Ideas as Currency

It’s not what you thought when you first began it.
— Aimee Mann

Despite whatever you keep hearing about the economy, ideas are our real currency. As good post-industrialists, we continue to advance into a world of unreality — a universe that exist only in an increasingly abstract sense.

Money is instructive here: we’ve moved from coins we viewed as intrinsically valuable (which of course, they weren’t), to printing which was clearly contains a symbolic valuable, into credit cards, and now into online transactions. This is a way we can grasp how universally important information is, how easy it is to package it, and when packaged creatively, how easy it is to share it. Even though several forms of storage and transaction are beyond the tangible, it remains true to its original form and intent.

Money’s real strength is that people want it. A question worth asking is ‘Why?’

Money is desired because it facilitates both freedom and power. Ideas can do that, too. If your idea is not perceived as valuable in some important way, why would people ever work towards it?

Most people frustrated about the lack of traction their ideas get, simply haven’t worked out how to make them important to other people. That’s where the hard work starts!

After basic needs are met, human beings spend a lot of time absorbed in abstract concepts (so abstract they may not even get articulated regularly):

  • Truth
  • Justice
  • Love
  • Rights
  • Responsibility

True worth needs to filter through many of these abstract concepts (not just monetary value). The way these are processed within in each self is noisy — murky and volatile. So imagine what happens when other noisy selves collide and try to begin talking together!

The challenge is for each of us to sift through and evaluate our ideas. Not just on their own, but to give them a comparative value against our other ideas.

The way we arrive at virtue is by prioritisation.

We make choices to operate with the highest, deepest, best values in mind. These are determined internally, within the self, but they are also determined externally, in the context of relationships. That’s where ideas become reality.

We have our work cut out for us!

Strive to make your ideas communicate as effectively as money. You won’t make everyone agree with you. (That’s OK, not everyone agrees on the value of money, either!) You won’t even convince everyone of the value of the conversation. But if you can at least share this value, you and your co-communicators will have a better sense of what it is really about. And when virtue resonates, as it so often does, it will increase the value the self brings into the world.