Norman O. Brown: Money Essence

Posted by admin on Monday, August 15, 2022

Meaning of Norman O. Brown Money Quote: saying The thing that makes money valuable is the fact that it is worthless. Norman O. Brown said:
the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness Quote

“In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known – that the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness” — Norman O. Brown


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In this quote, Norman O. Brown seems to be drawing a comparison between money and excrement based on a psychoanalytic perspective. Some key points:

  • Brown references the “famous paradox” in psychoanalysis that equates money with feces or excrement.
  • This comparison stems from the idea that both money and excrement are essentially worthless in their base physical forms.
  • However, Brown notes that psychoanalysis was the first science to articulate what had long been recognized by “common sense and the poets” – that money’s true essence lies in its complete worthlessness intrinsically.
  • Its value comes not from any inherent quality or use but solely from socially constructed perceptions and the agreements to imbue it with purchasing power.

Overall, the quote conveys Brown’s view that psychoanalysis helped elucidate in a scientific manner what had always been understood intuitively – that money at its core has no real worth or utility outside of the meanings projected onto it through human social and economic systems. Its value is symbolic rather than rooted in tangible properties according to this perspective.

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