Ivan and I are sitting in front of the window. When I peek over my laptop, I see cars whooshing past, now and then standing still. However, I am not here to peek but to look for work. Besides following vacancies in my field I am now also searching for jobs that have income as the only motivation. The reason is that the coming time our life will be more expensive than the past months, due to the high rent and food prices in England.
Talking about money quickly becomes a bit embarrassing, but on the Dutch Budget Day I think I can risk it. James Buchan says that in all relationships between people trust in money has become a substitute for trust in others (except between close blood relatives). This means that the human factor can disappear. On a broader scale, the gap between humans and nature becomes wider. This is not something of the past few years or centuries. Buchan mentions St. Francis of Assisi, who opposed the view that nature would be subordinate to financial calculation.
And today there is Marianne Thieme, who is wearing a green dress full of banknotes to the ceremony. She protests against the green ‘sales talk’ of the Cabinet. “Talk about green energy is words, not deeds. Money is all that matters, but what good is that when the icecap is melting.”
Economic growth is a sacred goal and a paradigm that does not seem to be questionable. Tolstoy also noticed this when he proposed to use the Sermon on the Mount as a rule of life for society. Don’t collect treasures on earth. Do not resist a person who does evil, but turn the other cheek. Love your enemies and do not judge. People said that his conviction was due to:
… my failing to appreciate the full value of the lofty civilization to which mankind has attained at present, with its Krupp cannons, smokeless powder, colonization of Africa, Irish Coercion Bill, parliamentary government, journalism, strikes, and the Eiffel Tower.
“Christ’s teaching is no use, because it is inconsistent with our industrial age,” says Ingersoll naïvely, expressing in this utterance, with perfect directness and simplicity, the exact notion of Christ’s teaching held by persons of refinement and culture of our times. The teaching is no use for our industrial age, precisely as though the existence of this industrial age were a sacred fact which ought not to and could not be changed. It is just as though drunkards when advised how they could be brought to habits of sobriety should answer that the advice is incompatible with their habit of taking alcohol.
It is up to us to decide how big or small we make the role of money. I think it is important that politicians are not fixated on economic interests and therefore fully agree with Marianne Thieme (translated by me):
Ecology determines the limits to economic growth and not vice versa. At least, if we pursue a sustainable world. But the ecological limits have been far exceeded. That requires moderation, fair distribution and solidarity, instead of rigidly working for economic growth and opportunities for companies without environmental restrictions.
Our own budget will undoubtedly adapt itself to the available money. I try not to be too obsessed with applying for jobs. Maybe I should peek outside more often. To the sunny weather that appears to continue all week, and the fuchsia I planted in the front yard. At least Ivan stays relaxed. He probably pays more attention to the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap … it is the heavenly Father who feeds them.
- Buchan, J. (1997) Frozen desire: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Money
- Thieme, M. (2009) Het gelijk van de dieren, het geluk van de mensen
- Tolstoj, L. (1894) The Kingdom of God Is Within You