My brother is obsessed with money and I feel like the sole reason he works is to make money,

I think in your work you should aim for goals of higher value ie. not only should you earn money but your work should also improve other people’s lives some how.

But I’m not sure how to phrase this or explain this to him clearly, or maybe someone has a idiom for this, some saying or some story. Maybe you have a good YouTube clip

Your help would be appreciated

Thanks, Ben


4 Answers 4


The persuit of money is actually a persuit of power. This can be in the forms of power over people, or more specifically the that other people can recognise their power. Keep in mind that i am using power in the context of having authority over other people, things and your own life.

It could be seen as the persuit of ego. The abilitly to buy things that other can’t and to then see their envy/admiration of that item/experience and want it, which leads to the person thinking they will want him as well.

Alternatively, it could be a response to a childhood where they struggled or the person wanted for thing. Hence they work for money so that they can have these things and maybe let their families have the things they never had.

The underlying theme is that in a capitalist society a condition of compition will always tie power to currency.


The Aristotelean tradition also criticizes the solitary pursuit of wealth. Here's Aquinas' version of the argument. .

Briefly, following Aristotle, Aquinas distinguishes "natural" and "artificial" wealth. Natural wealth refers to the general resources that humans need to live: "food, drink, clothing, cars, dwellings, and such like." (This is a translation from the 1910s. Apparently "car" used to mean any form of transportation.) Artificial wealth refers to money. Both kinds of wealth have no intrinsic value; they're only valuable because they're good for other things. Natural wealth is valuable only because we need it to preserve human life. Artificial wealth is valuable only because it makes it easy to exchange goods. So it makes sense to seek out money — but only for the sake of using it to pursue further goods. Money has no value by itself.

It's also important that, for Aristoteleans, the good life is coherent, and failures to lead a good life are incoherent. In other words, we shouldn't be surprised that the endless pursuit of money tends to mess up other parts of our lives. We might neglect our friends and family. We might fail to develop other, more valuable parts of our lives, like artistic, athletic, or intellectual talents. We might become so stressed and anxious that we fall into other problems, like alcoholism or drug abuse. We might become callous and indifferent to suffering, especially the suffering that we cause in the pursuit of money. If some of these things are true in your brother's life, you might try pointing that out to him. Is he really happy pursuing money if it means, say, his children hate him, he never has time to write anymore, and he's going to drink himself to death?


When we work, we give something and receive something. When we love, the exact same thing happens. When we buy an apple, the exact same thing happens. Such exchanges of something are called interactions. You can take a look to references and my draft of a theory of interaction on http://ydor.org. It would be related to the theory of systems.

When two entities interact, each one can get a positive or negative benefit. Win-win is one of nature's amazing phenomenon. Under normal conditions, job/work is a win/win exchange. Your brother wins money, his clients win some service/product. Win/win exchanges end up in interactions being repeated.

The big problem regarding to earning money raises on win/lose situations. Win/lose is also a common result, which is perfectly achievable and positive on the short term (you can steal ONE wallet an perhaps pass unnoticed). The problem becomes on the long term: win/lose cause interactions to cease repeating. On simple words, your brother can get temporary high benefits from some clients which end up losing, but soon he will lose all chances to continue interacting with any other clients.

And here's the point to your question: your brother future commercial interaction trends depend on his focusing: to give (tends to win/win) or to receive (tends to win/lose). Imagine he's a doctor. Focusing on receiving will cause him to use less resources on healing (patients lose) in order to earn more (he wins). Focusing on giving will cause him to use the best resources on healing, despite minor earnings. When someone focuses on giving, the possibilities of a win/win outcome grow exponentially. When focusing on receiving, win/lose is sure to happen. Clients will lose, but on the long term, your brother will lose all clients, and harm definitely his reputation.

That means that working for money, in addition to be a waste of time, causes a social damage and leads to poverty on the long term. On the other hand, working to help the others, making minor initial earnings is the natural right way of making long-term big earnings. The practical difference lies on the intention: to help himself or the others. It is not a philosophical approach, but an economical behavior. The "giving" approach seems also ecological, since it is just an imitation of the behavior of natural entities.

The only way to make big money with permanent easy earnings is to cheat people and switch quickly to another type of business and habitats, repeating the process constantly, which is moreover the common approach of making big money (drug trafficking, pyramidal schemes, etc.). But usually this leads to heavy legal issues on the mid-term, and a possibly a big frustration, since the person cannot develop itself, but live fleeing formal and informal justice.


Your question reminds me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave (even pretty much in the story format you requested). I would do it an injustice by simply recapping it here, so I will provide the link.

As I see it, your brother is "in the cave" and consumed by these materialistic "illusions." Meanwhile, you see a different purpose for your life and perhaps have succeeded in escaping the cave.


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