Sunday, May 27, 2012

What being rich means

At the moment I am studying german thought and philosophy. Right now, specifically about Ernst Jüngers lesser known brother Georg Freidrich Jünger,which I've already written some things about in swedish.

While browsing through G F Jünger's theatrise and text Die Perfektion der Technik, or in english, The failure of technology (1949) I found a quote I wanted to share with you.

It's about the perception of what being rich means. This should at the very least be interesting in the sense of hearing a voice reflecting upon how in his perception language has reformed itself, which equates and reduces being wealthy to having.

"In all Indo-Germanic languages, riches are conceived as a being. In German, "rich" (reich) and "realm" (Reich) are of the same root. For "rich" here means no less than mighty, noble, regal as one finds it in the Latin regius. And Reich is the same as the Latin rex, and the Sanskrit rajan, meaning king. Thus, riches in the original meaning are nothing else than the ruling, regal power and force in man. This original significance has been buried, particularly by the jargon of the economists who equate riches with economic having.

But no one sensing the truth of the deeper meaning would want to accept so vulgar a conception. Possession of money, the sheer having of money, is contemptible, and it always becomes contemptible if it falls into the hands of that poverty which denotes a not-being. Unfailingly, the mark of riches is that they lavish abundance like the Nile. Riches are the regal nature in man which goes through him like veins of gold. Riches can never be created by him who is born only to eat up-the mere consumer." 
- P 11, III The delusion of wealth

A tomb painting, despicting the natural wealth of the Nile river. 

You can read the (out of print) book here:

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