"The New Religion" for Elegant Magazine.

Photographer: Sara Lehtomaa
Models: Meri, Edosa & Paula

I think it's fair to say that money has become the new prevalent religion of the capitalist society. After all, money and religion do possess many similar characteristics. For instance, money can, just like religion, be used to control people, even though its leading purpose is something completely different. However, they can both be utilized in good ways as well, initiating goodness. Money can be used to finance the building of something that can benefit and help people. But it is merely a tool. This is arguable, but I believe religion's original purpose may also very well have been to act as a tool in order to achieve something better; it promotes kindness and compassion, which are both generally viewed as virtues. Religion encourages us to become a better person through fictional stories that act as a figurative guide. But I think this purpose has been misunderstood - once people read those stories with literal interpretation much of the meaning gets lost. That's at least what I believe religion is. People like having things explained to them, ready-made, served in front of them on a platter. Believing in God simply makes life easier, and it's a fairly easy and convenient choice to make. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - what people believe in is their own business. But when it starts effecting others negatively, once people start abusing this "tool" out of selfish reasons there might be a problem.

        Money can also, obviously, be abused like this. Most people in this day and age who live in a capitalist society are brought up to appreciate owning material things, and hence make their goals in life to own as much as possible, in other words to make as much money as possible. Being successful is more or less considered a synonym for being rich. Fair enough, it is true that it is close to impossible to survive without money in this world, or at least your existence most likely won't be as carefree since you have to fight to survive. But should you make it the sole purpose of your life? This all-encompassing devotion to money is very similar to the dedication some people express towards religion. (Of course, what I am doing here is overly simplifying and generalizing. And this is only my opinion, I'm not claiming to know anything.)

        This is slightly off topic (but kind of related to the whole matter of dedication) but I think that in general one should not commit oneself completely to an idea or way of thinking because that usually leads to an automatic rejection of other ideas. It blinds you in a way. And this kind of surrendering oneself to an idea is probably the main reason as to why there is war and other atrocities, due to the lack of compassion and understanding. It brings out the worst in us. Instead there should be a balance, leaving room for new unfamiliar ideas. Because that also happens to be the only way we may evolve. Getting stuck into certain patterns of thinking won't lead anywhere. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to leave a comment! And finally I'd like to thank my wonderful team for helping me fulfill this art project, it was a pleasure to work with you guys!

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