«The Fascination of Gold»

Thought Form I: Function



That money shapes people's thinking is obvious. The necessity to get money demands ideas from everyone without pause on how he has to behave to get it, what he can turn into money, what he can be paid for, what he can afford and what he wants to afford with this money, and how he generally has to conform to a necessity that his life depends on. But the influence on thinking exerted by the necessities of money goes far, far deeper.

Money requires everyone to think about the things and nearly everything in this world in the form of value

Because money requires everyone to think about the things and nearly everything in this world in the form of value, in the form of exchange value and monetary value. 

Just for the simple act of buying, we have to see all that we buy, yes, all that we would ever be able to buy, at the same time as the value that it costs in the form of money and monetary value. And that is a very special form. It is, for one, naturally a number, a quantum. The value of a commodity, since it represents a monetary value, inherently allows itself be quantified and expressed as a number. But what’s special about this number is that it does not count anything, not apples, not pears, not any other thing. Precisely because monetary value theoretically is inherent in everything, not just in apples or pears but virtually in every conceivable thing, this number is not an amount of any one thing in particular; rather, it’s just a digit, a pure number. And it is in this form, as pure numbers, that we are compelled by money to think about everything possible in this world: we think of it purely quantitatively, in a pure quantitative form.

The world and things are made calculable

That people actually do this once they live in a money-mediated society is apparent in the historical emergence of a mathematics that, unlike all earlier arithmetics, deals with these pure numbers: in infinitesimal methods, number lines or coordinate axes, in the mathematical function. This mathematics appeared in 17th century Europe, as it turns into a society and an economy based primarily on money. And this mathematics shows only more pointedly in which form we also have to comprehend everyday things, so that every trait, every characteristic and all content, no matter what, is conceived as mere numerical value.

The world and things are thus made calculable, for one thing: This forms the foundation of the modern natural sciences. But they become calculable in that everything is thought of as a quantifiable amount of equally empty value: as indifferent. This money requires, and this is how the things of this world are then treated: minor to the fact that they must pay off– as we say not for nothing.