Many people will recognize this famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, by Salvador Dali. It was painted not long after Albert Einstein developed his Theory of Special Relativity that challenged long-held beliefs about time and how it relates to the world around us.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that money has very similar abstract characteristics, including an odd relationship with time. I first encountered this concept in college at the University of Southern Mississippi when a professor introduced us to the “Time Value of Money” and the “Six Functions of a Dollar.”
These concepts are centered around the idea that the present value of a dollar is higher than the future value of a dollar. This same wisdom has been passed down by previous generations in the insightful maxim that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The Bible is replete with warnings about ascribing too much value to money yet many of us spend most of our time trying to get it. Few accurately remember the widely quoted (or misquoted) verse about its relation to evil.
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
I would contend that the seemingly never-ending pursuit of money that consumes our time is not borne out of greed or materialism but out of love for others. Most of the men I know have a deep sense of obligation to provide for their families, which requires a lot of time working. The same thing holds true for women. Try finding a woman who prepares a meal for her family and sits down at the table to eat first. Good luck with that.
There are exceptions. Some fall prey to the illusion that money is the telos (in Greek philosophy), or end – and not the means-to-an-end. The gravitational pull that threatens to draw us all into this orbit of belief is subtle and presents an ever-present danger which we must all guard against, especially those of us whose occupation requires a determined and persistent contemplation of the nature of time and money.
As always, I would welcome your feedback and reflective thoughts. Happy Friday!