Value, Emotion, and Money

TL;DR, Summary, Breakdown

  • What is value?
  • Philosophical, sorry, but I do get to an answer… and I think it’s pretty rad.
  • Skip to the end if you don’t like to, don’t have time to think. YMMV.

What is value? Are emotion and value the same?

She says no. I say yes.

The value of a sack of grain to a starving man is to sate his hunger. The value of a dollar to someone who needs a dollar is to fulfill a need, too.

—Is fulfillment of a need the same as emotion? No. Emotion is the manifestation of the need, itself.

Is value in the fulfillment of an emotion? I think it is. When I eat, my hunger is sated. The food I ate has value. When I read, my need to understand or be entertained is fulfilled. The book I read has value.

So, value is not the same as emotion, but it is inseparably linked with emotion.

—In this money is useful as an abstraction to fulfill many needs, present and future.

—In this, we are able to see when we have enough grain: when we fill our storehouse for winter. Then we can rest, we can find fellowship with others, we can give away our excess grain and build trust, friendship.

Yet, money is abstract. It’s harder to see when we have enough money. Our bank is never full. Grain has a shelf life. With money, we can save for our kids’ education. Then we start thinking about saving for a legacy. If we do this, our dreams can never transition from taking care of ourselves to taking care of others.

She was right. Emotion and value are not the same. Yet, they are inseparably linked. Value is the precursor to emotion. It is the ability to move someone, maybe ourself, maybe someone else.

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