So often we toss certain common words around – like the words “genuine” and “wealth” – as if we fully understood what they both mean and as if they each had their own single common root meaning. But, do we actually and fully understand the original, deeper meaning of each of these most significant words? Maybe it would be wise and worthy to explore for just a moment what the two words “genuine” and “wealth” might have originally meant or at least could mean to us today. The word “genuine” comes from the Latin word “genuinus” which means “innate” (true, actual or sincere). And the word “wealth” comes from the Old English words “weal” (well-being or wholebeing) and “th” (condition), which taken together means “the condition of well-being or wholeness”.
According to Hubert Howe Bancroft’s Achievements of Civilization – The Book of Wealth – Wealth in Relation to Material and Intellectual Progress and Achievement – which is an inquiry into the nature of the world’s diversity of resources and riches, and a history of the origin and influence of all forms of property, its possession, accumulation and disposition in all ages and among all nations, as a factor in human accomplishment, an agency of human refinement, and in the evolution of civilization from the earliest to the present era, genuine wealth, in its nobler aspects, is a most worthy theme. He states that there is little if anything desirable or honorable in penury, nothing praiseworthy or attractive in want or dependence. And he shows how indigence leads not to intellectual culture or to a lofty standard of morality. Purity is not the offspring of un-fulfillment, lack, or poverty, but comes of that cleanliness, wholeness or fulfillment of soul, which is akin to godliness. He continues, emphasizing the significance to humanity of individuals honoring the world with realizing genuine wealth in all its forms and aspects.
Of course genuine wealth when the two terms are combined could now be perceived as relative, and as having widely different applications in different times and places to different peoples. As stated above, originally, genuine wealth signified weal or sincere well-being and was applied to eternal spiritual as well as temporal material welfare. Later wealth was used in the sense of large material possessions, or of what seemed large to those who had little. It has been stated, ‘without ambition, without aspirations, life is not worth living.’ The noblest of all ambitions is liberation or freedom from physical or social bondage, slavery and constraint and this independence demands genuine wealth or the empowerment of all areas and aspects of our lives. Old age and poverty, though often united, are not agreeable or desirable companions and the opposite of independence.
Genuine wealth is a vital force, one of the greatest of forces for the enfoldment of culture and the birthing of liberty. In a measure, genuine wealth dominates everywhere, exercising its forceful influence on both spirit (the liberated or inspired mind) and physical resources, or matter. In the genuine wealth of the world is the accumulated power of civilization. Genuine wealth is the measure of human progress and possibility. Where there are no storehouses of genuine wealth there can be no storehouses of fulfillment, nor inspired beings or great knowledge. And where there is no learning there can be no individual or social progress. The existence of culture, whether it is part of a nation, or now a global society, begins with the creation of genuine wealth, i.e. individual and even cultural wholeness.enuine wealth represents the people, places, things, ideas, actions and events that make life worthwhile or valuable.
It is the experience of a life worth living and one that is aligned with our true, highest and most meaningful values and / or principles; not only as individuals, but also collectively as families, communities, cities, states, nations and someday worlds. It is the actual condition of our collective wellbeing (spiritually, mentally, vocationally, financially, familially, socially and physically) that make up true and genuine wealth.
Genuine wealth is measured and assessed by the conditions of all things that make life collectively valuable and meaningful and it implies total or whole life wealth. Many people are accustomed to looking at wealth strictly in financial terms or earthly property and physical possessions and yes this too is also essential for individual and social development and progress, but genuine wealth is much more than that and we know it intuitively. It can include inspiring ideas or causes, intellectual properties, business ventures and assets, financial investments, family relations and possessions, social influences and causes and physical talents or even beauty.
Conventional economics and business indicators of prosperity like GDP (gross domestic product), stock market indices and other economic indicators that we hear reported daily are important and certainly contribute to one facet of wealth, but they all make up only a part of what could be properly defined as genuine wealth. Indeed many of these indicators, like GDP growth, do not distinguish between expenditures in the economy that actually contribute to genuine wealth development versus those which result in the “depreciation” or erosion of our social fabric or the strength of our relationship with nature. Social ideals and values may see such economic growth as either, or both, constructive and destructive.
Genuine wealth involves real value (valorum), which represents the diversity of nouns and verbs that make our lives admirable and merited and truly worth living. Where we spend our money discloses our true values and what we hold to be important. Genuine wealth represents all the things that make our lives meaningful that resonate with our truest nature and more holistic being centered within our hearts. Genuine wealth is an accounting of life; like a window onto our souls, or a mirror image of our genuine selves. Genuine wealth emerges when we are being in touch with our highest core values, our complete life assets and our full awareness and potential. Genuine wealth includes all assets that contribute to our complete and balanced state of living and being. Genuine wealth accounts for what we value most and allows us to objectively assess our real assets (our strengths) and opportunities for developing our real wealth potential.
“To give away money is an easy matter, and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose, and how, is neither in every man’s power, nor an easy matter. Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy, and noble.” – Aristotle
May we awaken to and fully unfold our true and genuine wealth and be congruent with our most inspired and truest nature as we also accumulate our vitally essential portions of economic and financial forms of material wealth for the sake of ourselves, our families, our civilization and our beautiful planet earth.