WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Friday, March 22, 2019

"Soul beats Money every time."

"It's all about the Benjamins." 

It's a line from a Puff Daddy song. That line got one of our freshman congresswoman in hot water. Of course, she's right, in our version of civilization, our over-stuffed empire, driven by the voracious beast known as capitalism, it's always about the Benjamins. But in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict its a highly contentious statement. Anything even tangential to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is pretty much politically toxic. Is that line "an anti-semitic trope?"

It depends. Who is using the line? Puff Daddy? Your Mother? A Muslim Woman in a head-scarf? Jesus? Does that change the meaning of the line?

I would say it's a essentially just a super-cynical statement, right? A line that mirrors and reaffirms the religion of free market capitalism. Cynical, derived from the Cynics and the philosophy of cynicism:  "a Greek philosophy of the 4th century B.C. advocating the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control and individual freedom, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath the dignity of man."

"It's all about the Virtue, Man..." I mean, all those thriving, seething, needing, wanting capitalists will  surrender it all, virtue, dignity, soul for the Benjamins. As they say, "Everyone has their price."

Ah. So maybe not a just an anti-semitic trope, a much more all-inclusive and damning idea. "It's all about the Benjamins" pretty much describes the economic engine of all modern man's empires. As soon as money was invented, ("The invention of money took place before the beginning of written history"),  human beings totally lost their shit. Yes, no doubt, gladly, willingly, "beneath the dignity of man."

From the King James Bible: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Yes, so if, as they say, "capitalism won," the selling of souls, virtue and dignity is a fait-accompli. We did it on the cheap.

There are exceptions, but, those exceptions pretty much prove the rule, who didn't/doesn't live by the Benjamins? Think of the indigenous people who inhabited America before the White Hordes invaded. Chief Joseph told us you can't own the land, you can't own the sky. That we all answer to higher powers. Well, we stole the land, sold it off, and moved Chief Joseph and his people aside, in the blink of a greedy eye. Also think of the Amish. Those grim folks kind of work outside the paradigm of celebrity-mad, money-crazed, pop culture.

So. No. I don't think it's an anti-semitic trope, or at least, not only an anti-semitic trope, and I wasn't offended when our new congresswoman used the line. It's the human story. Right?! Now, of course, some of us aren't only, or mainly, motivated by money. We value other things like Life, Love, Art, Poetry, Music, Soul. But we get tarred with the same slimy brush. "Everyone's a whore!" Anyone working outside the boundaries of the $$ is suspect. We are the "bad machines," who are working for other meager rewards.

Still, I would like to turn Jim Morrison on his head  and assert that "Soul beats Money every time." But of course we can't buy bread or pay the rent with Soul. We need those Benjamins, dude. Brother, can you spare a dime?! So, I mean, there's that. It's a tangled, sticky web. And we are caught right smack dab in the middle of it.

So yes, it's all about the Benjamins, except when it's not. And we get to choose when it is, and when it isn't, we get to choose what we value and when. We don't have to choose to value what everyone else chooses. Some of us can essentially "do the right thing." But of course, it's gonna cost us. You always have to ask, what's it gonna cost?! And who is gonna believe you when you say you "don't do it for the money, Man, I do it for the love?" How many Benjamins to buy your love?

Then again, laying on our death-bed, running thru last thoughts, how many of us will be thinking to ourselves: "Boy, I wish I worked harder, spent more time working, saving more money, yes, wow, wish I had more money, wouldn't that be great?" Soul!

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