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Holten: Those things that have value

"Life is a team effort no matter what, and greed puts you out on a lonely limb," writes Kevin Holten.

Kevin Holten
Kevin Holten
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Do you know what currency is? According to Mr. Dictionary, currency is a system of money in general use in a particular country. Of course, currency by itself is nothing. In fact, you might think that a dollar bill, for example, is just a printed piece of paper. Rather, it is a blend of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. Nevertheless, you’re right, it has absolutely no value.

For traders, currencies are nothing more than the units of account of various nation states, whose exchange rates fluctuate between one another. Currency value is determined like any other good or service in a market economy – through supply and demand. In other words, it’s all about how bad you want something. Right now, the Canadian dollar is worth 34 cents more than the American dollar. That’s not normal. In fact, on September 20, 2007, the Canadian dollar reached parity with the US dollar for the first time in close to 31 years.

Meanwhile, like the linen and cotton dollar bill that has no value, there are a couple of other things that have reached inflationary levels today, which some people mistakenly think offers a lot of value, but really has none.

Those two things are greed and ego. Two things that are the driving force for so many people in the world today, and the source of so many problems. Mr. Dictionary says that greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. And it certainly is that. But it doesn’t start out that way.

Ego is the seed that eventually grows into greed. Like wheat, one kernel of ego can produce up to 50 kernels of greed. And it all starts out innocently enough. A kid progresses through high school and college and then gets a real job. He’s paranoid about supporting himself so he works extra hard and puts in long hours. Then he falls in love, gets married and has a child or two. Now the pressure to succeed has been ramped up threefold. And during tough times, he might even give into some unethical practices, kiss up to his superiors and/or do whatever it takes to succeed. Now he’s on the greed expressway, and rather than think of himself as being greedy, he justifies his practices by referring to himself as being competitive. He dresses his greed up as a socially acceptable win at all costs, attitude.

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But what he eventually learns is that greed has no value. Not even in this world system. Because life is a team effort no matter what. And greed puts you out on a lonely limb. And when that last day approaches and you examine your life, you start to add up your life’s currency and suddenly realize that your account is empty. As Socrates once said, “He who is not content with what he has, would not be content with what he would like to have.”

So then, the question is, what puts value into your Heavenly account. What is it that we are to live for? And the answer is one simple word. We are to live for “others”. Because the fact is, if success and money is what you strive for, it’s like Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”

So don’t even get started down that road.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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