Money is a projection screen
Even if it often appears otherwise in everyday life, money is only one thing: a medium — physical or virtual — on to which we project, as if onto a neutral screen, our fantasies, desires, and insecurities. You may think this is a bold statement, given that you know for a fact you need money to pay your rent or mortgage, to buy food, to pay for your holiday. So, what do we mean when we say that money exists in this way and functions through the process of projection?
The object which we call Money has its own intrinsic value as being an object in its own right. Its separate monetary value only comes into existence through human projection. We agree that it qualifies as money: how much of it there is and how much of it you need to acquire something else for it.
Money therefore has no intrinsic worth of its own and in a sense does not exist. At best, we are looking at a piece of printed paper or embossed metal, or, as is more often the case these days, we look at zeros on a computer. In another way, money might be viewed as a promise and only works if we collectively trust in and value this promise.
Money is a cultural construction that functions through projection that we treat as if it were a law of nature.
In contrast, laws of nature are something that man did not invent and that applies equally to all of us, everywhere — whether I believe in laws of nature or not. Unlike money, the role and effect of gravity or radioactivity is not negotiable. But since money is a human invention functioning through collective projection, the assigned value and meaning of money is absolutely negotiable. Since we seem to have forgotten this, we pretend that money is as real as gravity or radioactivity.
To quote Yuval Noah Harari
‘Money is not coins and banknotes. Money is anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services…Money was created many times in many places. Its development required no technological breakthroughs — it was a purely mental revolution. It involved the creation of a new inter-subjective reality that exists solely in people’s shared imagination.’
In other words — money makes the world go round because we choose to trust that it is so.
It is impossible for us to not create projections
Today we know from brain research that what we experience as reality is an internal creation or, in other words, a projection of our consciousness.
Our mind is incapable of recognizing anything that happens without naming it in the same breath. The moment of perceiving reality cannot be separated from the moment of interpretation, or, in other words, the moment of creating reality.
Even if we want it to seem that way, our brain is not a camera that records something. The performance of our brain is most comparable to the latest virtual reality glasses that you can put on your nose. Like a computer, our brain calculates a virtual reality in real time, which then appears on the screen of our glasses. There we usually see what seems logical and consistent to us based on previous experiences i.e. our reality.
Money is just another of our so-called ‘realities’. We do not deal in real matter; we deal in illusions, in projections. However, this fact is not trivial. Every projection has a practical consequence in terms of the experience it creates. For example, my experience with money seems to support my original definition of money, which gives me the feeling of having evidence that money is indeed what said it was in the first place.
Money is not per se what I think it is or what you think it is. It becomes, or appears to become, what one says it is through projection. Projections are circular in nature — they trap us in a hall of mirrors.
Incidentally, the fact that we have projections is not problematic. Projections are a normal and indispensable phenomenon of being human. Projections are our method of wresting meaning from meaningless events and sensory impressions. We cannot not create projections. Moreover, when applied consciously, the process of projection is precisely how we manifest our visions and intentions. When we project consciously, our projections become a tool and facility for our use.
However, when we are not conscious of our projections, which is in many instances the case, things appear to be happening to us as though being caused by external reality or nature, whereas we are actually causing them ourselves, without being conscious of this. This puts us in a state of conviction of a reality beyond question, which is an illusion. We have the feeling of being used by or being enslaved by money. Not only can we then succumb to our personal illusions, but the more other people share these illusions with us, the more real they seem. It’s a true case of the emperor’s new clothes. In terms of money we will say something like, ‘Money makes the world go around’, unaware that it’s we who make this world go around, maybe in ways that we don’t particularly like or agree with, and think someone else or something else, like money, is the cause.
In part 2 of the money series ‘Why Money Makes the World go Round…’, we will explore three different types of ‘money projections’ (the term we shall use for this process) and their consequences in more detail.
CU*money — THE SELF-DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ABOUT MONEY THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING
Maybe you are thinking, ‘Pfff — easier said than done!’ In fact, our unconscious projections are so persistent because our attitude towards money is part of our identity — which is what we will explore in the online coaching programme CU*money. If you would like to take a deep dive into your identity as revealed by your relationship with money, join us on the journey.
Yuval Noah Harari, Money: Vintage Minis, 2018
If you want to know more about moneywork, watch the two videos below:
During this Zoom conference, Nadjeschda Taranczewski explored some core concepts about money, the monetary system and people’s personal history with Peter Koenig, the originator of The Money Work.
The interactive video conference combined a deep conversation between Peter and Nadjeschda, small group reflection and a Q&A session.
During this Zoom conference, Nadjeschda Taranczewski interviewed Rivka Halbershtadt about the effects and representation of money in the body. Rivka also guided us through a series of exercises that will help us to connect with our money reality on a physical level and create a new attention to money — both on the level of the body and the mind.
This article was written by Nadjeschda Taranczewski and Peter Koenig, the creator of the moneywork process.