food, sex & money

Thousands have lived without love, none without water.”

– W.H. Auden

It has been said that there are three areas of our lives which tends to promote anxieties and depression: food, sex & money. Food, sex & money are of primary value in the context of personal and social survival. When belly full, sex satiated and money in the bank, what drives you? What ignites your fire, your passion, your interest, your joy? More of the same is to spin wheels in survival behaviors that keep you where you are. There is more to life than survival. Malaise is a common symptom of spinning wheels, and getting nowhere. Unlike money, food and sex are primarily biological. Food and sex are also psychelogical, and sociological, as the interplay between biology, psychelogy and sociology, is intricate. Physical sex is often less frequent than psychelogical sex as evidenced by the popularity of pornography. Social attitudes about pornography often only serve to increase the appeal of that which is ‘not talked about.’

Money is primarily sociological, though it certainly influences knots of thoughts about sex and food. With money, you can buy food, and sex. Food and sex is exchanged for money.  Food and sex are tangible. Money is more abstract. What is money? Money is more than coins in the pocket or numbers in the account. Money is what those coins or numbers represent. In most cases, money represents power and prestige, control and command. When money is low, the drive to power and prestige, control and command, can, and often does, express itself through sex, and food. Promiscuity and over eating are not unrelated ways in which a person can exert some semblance of control, if even in ways detrimental to well-being.

Food is perhaps the most important of the three for without food, there is no sex, or money; there is no personal daily life. Of course, without sex, there would be no personal daily life either, or money, or food. Obviously, food is a fundamental survival need. Food, however, is predicated on soil, seed, sunlight and water. Many civilizations through time have revered and worshipped soil, seed, sunlight and water. It’s easy to completely ignore the factors that go into the food on your dinner plate. In addition to soil, seed, sunlight and water, there are farmers, packagers and distributors. The tradition of acknowledging the incredible importance of food and all that goes into having it on your plate in front of you is long standing in most all cultures. If your relationship with food is not so good, perhaps a little reverence would go a long way in making that relationship whole.

Sex, as genital intercourse, is the rocket fuel that propels the species through time. Religious and puritanical impositions upon sex has distorted attitudes and understandings to the point of it being considered a ‘sin.’ If sex is a sin, then the sun is a devil. Sex, in addition to being a biological experience, is also psychelogical experience, as mental fantasy. How often does fantastic psychelogical sex occur in a mental day? And, what social impact does that subjective fantasy have on both objective biology and the collective social sphere? There is little doubt that one’s state of mind can impact one’s sexual experience just as one’s sexual experience can impact one’s state of mind. And, one’s state of mind impacts one’s social sphere, which impacts one’s state of mind. The interplay and interdependence of food, sex and money is as significant as is the interplay and interdependence of the biosphere, the psychesphere and the sociosphere, all of which contribute to one’s sense of ‘self.’ If your relationship with sex is survival, perhaps a little perspective would go a long way in making it whole. Money is basically trade, a bartering of goods and services.

Trade and exchange is as old as social units. Social living is for giving and for getting. Forgiving and forgetting can be liberating; it can generate wealth, in a more psychelogical sense. The word ‘money’ is a derivative of the old language word ‘manas’ which represents the memory aspect of mind. Money and memory go together like a canvas and a painter or furniture in a home. The barter system of trade and exchange has deep roots. As social units expand, barter becomes more difficult.

Finding people to barter with is a time-consuming process…this reason was a driving force in the creation of monetary systems – people seeking a way to stop wasting their time looking for someone to barter with…. The assignment of monetary value to an otherwise insignificant object such as a coin or a promissory note, arises as people acquired a psychological capacity to place trust in each other and in external authority within barter exchange….After the domestication of cattle and the start of cultivation of crops in 9000–6000 BC, livestock and plant products were used as money. However, it is in the nature of agricultural production that things take time to reach fruition. The farmer may need to buy things that he cannot pay for immediately. Thus the idea of debt and credit was introduced, and a need to record and track it arose.” (Wikipedia)

Despite the fascinating history of money, it is often today, along with food and sex, a ‘neuro-cognitive’ stimulation which evokes emotions, in many cases, strong emotions, strong survival level emotions. Food, sex and money can even become eroticized and such neuro-erotic cognitive patterning is referred to as ‘neurotic.’ Erotic is the experience of Eros, aka, Cupid.  We fall in love with…..the other person; or, in the case of neurosis, we fall in love with food, or with sex, or with money. We fall in love with survival. In other words, the neurotic continues to compulsively strive for survival when such striving is not only no longer necessary, but an impediment, to go beyond survival. If we have formed strong intellectual and emotional attachments of being an adolescent, we won’t become an adult. We if we love the familiar we may tend to then avoid the new.

If your relationship with money, or food, or sex is neurotic, the dysfunction is not about food, sex & money. It is a failure of imagination to see a life beyond survival that excites and stimulates natural intelligence. Imagination is a feature of an animated mind, if it’s not sclerotic. Imagination is to be in the magic nation of novation, newness, freshness. It is free without limits. In this magic nation of imagination, creative artistic license is employed to reorganize, rearrange, reform, reframe, revise, reconfigure, remodel, redesign, recreate and, generally, redo existing material, into, if not something original, then at least conducive to well-being. 

The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction.”

– Alfred Adler


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