AS OF Thursday, James Cameron’s futuristic movie Avatar has grossed $601,142,000 in a mere 47 days in the United States alone. Worldwide, the film has earned $2.075 billion, surpassing another Cameron flick, Titanic.

Since Avatar was a criticism against corporate greed, it will be interesting to know how Cameron -- who served as film’s writer, director and producer and thus the one who most likely gains the lion’s share plans to use the money.

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Will he pitch in to rehabilitate earthquake-devastated Haiti? Will he give millions to educate the world’s children, feed refugees, or fund Aids research? With so much money, how would you use it?

If that amount is donated to the Philippine government in order to pay for our loans that might slightly ease the per capita burden the 92.23 million Filipino people shoulder today. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as of October 2009, the national debt stands at P4.424 trillion or $96 billion. This means that each Filipino has to shoulder P47,967 or $1,043 in order to pay off the debt.

If Cameron will decide to donate all the profits to the pay for the debt of the Philippines, that will lower our per capita dollar debt by around $20.

Seen that way, Avatar’s earnings don’t seem to be so substantial after all.

Humans have a very complex relationship with money. We love, hate, covet, distrust, need this thing that doesn’t even care what we think of it. Our lives are sometimes so wrapped up over money that we give it more value than it really does. We lose perspective about what really matters. Couples break up over money, siblings hurt each other over it, and some even are willing to lose their dignity over it.

In New Zealand, a 19-year-old student -- a teenage girl really decided to hold an online auction of her virginity in order to raise funds for her school tuition. The winning bid: $32,000 or P1.47 million.

Though the girl supposedly did not break any laws by publicly selling herself, since prostitution is legal in New Zealand, what she and the bidders did is to me just morally appalling. Is there no other way to get an education or raise money? Is her value of herself so easy to equate to a certain amount?

Here in Davao, there are similar stories. The amount might be lower, the method of selling different, but the basic narrative the same: young people willing to offer themselves for sale in order to get some cash. For some it is not even for tuition. For some, they just want to maintain a lifestyle or image. Easy money for easy sex in order to buy new clothes, new gadgets, new accessories, and to pay for the alcohol they consume in bars during the weekends with friends.

Do we care for ourselves so little and love money so much that we are willing to equate the value of our lives and our dignity to mere objects?

No matter how important money is, it is still just a thing. We are worth more than just a thing. We are so beloved that Christ died for us. Died for us. Christ gave His life for each and every one of us. And we spit on that love and on that sacrifice by acting as if money is more important than our own worth.

Avatar may have grossed $2 billion, our debt might be $96 billion, but in the end, we shouldn’t allow any amount to blind us from our true worth.

(Jocy L. So-Yeung teaches at Davao Christian High School.)