The following is a bit of a rant. Spare yourself. It’s a bit nuts. I am getting weird. I wrote it because I believe it. Because it is true. And, because I just went to help a non-profit deal with a landlord and came face to face with good humans doing good things but still putting money foremost in their considerations. They have to, they think. They are in the ‘money-making’ business and, as the one said, ‘gotta make a buck, eh?’. I wanted to reply, “No. You don’t gotta. It’s a choice. You can give as well as get, ya know?”
But I didn’t say that. Waste of breath. Foreign concept to the point of a foreign language.
But it made me think…..
If you help and get paid for doing so, aren’t you somewhat diluted in your kindness and caring account? Are you helping someone or selling your service? I mean, is a prostitute in the kindness and caring business? And, if a prostitute is a moral sell out, what then is your doctor? Your lawyer? Your therapist? What then of the institutions that control those professions and do so to maximize income for their members? Are those institutions there for the benefit of society and community or to keep their members wealthy and from being strung up?
Quick gut check for an answer: how do you view the BCMA? The Law profession? POLITICIANS! Courts? Police? Gotta lot o’ love, do ya?
Short answer: Yeah, they care but they have been taught NOT to. They have been counselled to ‘limit their caring’ or else they will burn out (which is partly true). They have been advised to ‘makes sure to first get paid’, ‘fill in the form – get their name and identification number.’ The ‘client’ and their needs or problems is NOT where the attention is focused first. Not ever!
Caring and humanity have left the building.
For the record: if you are hit by a car on the street outside the emergency room of a hospital, no one in the Emergency Department will attend. Rules require an ambulance to bring the victim in. For the record: if your 16 year old is strung out on heroin, you cannot legally snatch him/her and put them in treatment. (Even if you accidentally hit a deer with your car and it is wounded, in pain and lying at the side of the road, you are not legally allowed to ‘put it out of it’s misery’). Doing good? First, get a permit.
None of those rule-following situations are there for the benefit of the victim or even the Good Samaritan trying to help. They are there for the professionals that might be involved later down the process. And those would be those ‘HELPING’ professionals.
Worst-named oxymoronic profession: Conservationist. THEY kill animals!
A doctor friend of mine told me that when being interviewed by the BC Medical Association, the entire conversation was around how to ‘max out’ billing fees, get tax advice and set up RRSPs. Nothing on the Hippocratic oath. Nothing on patient care, nothing on making the system work better, nothing on ‘how to do a good job’. It was all financial advice.
Another way to make the same point: If I do something nice for you and help you, you say thanks and we build a relationship and all is well. If you pay me for the assistance, you are saying, “Here. Take the money. We are now even. Goodbye. Don’t call me, I’ll call you. We are done here.” If I take the money, I am saying, “Fine. I agree.” In effect, the monetary transaction served to separate us. No relationship. So, if money has that effect and the helping professions are all well-paid, are they really helping? If so, who? Or, better put: ‘who first?’
I dunno. I guess it is helping. Kinda. In a corrupted way. But NOT with care, kindness, humanity or compassion. More like ‘management’ than care. It is business because of the monetary transaction. And money separates us. Is the ‘professional perspective’ only a money-getting one? Helping by separation? Is that even possible?
“Dave, what ARE you going on about? Money is a necessary means of exchange and common to our way of life. You are attributing traits and characteristics to it that are in your imagination.”
I guess. Clearly it is a means of exchange. Clearly people have to eat – even lawyers. And clearly our means of distribution and service in large numbers requires that medium-of-exchange otherwise things would not get done. I agree with all that. It is just that in the helping professions care and humanity (and the original motivation) is ALSO severely eroded by the money exchange. And money has that same affect everywhere.
Looking at an exaggeration as an illustration: Trump wants people to pay ‘their fair share’. Wants NATO to pay more. Wants NOT to pay into the UN. The effect of holding off the dogs of war has no value to him. Trump only knows how to measure life in money. He has no decency, no manners, no morals, no honour. He lies and he cheats. And he is rich. I dunno….those two aspects of the elite life seem to have a natural attraction…they seem drawn to one another. Sociopaths and money go hand in hand.
They say a rich man can never get into heaven. But it is a ticket into politics.
Put yet another way, do you trust the super wealthy or powerful to be good people? Well, do you?
Here’s what I really think…I think money was a necessary evil and I think it still is. But it is evil. At all sorts of levels, money is bad. It IS convenient, I will give you that but it is MORE convenient for corporations and governments than it is for Bubba and Joe. And governments and corporations are sociopathic by design. The more we ‘value’ by money and ‘think’ with money, the more money plays a role in our life and makes our decisions for us. And the more absorbed we are into the nightmare that we are currently seeing unfold with climate change and Trumpism and family erosion, drug use, street violence, terrorism, and on and on.
Money may be necessary but it is NOT benign.
Would giving up money and just ‘doing favours’ for one another work better? Strangely, the answer is: that kind of behaviour does seem to work better way out here but, honestly, ‘doing favours’ cannot work without relationship and it is hard to have that in an urban setting. Even harder when dealing with 7 billion people. So, no. Money is here to stay. But the point of this rant is to say, “Do not love money. Love people first. Dogs second. The planet is tied for first and second. Money should be the last thing on a very long list.
These days, it’s first. And that madness is showing up a lot.