once. We can do strange things to get money and we can do even stranger things with the money we have. The wisest person is that man or woman that really knows why he/she needs money and how much. That is true independence. The rest of us are slaves to money.
Copyright ã 2000 by Njei M. Timah
Njei Moses Timah [e-mail]