Twofish's Blog

Show me the money and I’ll deny that ghosts exist

Show me the money and I’ll admit that ghosts aren’t real.

The argument that a ghost isn’t real is that real things have to be based on physical objects. A ghost is not physical, hence a ghost is not real.

OK, then show me the money.

I have $2000 in my bank account. Show the physical object that the money is based on.

You can show me the bank statement, but the bank statement isn’t the money. I burn the bank statement and then money doesn’t disappear. You can show me the computers that store the records, but that’s not the money. I turn off the computer, you money doesn’t disappear. I wire money from one bank account to another, and nothing gets physically transferred.

But even though the money is not based on a physical object, it is very real. It makes a big difference if I have $200 in my bank account, $20000 in my bank account or $2 million in my bank account.

Show me a mortgage. I can show you the contract that records the mortgage, but if I tear up that paper, the mortgage is still there. Show me debt. Show me a marriage.

Show me the internet. Show me a data packet.

None of these are physical objects, but all of them are real. What are these things? They are concepts that influence physical objects. But if those these are real, then why not ghosts?

The ghost of my father is every bit as real and influential as the money in my bank account.

And there is a very disturbing consequence. Technology and the internet makes it easier to produce ghosts.

Five hundred years ago, you could say that money and contracts consisted of physical objects, but that’s not true any more. Increasingly things are made up of concepts and information and not physical objects, and as things become based less on physical objects, ghosts and magic become more important.

Five hundred years ago, you could run away from a ghost, you could sail across the seas, to someplace without the ghosts. Today with communications technology and globalization, a ghost that gets produced in a battlefield in Iraq suddenly can get transmitted all around the world.

Five hundred years ago, if someone died in a battle, there would be a short record of it but soon things will be forgotten. A war happening today would have audio, video, sound, you’d know the names, experiences, thoughts of everyone who fought in it.

Think about this. When do you suppose this page will disappear? Tomorrow? Next year? A hundred years? A thousand years? A million years? After I day, my ghost will eminate from this page whispering, haunting, for how long?

And thing about all of the records that exist about me. Credit card statements, court papers, notes, e-mail, web pages, audio, video. None of that is going to go away when I day, and all of that could be around for centuries, even milennia. Compare what we know of life a thousand years ago with what our descendants will know of us. My great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will likely know what I look like, what I sound like, who my friends were, who my enemies were, what I was doing yesterday, what I will be doing tomorrow.

All of that information, how long do you think it will take to disappear? A digital picture could be around for millions of years.

Ghosts can hurt, ghosts can wound, ghosts can kill. Just turn on the television set and you see the impact of ghosts. Wars are fought over ghosts, these wars produce even more ghosts, and it is harder and harder for a ghost to go away.

But ghosts can be wonderful if you treat them nicely.

Ghosts are produced by tragedy. I’m dealing with ghosts that were produced a few years ago, and as I dig into history, I’m finding that I’m also dealing with ghosts that were produced decades, or even hundred years ago.

Ghosts don’t have be connected with dead people. I’ve dealing with ghosts that are connected with people that are still alive and with people that could have existed but did not.

You can kill a ghost. I can choose to forget everything that happened. But I don’t think that is wise, because ghosts can also be wonderful companions, if you make your peace with them, and part of making your peace with a ghost is to admit that they exist, because if you deny the existence of a ghost, it will get hungry and angry and wreak terrible havoc.

5 Comments »

  1. hehe, there are so many words, phrase, facts, put them whatever a way you prefer, if believe it is true, that is true to you.

    Comment by yilei — February 10, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  2. Great stuff…

    Glad I found you via Kevin…

    Comment by LONNIE — February 15, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  3. The money in the bank account is simply an agreement, and understanding. Money was just paper and metal, now it can also be an agreement with an online bank, but in the end, you have to get it from a source that everyone agrees deserves the money (e.g. worked x amount of hours and was paid x amount of dollars for it, is holding x amount of money given by someone else to hold on to) and because money is only given to those who deserve it (in the earned sense, not the emotional sense) people honor the money and are willing to accept it for physical goods and services because they know others will honor it as well.

    Money is really just some paper, metal, data packets that a society agrees are valuable for the sake of more efficient transactions.

    A ghost as in a spirit probably doesn’t stay on the earth after you die. A person’s ghost as in an idea and a legacy certain does though. People will remember you and you will leave a trace that will last for a while. But thats not what people usually talk about when they say ghosts.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 19, 2007 @ 2:56 am

  4. You are confusing the existence of the concept with the existence of the entity the concept names. Of course, the concept exists and has certain effects – as does the concept of a unicorn (it has effects on children’s minds), but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever find a unicorn in the real world. Ditto ghosts.

    Comment by logical — August 20, 2008 @ 4:43 am

  5. @logical –
    The implication of what you say would seem to be that you will never find money in the real world.
    I have to say that, yes, by & large, this has been my experience too 🙂

    Comment by frankxerox — February 6, 2009 @ 9:37 pm


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