Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Sixth Sense

It seems to me that I lack one of the essential senses that is needed in the modern world to survive and thrive - a sixth sense of sorts. Of Money.

I am unable to sense how much does something costs, in terms of money. Unable to sense the value of something, in terms of money. I can only sense the pleasure/loss/pain from my five sensory senses and my emotions, which was probably adequate in some antiquated time, when money was not currency for every worldly thing.

Money by itself gives me no pleasure. Nor does losing it give me a sense of pain. What matters to me is the way I get pleasure when I buy an experience through money, or face pain by an emotional hurt when either a experience is denied to me since I did not have money, or the distress I feel when I am cheated out of it by someone I loved and trusted. When I cause someone else's money to be lost or used, either due to my bad advice or judgement, I feel an enormous amount of guilt though. None of that happens when I am blow up or gamble away my own money. It is as if I excuse myself with impunity of the bad decisions/judgement I make on money which is my own. I don't give myself the same immunity of excuse when dealing with others money. It is almost the other way around with people.

I do know what money means, but in abstract terms, not in visceral ones. Coming as I do from a "marwadi" family, my non-visceral understanding of money is a severe disadvantage. Everyone I meet professionally, expects me to be well versed with money matters. Specially my own, and also specifically so since I am an entrepreneur, supposedly someone who only credo is making money. I am an entrepreneur alright, but my credo is my work, my vision of what I am trying to create, my art if one can call it that - and I wish to make money through that. Not by any other means, but in the only way I respect of making money, by creating an artistic value, by creating something that is beautiful and functional both. I am idealistic enough (foolish enough, I call that in moments of sanity) to believe that money will come, if I create some experience that appeals to at least one of the senses for my potential customers and clients. Money by itself is not the end, the enhanced experience that I create for my customers and clients is. The only reward that I crave for.

I have often been cheated by fellow professionals and so called business partners, who assume that I must have taken care of my money first and foremost. They assume a certain money sense in me, and with impunity cheat me out of money that I trust with them. They assume that I would have gotten value out of them before I give money to them. Not so. I normally give money for value that I expect in the future. I have no other protection against thievery, other than a child like faith that the person I trust will abide by the emotion of trust I have placed with him. Consequently, I lose not only my money, but my trust and emotions as well. Its happened to me several times, this brazen misappropriation of my trust. Unfortunately, despite trying, I am not able to have a adequate perspective about money.

When others give me money for whatever reason, it weighs me down, and binds my soul. I am wary about accepting dinner invites, gifts from people, and even taking money for work rendered. I feel indebted to people who give me money - earned, reciprocated, bestowed, inherited - the reason for my having taken the money does not matter. In most cases, I have earned it. But still, if someone has given me money, I feel indebted to him/her for life. I then work my darndest to repay the debt, but though the money is perhaps paid back in full measure, I can't get over the feeling of being indebted. I can try gifting stuff back, inviting people over and over again to pay back their food debt, give stuff to them that I love and cannot bear to part with in desperation of the debt I feel, sometimes even money that I cannot afford to give - but there is no escaping from the feeling. I feel weighed down. Forever.

On the other hand, I hold no such expectations when I give money. That is given in love, with hope and with trust. In fact, I have issues in making people do things for tasks I have given money for. I find my employees cheating me, my maids cheating me, my partners pilfering money from customer accounts, and though all of this makes me really mad, I do not find that morally reprehensible, which it is.

I am just plain weird about money.