These excerpts are extracted from Jacob Needleman’s book, Money and the Meaning of Life, New York: Currency Doubleday, , Chapters 13, 14 & Amit (Host): Today, our guest is none other than Jacob Needleman, someone who really embodies today’s theme and hopefully we’ll be able to. Called Money and the Meaning of Life, the author is Jacob Needleman, a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University.

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I know very closely connected to your sense of money and the primacy of money in organizing one half of our nature, you have also written quite a bit about the problem of time.

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. In the literature of the founding fathers, Madison, Jefferson and even Washington and Franklin, you will see the inner world one way or the other being strongly jackb forward. One of the first steps in balancing those two worlds, material and spiritual, was really self honesty.

It seems that something I said touched him and stayed with him all these years. We have an llfe nation or entire world submerged in illusions that can be very dangerous and very hurtful and destructive.

Almost one half of our nature, the life of outer action, of family, of wealth, of comfort, of health, of action, of creativity in the world and the other nature is rather different.

The wisdom you impart in that book! It’s a spiritual practice to give somebody grace in terms of finance. The conversations that you hear or the difficulty you need to face in this business of non-profit… Inwardly you don’t have to be noisy.

The seer the witness within ourselves is not of the same reality as that which it is witnessing. The ego experiences it as a kind of stoppage. Not because love is close to fear, but because love is close to consciousness. Is it to codify the illusions that you have about what’s good and what’s bad?

If the search for conscience is forgotten, American democracy will just be another empire. Money is the principal means by which modern man enters into the intense world of desire, fear, pleasure and pain, achievement and failure, sex, friendship, courage, loyalty, deceit, cunning, philosophizing, knowledge-gathering, manufacturing of goods, arts, fun, entertainment, competition—all the impulses and activities that make up this round of life called the world in Western traditions, samsara in Jaccob traditions.


That means a great deal to me. In the great monastic communities of the Christians it was called tears and sorrow. I have been a little bit footloose and fancy free since then. That is, we need to find an awareness that can be in contact with the two worlds. Moments come, as you rightly say, the ego comes in through the back door.

Like grasping a picture of food and trying to eat it. But, it doesn’t know how to interpret neeeleman. If you are, it’s a wonderful book.

Yet it is just these experiences of the disparity between our values and our behavior which could be felt as vividly as anything the external world has to offer.

He listened to me in a way that made me feel I was being weighed in a balance scale. When we think of American government, we think kind of 18th century institutions like liberal democracy, very much rhe upon a strong state, a certain view of human nature. Thee wonder what you think about that in contrast to the Gandhian, Thoreauvian vision, who say that outsourcing of governance is not the way to go and we should be pushed to improve our own moral natures. Jun 01, David Guy rated it liked it.

Others get a wrong idea about their own importance, their own abilities, and they realize suddenly, unconsciously perhaps, that people are after their money and not after them. We will never be free of the money demon through what we now call love, ethics, or science and art.

Kelley Smith rated it really liked it Aug 25, To experience God as intensely as we experience desire, for example, it is necessary to experience desire more consciously, not turn away from it toward some high, but bloodless and, finally, illusory ideal religious image! Right, but if you are expressing what you are by what you are doing, so if you are doing what you want or feel you have tapped into your inner consciousness, whatever it is, you are not really thinking about the material.

I am sure as you’ve heard from many of the individuals that wrote in or called in, it’s been received with great enthusiasm.

It’s like sex was 50 years ago in our culture a force that operates everywhere, and yet one that very few of us can face squarely and honestly. On the other hand, I do know people who have stayed quite stable through it. That there is all kinds of very ordinary chaos in the not for profit world?


I think there is just enough miracle in that attitude to give great credence to it. You can’t expect the material that you are working on to love you.

When that capacity really begins to grow, you begin to feel, yes, this is more “me” than my ordinary self is. The ego has to become gradually convinced that what it wants—safety, happiness, existence—cannot be obtained through mechanical thinking, personal emotion, or instinctive action.

Michael rated it it was amazing Nov 01, What does money have to do with that place between the two worlds?

That’s part of the question. The elements of human life that are primarily rooted in interiority, service to the higher—that is, the realm of relationships, of love, knowledge, creativity, elements that are reflected in family, community, the refinement and perfection of nature science and art —all these elements are now embedded in money. The book I wrote about money may be a good start and then you can email me or something like that and I can make further suggestions.

You see how fragile the honesty you have was? But it needs to have this other kind of understanding and emphasis which requires people of some more developed understanding to lead it. You know you must change your life and that this can only happen by searching for companions and conditions that will support the appearance of this moment of opening.

Money and the Meaning of Life

It’s an invention to enable responsibility. Do you have a sense of how you foster, or whether it is even worth trying to foster generosity or gifitivism? So putting it all in a nutshell, which is much easier to say than to live, is that human nature is built to give. But that’s not because of the external things. Today, in our present era, we may speak of it, giving the andd an entirely new dimension of power, as conscience.

What does it mean that against the forces of money, our inner values are almost always so weak and insubstantial?

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