Musings on Great Symbols: Money


Author: Symbol Reader

Date: October 22, 2013


Margin Call is a film that tells the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008 using abstract expressions to depict the shallow identity of money. Of the real white collared world, mountains of people scramble through people to rise up to the top just for some numbers. Those people need to rely their entire life on thin sheets of paper with faces. It is rather ironic how although money holds the symbol of greed, corruption, and power, the element of gold is presented as the “highest possible psychological value”.

Animal Presence by James Hillman speaks on the origins of money being brought back from religious sacrifices. Specifically, the concept of coins comes from ceremonial dismemberment where the roasted meat sticks to the spit. Symbol Reader points out the fact that the symbol of bull also holds a strong connection to money as the horoscope Taurus rules money among the other zodiac signs. In ancient Rome Juno Moneta, the chief goddess, resided over and blessed the Roman mint that was a part of her Capitoline temple as she thought the root of “money” also carried the power of a warner and administrator.


As ugly and complicated as the system of money has changed throughout the centuries, the fundamentals of its value and extraction methods seem to be about the same according to this analysis. It was insightful to see money being a form of sacrifice and power from the start because as much as people may want to turn a blind eye, the modern concept of money is no different. Some pieces of money are deemed to be a sacred product blessed by parties such as a boss, friend, family member, or loaner that the person in debt now will now need to be emotionally in debt for potentially the rest of their relationship. Other pieces of money could be casual pieces of meat that was sacrificed by people below the owner which may freely celebrate as their own success. Nevertheless, these fundamental values of money are something that may not be something that everyone holds, but definitely, something that could be an addition to current forms of financial education.