The forgotten nature of money

Mammon’s long awaited return to the bosom of Mother Nature

Author: Lothar Gütter
“You cannot serve God and Mammon,” it says already in the Bible. Mammon, which has lost itself in a delimited world and has developed its own cancerous nature. This we use again today as a proper means, embedded in the cycle of life.

Worship of Mammon: »The worship of Mammon« (ca. 1909) von Evelyn de Morgan


In the painting “The Worship of Mammon” by Evelyn de Morgan, an angel falls down in front of a monumental gilded idol. As it were, the angel begs for mercy. The gilded Mammon bows to the angel while triumphantly holding a bag of gold coins toward heaven with his right hand. The painting was came into existence around 1900. It symbolically expresses the signs of the latest times. The downfall of the Occident seems sealed – the divine spirit kneels before the earthly idol.

Mammon represents the allegorical figure of the unbounded worldly way of life in the form of greed and avarice. Money appears as a separate and overpowering entity to which the world is dedicated. The gilded giant has a double character. Giants, by their origin, are earthbound entities. They appeared long before mankind and hold in their massive corpus entire landscapes consisting of mountains and seas, lakes and rivers. But the vile gold varnish that coats the earthy body of Mammon robs the giant of his inner nature. It deprives him of his breath. The once earth guardian stares obsessively at the bulging money bag in his raised hand. Like Prometheus, he challenges the gods. The admonishing angel who wants to hold him back remains unheard.

Die vergessene Natur des GeldesThe forgotten nature of money


Who can imagine that in a handful of garden soil billions of small and micro creatures are at work, doing their life-giving work in cosmic connection every day? It scurries in my hand: soil bacteria, ray fungi, algae, roots, springtails, nematodes, mites, arthropods and snails. They are all helpful helpers without which neither vegetables nor herbs could thrive so beautifully …

As is well known, money rules the world – hardly any phenomenon apart from love occupies us humans as much as “dear money”. It shapes our everyday life in the form of coinage, paper money, credit cards, book money. Recently also in the form of increasingly fictitious money flows of enormous proportions. These are transferred around the globe on a daily basis. Mammonia – the world financial system – seems to be out of control.
From a philosophical point of view, the urgent question arises as to the forgotten nature of money. Is the seemingly overpowering Mammon the essence? Or just a completely derailed manifestation of the modern mind? Is Mammon the god or the idol of our time?


“I would like to live like a poor man with a pile of money.” Pablo Picasso once said that to paraphrase his own art of living. At first glance, this reads like a paradox. Poverty as the very quality of life and the artistic freedom that comes with it, yet also linked to the infinite possibilities of a solid financial base, which in turn classifies as “piles of money.” The dilemma of spirit and money in Picasso’s comment, is explained by the context of Christian culture:

“No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be attached to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

Obviously, already at an early stage of our cultural history there must have been the experience that the phenomenon of money divides people’s hearts. God as the experience of spiritual integrity seems to be incompatible with filthy mammon. From a religious point of view – two contrary worlds meet: the spiritual and the profane. “Money endangers inner freedom,” notes the successful author and Benedictine monk Anselm Grün. He in turn as finance minister of his monastery is enormously successful in marketing books and lectures on questions of economic ethics. It is said he has turned over about 100 million euros in this way. To the benefit of his community, of course, because personal enrichment of a priest is not compatible with the principles of Catholic social teaching.

But a monastery and the community living in it also want to be refinanced. Anselm Grün trades with his honestly earned fees on the stock exchange. He lets money work and sees no violation of his spiritual integrity in it.

Mammon’s long desired return to the bosom of Mother Nature

The herb pyramid in the center of the garden connects earth and sky.

The octagon as form of the garden symbolizes the departure to perfection.

Money, if it is used as a pure means of exchange within the order of life, is not distasteful in its essence. It even facilitates our everyday life and gives us a variety of possibilities. In contrast to the exchange in kind, existing money provides us with the space for the free development of our personality. It becomes difficult with money when it leaves the simple level of an egalitarian means of exchange and takes on an economic momentum of its own. Interfering with people’s natural relationships. Creating energetic interference fields that can damage or even destroy evolved social systems.

“Money is the crowbar of power,” says Nietzsche in provocative exaggeration. It first appears bashfully as a shadow actor. Only to gradually uninhibitedly conquer the glaring limelight of the world. The smartphone, from which global transactions can be made, becomes the spiritual center of the modern financial juggler, from which omnipotent, god-like fantasies can be acted out in the form of “uncovered short selling.” In 2010, 600 trillion dollars were traded worldwide in derivatives. I.e. non-real book money, and the total debt of the world’s states is 100 trillion dollars. Gilded Mammon casts its mighty shadow on Mother Earth and has enslaved all mankind.

But where there is danger, the saving also grows. And we humans as intelligent beings always and at any time have the possibility to see through the motives of Mammon’s totalitarian world domination and also to transform the unleashed money system into a form that makes a good life possible for all people. Looking back into the origins of Western culture can give us a deeper understanding of the forgotten nature of money.


Jetzo rose the sun’ from her shining pond.
Up to the brazen sky, to shine for the eternal gods.
And to mortal men on life-giving earth.

The songs of the Odyssey open in the form of eternal recurrence mantras. Similar to the golden ray of the morning sun. Hence in the ancient epic, this universal valence of the divine cycle of nature is directly given.

What lasts for millennia as natural wisdom is in every man and woman and their possibilities in the very beginnings of philosophy. “There is a sun in every human being, it only depends on making it shine.” Socrates, the father of occidental philosophy, states this at first. And in the sun the masculine hides. The formative principle and it finds its culture-creating expression in the solar calendar. The authority of the solar calendar divides the daily work of the occidental man first into hours, later into minutes and seconds. Being and time enter in this way a deeply effective connection.

The wealth of nature in the greening and blooming garden.

From the Indo-Germanic word “ghel”, which describes the shine of the sun, consequently the Old High German word “gelt” developed over many generations in the sense of “remuneration and income”. And money shines and seduces. It dazzles the observer. And it is reflection. And so in the reflection of the gold it shows the desire of the subjective observer. In it now masculine structured entrepreneurial spirit matures. With gold, the awakening man wants to reach for the stars.


It is not by chance that the sun shining gold as a rare precious metal becomes the preferred medium of exchange of the leading cultures. Thus the cultural peculiarity of gold is explained by its solar history of origin. It developed in the depth of the universe, with gigantic star explosions. So-called Supernovae, which shot compressed gas clouds with enormous energy concentration into the universe. Within these gas clouds a bizarre interplay of elements took place: Nickel changed to copper, palladium to silver and platinum to gold.

During the formation of our planet four billion years ago, impacting asteroid hails deposited these cosmic precious metals in the forming earth crust by . So 30 billion tons of gold particles fell to earth. In each ton of earth soil on the average there are four grams of gold, as extraterritorial particles. To date, approximately 160,000 tons of gold have been mined from the depths of the earth. According to geophysical calculations, there is another 60,000 tons. The rest dissolves in the rock as very fine gold dust, so that recovery is not possible.

This article appeared originally on the German Homepage of Tattva Viveka: Die vergessene Natur des Geldes

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