By Julian Barnes
Submitted by Kirk
Date: 2017 Oct 25
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Money and Love

One of the first things people tell you about money is that it's an illusion. It's notional. If you give someone a dollar bill it's not 'worth' a dollar - it's 'worth' a small piece of paper and a small amount of printer's ink - but everyone agrees, everyone subscribes to the illusion that it's worth a dollar, and therefore it is. All the money in the world only means what it does because people subscribe to the same illusion about it. Why gold, why platinum? Because everyone agrees to place this value upon them. And so on.

You can see where I'm leading. The other world illusion, the other thing that exists simply because everyone agrees to place a certain value on it, is love. Now you may call me a jaundiced observer, but that's my conclusion . And I've been pretty close up to it. I've had my nose rubbed in love, thank you very much. I've put my nose as close against as I put my nose to the screen when I'm talking it over with money.

And it seems to me there are parallels to be drawn. Love is only what people agree exists, what they agree to put a notional value on. Nowadays it's prized as a commodity by almost everyone. Only not by me. If you ask me, I think love is trading artificially high. One of these days, the bottom is going to fall out of love.

--Stuart in "Talking It Over" by Julian Barnes.