We start off today's meditation with a quote from Alan Watts on money and wealth, but I want to start this blog post with a different quote of his - he says that we are all constantly "making the mistake of thinking the sun rises because it's 6am."
His point is subtle - the label of 6am (or whatever time the sun rises) is a human concept; it's how humans put some structure around the passing of time. Obviously, what causes the sun to appear to rise is the spinning of the earth juxtaposed with our particular position on it - so that for us, at 6am, the sun can be first seen in the sky. But over time, we tend to forget that the keeping of time is shorthand for our physical location as the earth spins and moves through space - the human concept of how time is measured takes primacy over our understanding of what the human concept is shorthand for.
Maybe we notice this when daylight savings time kicks in and ends, where we think we're gaining or losing an hour. This is true in a sense, by the conventional measures of how we keep track of time with a 24 hour clock, but of course it's not like the earth is spinning any differently during that hour!
If that seems obvious or lost on you, apologies. It's hard to even talk about the mistaking of human concepts for reality in a medium that is a human concept (language), but maybe it's easier to do so when it comes to money and wealth.
We've been socialized to assume they're practically the same thing, so much so that we're constantly mistaking one for the other. Of course, money alone is useless - it can't be eaten, worn for clothing (unless you're quite the craftsperson), or used to build a shelter (or at least one that's waterproof :).
More deeply, the primacy of money in our society means we tend to unknowingly devalue the full experience of wealth, which speaks to a holistic sense of abundance. Abundance in money but a poverty in love, connection, and community is hardly wealth. And as society, there is no room to ask fundamental questions, like do we, as a people, derive more wealth from chopping a forest down for economic gain or leaving it as is to explore and enjoy? (And that's not a dogmatic call to environmentalism, but merely pointing out the fact that our language and political economy generally don't make room for those sorts of inquiries.)
What is wealth, and what is the difference between wealth and money? That is what we're going to explore in our meditation today. You can access it on the app or by hitting play below - and as a bonus, enjoy the Alan Watts video snippet set to some nice music. :)