Wealth, money; these are just deceptions. They create an illusion of permanence. When you have money you feel as if you have something secure and permanent with which you can fight against the momentariness of things. You think that with the support of money you may even be able to make some arrangements against death. This is why people are so mad to accumulate money. This madness reaches to a point where you even forget why, in the first place, you had started accumulating money. Then you just go on accumulating money and you lose yourself in the process. You had begun in the hope that it could save you – you did not notice the point when the means became the goal.
This is one of man’s most basic diseases: letting a means become a goal. What you thought to use as a means to something becomes your master. What you wanted to attain by a certain means is finally lost in all your efforts, in the means itself.
Man earns money for his living, but if you look at the wealthy people you will find that they are living to make money. This may appear a little surprising, because if you ask the rich they too will say that they are making money to live.
When Andrew Carnegie died, he left billions of dollars behind. And until his end, until the very last moment, he was still discussing business on the phone. In the last moment, when he breathed his last, the receiver of the telephone was in his hand and he was making some business deal. The author of Andrew Carnegie’s biography has written, “I have not seen even a single moment in Carnegie’s life when you can say that he was really living. Every moment he was only earning.” Perhaps he was the richest man on Earth, but in a sense, nobody was poorer than he was, because he did not know the thrill of life, he could not be touched by any waves of life. Often his friends would say to him, “What are you going to do with all that money you go on accumulating?” And he would say, “Wait – once I am finished with making money, I will start living.” But the earning is never finished, and living never begins.
Who has ever earned enough? Have you ever heard a rich man say that he has earned enough money? No, accumulation seems to have its own logic. It is not something where you can draw a borderline, and once you have touched that line the accumulating is finished. The target just moves further ahead: like the horizon the more you move towards it the more the horizon moves further away. It seems as if where the earth and sky are meeting with each other is just close by, not very far away; it seems to be only a matter of traveling a few miles and you will reach to where the sky and the earth are touching each other – but the sky does not meet the earth anywhere, it only appears to be meeting it. The more we move towards it, the further that point moves away. You can go around the whole Earth and you will not find the sky and the earth meeting anywhere. You will constantly feel that it is only a matter of a few more miles and there they will be meeting, but even after you have circled around the whole Earth, it will still appear to be only a few more miles away.
In just the same way, wherever your ego races in life, it goes on creating a horizon of its own. Wealth is also like this line of the horizon: no matter how far you go, you reach nowhere; the target moves further ahead and the race continues. This phenomenon is never-ending, but life does come to an end.