Ambrose Bierce: Blessing of Money

Posted by admin on Monday, April 11, 2022

 
Money, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. An evidence of culture and a passport to polite society Quote

Money, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. An evidence of culture and a passport to polite society” — Ambrose Bierce

 

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In this quote, Ambrose Bierce is providing a sardonic definition of money that highlights some of its paradoxical qualities. The best interpretation is:

  • Bierce notes that money only truly benefits us when we spend it (“part with it”), rather than just possessing or accumulating it. Merely having money does not improve one’s situation.
  • He suggests that in modern society, having money acts as a sign of social and cultural sophistication (“culture”) and allows one entrance into elite social circles (“polite society”). Wealth affords social status and connections.
  • Overall, Bierce seems to be critiquing how money is valued more for its symbolic and social functions rather than practical uses. Its true advantage comes from what it can be exchanged for, not what it provides by simply being held.
  • Bierce presents a cynical view of money as something that confers benefits mainly in its ability to be relinquished for other goods, services and social standing. Its worth comes not from possession but circulation and what it enables one to access through its movement between hands.

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