Earn an income. Not a living. And live. Consider what what language was handed down to us might be doing to us. Then go earn an income. Not a living.
For if you’re reading this or hearing it, you’re living. Already. We are gifted life, needing no more to “earn” it. Or aren’t you?
“Earn” in English
The English language expression that we’re all used to is what our forbears spoke. And handed to us. “Earn a living.” As you already know, it means to get the “means of subsistence.”
So you can live?
According to Merriam-Webster, “living,” predates “livelihood,” in the sense of “earning money in order to live.” The former had its first use in the 14th century. The latter, “livelihood,” in the 15th.
These Middle English ancestors had equated money to life.
And now we agree that without money we cannot live. We’ve elected money.
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Answering Every Need
Even the Bible shares a similar sentiment!
Bread is made for laughter, and wine makes life enjoyable; but money answers every need. — Eccl. 10:19
The parallelism in the quoted lines has the effect of, “yeah, you can desire fun and joy all you want and can, but, boy, how much none of those for you without money!”
So without money? Kpako! Nothing for you!
The way I think of it, and in light of the Bible’s general view of money, as a root of evil, money “answers every need” in that it’s man’s de facto means of exchange.
We elected money.
If you wanted to satisfy a basic need like bread, you have to buy it. Even if you’re a baker, you still have to buy ingredients. Even if you planted all the ingredients, you still have to buy seeds or pay for labor.
In one way or another, we must pay for things.
Because we elected money.
But does that mean our life or living is dependent on money? Or emanate from money? Does money equal life, so that to live is to earn money, so to earn a living?
See what the language is doing to us? I think it’s dangerous.
Why I Say Income, Not Living
In my writing and speech, I’ve disciplined myself to saying, “this is how I earn an income.” Where I earn an income. Why I earn an income.
Income, never living.
By the time you’re reading this, know that the guy who wrote it lived some 30 years without any money he could call “my money!” “My hard-earned money,” as some would boast.
No, I didn’t earn, as in work to be paid, to deserve, any of the money that went into keeping me alive.
All the money that brought me this far…
But I lived. The life I was gifted. Been gifted. Am gifted. From conception. To now. I lived. I live.
We all do.
I became 30! Then…
And of course, call it philosophical, but we could have lived (even better lives) without money. We can!
But we elected money.
So, since we elected money, for exchange, and must make exchanges for things we need, then we need money. For now. For things we need, we need money.
But for life?
We’ve been gifted life. Thank you Dr. God!
We already have life. Are living. Living is the livelihood. I don’t know of another. I hope you unlearn doing so. I hope you unteach yourself the language that equated living to money. In order to live.
It’s why I say income.
That is, what comes in (in money form), at least for now, from what work we do. I do. And, still, I work, not just to earn an income, in order to live, but for love of the process, which also contributes to life.
To love whatever I do.
Then with income, I can make an exchange for a need. Sure. But my life, which I always have and will always have, does not emanate from money.
Neither does yours.
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