Money & the Meaning of Life /2
April 21, 2009, 13:39
Filed under: Money | Tags: , , , ,

The reason I’m not very good with positive intentions when it comes to money is that, other than very basic needs like shelter and food, I don’t really know what I want. The material world seems so unreal to me. That doesn’t mean I’m a Buddhist. I’m a existephobe.

an existephobe

My relationship to the material world simply makes no sense. I wish it did but it doesn’t. I’ve never been able to come up with a concrete plan of just how I’m going to survive materially nor any clear notion of where my next paycheck is coming from. Even when I owned a business and had twenty people working for me, every time we were able to make payroll or pay the rent I felt it was nothing short of a miracle, that it had far less to do with anything I did than it did with some kind of divine intervention. That’s why I always have a ticket in the lottery. Even if I don’t know precisely what it is I want, I believe that if you don’t have your hand out your hand will remain empty.

You might ask, how is it that a existephobe can own a business? Isn’t that like an arachnophobic having spiders for pets or an ouranophobic believing  in the rapture? In a way you would be right. My owning a business was a kind of convoluted and somewhat shadowy way of dealing with my existephobia. From an early age I developed a very pragmatic relationship to the material world, kind of like negotiating a peace treaty with a colony of spiders. I learned to live on very little, to demand very little of the physical universe, and what I did have I managed with the tenacity of a miser. It was all about being safe.

You can never be too safe

You can never be too safe

The longer I could hold onto a $1 bill, the longer I could ward off another attack of existephobia. When it comes to money I can be quite anally retentive! I got myself into business inadvertently, in that I didn’t go into business because I wanted to go into business––like I said an arachnophobic doesn’t cuddle up to spiders––but being a designer I decided very naively to open a studio and then had employees and then it got bigger and then someone had to deal with the business and no one else wanted to do it so I had to do it––it was hell. (Hagiophobia, a fear of hell. I have that too big time!) In fact it always felt like the room was crawling with spiders! But like ancient Chinese wisdom recommends: keep your friends close but keep your enemies even closer! I managed the survival part of the business in such a way that I could keep my eyes off the bottom line as much as possible without jeopardizing the studio. Sort of like how Seymour Glass told Buddy to keep his eye off the marble if he wanted to win. My accountant who has lots of zillionaire clients once told me that I was able to squeeze more out of a $100 than anyone he knew which he thought was ironical because I was forever on the brink of going broke. The irony was that while I could manage the $100 I  couldn’t get serious about making more. Being an existephobe, whenever I thought of how we were going survive or if maybe I should go out and get more clients I’d panic after which I’d spend several days picking myself up off the floor. It felt much better to think that somehow everything would magically work out and surprisingly it usually did. When you’re an existephobe you need to constantly devise clever strategies to think as little as possible about how you’re going to survive in the material world and the way that works best for me is a metaphysical trust in divine intervention kind of relationship––at least so far!


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