Is Money A Religion?

This is a transcript of a discussion from my Discord server.
https://discord.gg/3rhghRX

The forward ( > ) symbol indicates “responded to”.
Example: Freddy > Jason (Freddy responded to Jason)

dtluna
After watching a lot of Mark Passio’s material and thinking about it over a couple months, I think he’s a cult-like character.

Also, his tendency towards insulting anyone who disagrees with him is not just disturbing, it’s creepy as fuck.

“Money is fake, it’s a religion!” Well, have you read any economics, Mark? Hell fucking no you haven’t.

I think the dude went a little nuts from his being in a satanic cult that he thinks that satanists run the show, however his conception of the power structure is incapable of explaining the fighting between the states and within them.

“If you don’t subscribe to my views about God, you’re a nihilist!”

Also, he has said that fractal shapes you see on acid is some entities or some shit. Yeah, triangles on paper are sentient too.

bbblackwell > dtluna
You’ve not understood Passio’s material. Don’t say you do – the types of criticisms you’re making nakedly reveal that you’ve not studied his work as much as you’re suggesting. He always says, “Listen to the podcasts in order, starting from number 1; what comes later is built upon foundational knowledge.” Have you done this? You absolutely have not. As one who has, I can tell without question that you have not. No problem there – do as you will – but you’re ill-equipped to form an opinion, and outright irresponsible for making it public. No hard feelings, but please go do the work or desist from speaking on the matter. It’s the right thing to do.

dtluna > bbblackwell
Your response is not a concrete criticism of my claims. It’s just “You haven’t read the Bible enough, my son, read it again and you’ll believe”. by the way, those podcasts have terrible quality. Telling me to listen to some cultish dude for days and days while it’s also in terrible quality? I have better use of my time.

Mind you, Passio talks about return on your time investment. If the return on my investment is I become an angry and poor lunatic who likes being called a patriot – then fuck that investment.

bbblackwell > dtluna
The podcast quality gets better as you move along, but that’s rather beside the point if you understand the value of the information. Here, by considering ROI in terms of becoming “an angry and poor lunatic”, you’ve revealed key aspects of your perspective.

Comfort, or experiencing conditions that easily promote feelings of happiness, is being valued higher than true knowledge and understanding. Do you prefer information that makes it easy for you to be happy, rather than knowing the truth? Would you want to know your accountant is ripping you off, even if that upsets you? Concerns over being “poor” shows that you’re hooked into a notion of success that’s defined by material wealth – a culturally-indoctrinated and petty concern relative to true understanding. As to “lunatic”, this is claiming the man’s thoughts are out of alignment with reality, which is to say that he speaks falsely. This assertion would require more evidence, as a sane man in an insane world would appear crazy, but would not truly be so.

And of course, the ad hominem nature of your critique shows that you place undue import upon the messenger, as opposed to concerning yourself with the message. If you’re satisfied with that perspective, that’s fine, but again, refrain from making public commentary about things you don’t understand well enough to offer an informed opinion. I have listened to all of his podcasts, and I could not find a single logical fallacy, or a single instance of unfounded assertion. He offers some opinions, but always differentiates between what he KNOWS and what he BELIEVES, and always explains how he came to his conclusions.

dtluna
“or a single instance of unfounded assertion” —> “Money is a religion”.

Mind you, I agree with a lot of his material.

bbblackwell > dtluna
I will address directly your claims… Saying he’s a cult-like character is insufficiently precise. I don’t know what this means or how it’s relevant to his value as a teacher.

Being “insulting” toward those who disagree with non-aggression, or who remain willfully ignorant is appropriate, to my mind, but is merely a character trait and is irrelevant to the quality of the information he provides.

Saying money is a religion does not demonstrate a lack of economic understanding. Economics is HOW money works; it does not reveal WHAT money IS.

The fact that he was in a satanic cult and broke out of it does not obviate the possibility that satanists run the world; in fact, it puts him in a better position to see that potential fact clearly, if it be true.

His description of the power structure absolutely explains why fighting between states exists – conflict is core to the mentality of the power-monger. There is great economic opportunity in war. War can be a blood ritual, or a devise for culling populations. Etc., etc., etc.

Nihilism is what it is, and would not be consistent with his views about God, and the nature and origin of things experienced within hallucinogenic states is anyone’s guess, so to assume his suggestion is false is just as unfounded as assuming they’re true.

What does it mean to say “money is a religion?” How does he define religion? How do you define it?

dtluna
He defines it is a belief in something fake in a negative sense, Something that holds back from the truth.

bbblackwell
Ok, so does money have intrinsic value? Can you eat it, wear it, etc.? No. So in this sense, it is only a symbol, it does not have real value. And yet, all the world worships money. All their thought is bent upon it; most of their action is motivated by it; they herald it as their savior and highest goal; they are meager servants to it. This is a distraction from truth, thus holding one back from the true knowledge and understanding that would permit their fullest authentic expression.

dtluna
Nothing has “intrinsic value”. Not even this computer I am using to type. And if you studied economics you would know that.

bbblackwell
Ok, yes, but relatively speaking. Is there anything intrinsic to it that we value?

dtluna
Value is subjective, but there are characteristics to this computer that I value. Guess what? Same with money!

bbblackwell
We do not value money. We value what it can buy. Green paper is not valued at all.

Toothcake > bbblackwell
. . . Are you trying to say money is a rational construct? At this rate, language can be dubbed Religion.

dtluna > bbblackwell
money = green paper

bbblackwell > Toothcake
It being a rational construct is not what makes it a religion. People’s behavior surrounding it is the relevant issue.

dtluna
And we DO value money

Toothcake > bbblackwell
At that point I feel you’re widening the net of Religion so wide you’ll catch all sorts of behaviours, but I don’t want to trip up the conversation.

bbblackwell > dtluna
If I give you a pile of money from a now-defunct nation, would you value that gift? Of course not. It’s only what money can buy that is valued, not the money itself. However, a coat is valued for what it provides directly.

bbblackwell > Toothcake
Name any aspect of religion and see if it applies to money. Now, the statement “money is a religion” can be interpreted as metaphor if you take issue with the fact that there’s no supernatural component to the belief – the point still stands. If you want to say that heroin usage is a religion, it would carry the same validity in this context.

Toothcake > bbblackwell
There’s really no liturgy surrounding money. There’s no temple to money; there’s no creation myth, there’s no . . . I think calling something a Religion to somehow criticize it is just a vestige of Hitchens-style polemics. If it is a Religion: so what? Where does this get us in terms of understanding money?

bbblackwell > Toothcake
Well, he defines religion as that which holds one back from truth, and therefore progress toward the most authentic expression of the being. So that’s the “so what?”. But yes, there is a bit of metaphoric extrapolation in the statement. Temples and creation myths are not required for something to be a religion. Liturgy as ritual is present, however, as people’s whole lives are pretty much a mass service to money. The “daily grind”, as it were, is merely that. The overwhelming majority perform this in service to money; in an attempt to garner its blessings.

Toothcake
Well, I’d reject the first premise as you can clearly see I have the religious role. I think that gets more into epistemology or what Mr. Alan Watts is trying to get at as true or untrue.

bbblackwell
Tilling a field is not the same thing as filing papers so you can buy stuff. The former is directly related to the goal, the latter is an indirect route to the goal.

“Religion” is differentiated from true spirituality in Passio’s definition, and I think there’s sound basis for that.

Toothcake > bbblackwell
You’ll have to forgive me as I’m mostly read in Enlightenment era stuff. I certainly consider myself religious, but I reject the claims of a “spiritual” substance. For me, the soul is just the sum-total of our experiences and imaginations.

Religion is cited as an indirect method toward the related matter (be it spiritual or not). That’s the key concept that links it to money. Wear this hat, say these words, come to this place, eat these foods on these days… all indirect means toward connecting with what’s being sought.

Money works the same way. Sell these cookies, so you can get this paper, so you can convince someone to give you a hat. Selling cookies is not making a hat.

Right, I see what you’re saying. I think this a valid position to hold.

bbblackwell > Toothcake
Even if only metaphorical, I think the point stands. Metaphor isn’t true or false, it’s intended to make a point, and I agree that the point is made by that statement, regardless of the particulars.

Toothcake > bbblackwell
I agree that it is. There’s definitely a very important thing being got at that it is, culturally, similar in many respects. Independent of the Theology or Economics at play.

bbblackwell > Toothcake
Cool. I can see how some find Passio appalling, but I think it’s imprudent to allow his style to divert attention away from his message.

He’s angry and frustrated, though with good cause (if anything may be cited as good cause for that). Some allowances should be made. Hahaha

dtluna > bbblackwell
“If I give you a pile of money from a now-defunct nation, would you value that gift?”

Money is defined by what it does, not what it looks like. Cattle used to be money, as well as grain. And bitch I ain’t accepting cows as a medium of exchange.

bbblackwell > dtluna
Hahahaha OK. But money doesn’t actually DO anything. You hand it to someone, and they usually will give you something in return, but they could just as easily NOT do that. A coat warms. Food fills the belly. Nothing can stop that from happening.

Toothcake
Barter economy evolving into currency is, unfortunately, shakey grounds. It’s completely a priori. One can dispute this sort of evolution happened at all.

dtluna > bbblackwell
Money acts as a medium of exchange, so it definitely DOES something. The physical manifestation of this medium can be different.

bbblackwell > dtluna
I get why people say “Hey, money is just a means of exchange” – Yes, in a lovely world, that’s what it is, but it’s indirect (one can even say “false”) nature makes it succeptible to the evil machinations of the unscrupulous.

Toothcake
Let me try to sort this out if I may. I would propose that objects can hold two forms of reality.

(1) Formal reality is the reality that something has by virtue of being what it is.

(2) Objective reality is the reality soemthing has by virtue of representing what it represents to us.

I think bbblackwell is pointing out currency holds far more objective reality than formal. Whereas food or clothing has more formal. All value is subjective. And I may value food for something else than satisfying hunger.

You mean to say all value is “objective” in that it has object but no form. Of course, I agree that food has a physical characteristic of satisfying hunger. Providing nutrition, if to be more precise.

dtluna > bbblackwell
if you want to criticize fiat currency — no problem here.

bbblackwell > Toothcake
This distinction is important because it’s that “indirect” nature that provides fertile ground for the trouble.

Toothcake > bbblackwell
I am in agreement. One will notice things with more Objective reality are cause for trouble. Looking at politics, here.

dtluna
We value money because we can use money to get other valuable things. But what for do we value a computer, for example?

bbblackwell
More important that all this is the point that Passio is actually making, which is not so much about the nature of money, but rather it’s current usage or effect in society.

dtluna
I agree that money should not be put above all else. That is a valid point.

bbblackwell
It’s nature is relevant because it allows for the problems we see.

dtluna
Lol, no

Toothcake
It’s also foundationally important for Mr. Alan Watts’ argument, if I had to guess.

dtluna
It’s like saying that food allows psychopaths to sustain themselves. So food is to blame. Money is a tool.

Toothcake > dtluna
No, that’s not true because we’ve already established one is objective, the other formal.

dtluna
And I distinctly remember Passio’s point about tools.

Toothcake
We’re distinguishing between the subjects* in a metaphysical way and building from there. To be precise I should say subjects.

bbblackwell
Well, it’s more that money, being indirect, obfuscates the truth of the matter and makes it a useful tool for tyrants and immoral opportunists. Allowing ourselves to get lost in the illusion is similar to how religion is often handled – getting stuck on the bus, instead of getting off at the destination.

dtluna > bbblackwell
“Oh I’m just paying taxes” and then the sheeple can say that they’re not responsible for allowing mass murder, if that’s what you mean.

bbblackwell > dtluna
That’s a good example.

dtluna
Then I agree.

bbblackwell
I did not think of that. Cool. Well, you watch AMP’s channel, so I knew we couldn’t be THAT far apart. hahaha

dtluna > bbblackwell
But still, everything except one thing is indirect actually, Even knowledge itself.

bbblackwell > dtluna
That’s very true. And there’s a lot of problems surrounding that as well. hahaha

dtluna
Only happiness is valuable by itself.

Toothcake > dtluna
That’s what we call a SPICEY knowledge-claim. I would harshly disagree happiness has “form,” at all.

dtluna > Toothcake
what do you mean by form?

Toothcake > dtluna
It isn’t physical. It’s a feeling.

dtluna
Yes I agree.

Toothcake
Yeah, so it has no form. Tables have form. Bodies have form. Happiness is an idea, etc.

dtluna
It’s a distinct state of mind, but it’s not physical

bbblackwell
Happiness – an improved emotional state – is born of authentic expression of the being. So I guess we can say it’s a circumstance. An experience.

Toothcake
That’s also possible depending on the framework, yes. I would agree you can experience happiness.

dtluna
Experience, circumstance, state of mind — to me that’s all the same.

bbblackwell
Yes.

Toothcake
Well, you might want to be aware of these different categories lest someone tries to pull a fast one.

bbblackwell
It all gets rather muddy on that front, as we have no access to “objective” reality, but by subjective means, and life could just be a dream, and yadda yadda

Toothcake
Because then anyone could come along and say they “experienced” [Insert visions or dreams] and that this is therefore the same as . . . reality.

bbblackwell
It’s the reality of an experience, but that need not have relevance to anyone else, but as a curiousity.

dtluna
In a way, hallucinations and delusions are real, you just need to understand the context in which they are part of reality. Reality is that which exists, and hallucinations exist, therefore they are part of reality.

bbblackwell
Yeah, subjective beings need to know their role – we can’t really speak to “reality” in any context other than experience.

Toothcake
Well yeah, they’re imaginative ideas that are produced by the self; rather than experienced in an external world.

dtluna
Hallucination is a state of mind where an individual has an innacurate representation of reality in their mind.

Toothcake
This is true.

bbblackwell
Great stuff. See you guys later.

Toothcake
See ya!

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