One of the most curious individuals in the cryptocurrency financial industry is Sam Bankman-Fried. In just a few years, he has turned from an anonymous son of two college professors into the richest person under thirty (he is twenty-nine), with a net worth of US$22.5 billion. According to the Forbes 400 list, he is ranked 32nd on the list of the world’s wealthiest people for 2021. But what is even more extraordinary is that Bankman-Fried plans to give it away. He believes in utilitarianism and plans to donate the great majority of his wealth to charity.
Regrettably, as noble as his goals may be, more money will not solve or even improve anything. The world has more than enough of everything, except for the one thing that would let everyone benefit from the abundance: love. Of this, there is none.
Twenty-two billion dollars might help foster love among people, but to do that, we first need to know what love is. Our current understanding of it is that we love what makes us feel good. If another person makes me feel good, I will love that person. If giving makes me feel good, I will love giving. But these do not make me a loving person.
When my younger daughter was a child, we sat down for dinner one evening and had fish. We started talking about love and I tried to explain to her what love means. I pointed to the fish on her plate and asked, “Do you like fish?” She replied enthusiastically, “I love fish!” I said, “Then kiss the fish.” The grimace on her face said it all. She realized that it was not the fish that she loved, but the taste of their flesh in her mouth.
To love is to want to give to another what the other person wants, to think and dream and plan your moves so they please your loved one. Love means cloaking yourself in the other person’s perspective and using that understanding to see how you can please that other person.
Money cannot teach that. Only people who know what it’s like to be that way can help you achieve it. Just as you would not take as a guide on a treacherous trail a person who has never walked it, if we want to achieve true, selfless love, we should follow those who have achieved it.
Of course, anyone can claim that he or she has achieved it, and there is no way to know who is honest and who is not. Therefore, the only advice I can offer is to follow your heart, and constantly examine if your teacher is teaching you to love selflessly or to love the teacher, or other sorts of unclean love.
If we manage to cultivate selfless love among us, we will not need billions of dollars, or even millions. All we will need is ourselves, and of this, there is abundance.