activism, sustainability
Comments 16

True currency is time and love

You know that old bullshit saying ‘time is money’? Uh, no. This is a rather short addition to the 10 Steps, but it might be one of the most important. Realize that the only true currency is time and love. Money is an illusion but it can get you in some deep trouble so live within your means. You have build thick skin in order to resist advertising and focus mostly on needs, and only the occasional wants.

humanspaytolive

Human beings are the only species that have to pay in order to live on this planet. The powers to be figured this out long before the rest of us and found the perfect system of control – money. If we don’t play by their rules we go to prison, which robs of us the only two things of true value in this life – time and being close to those we love.

Imagining a world without money is actually a really hard mental exercise, but very rewarding. You immediately run into the most obvious downsides – anarchy, chaos, violence – but keep at it. Will a one world order ever work without massive, total control? isn’t it better to have autonomous communities of like-minded individuals but global guidelines that prohibit violence against another tribe? Who would enforce that? Nobody has the answers to these questions yet but if we keep on having these dialogues at every opportunity, I think we will eventually figure something out.

Lately, there has been some focus on the psychology of poverty, which I think is incredibly important. Oxfam recently released a study that concluded by 2016 (next year!!) 51% of all wealth on the planet will be owned by the 1%. I’ve noticed some people refute this by saying, “oh, that’s silly, if you make more than $34,000 a year, you belong to the 1%” but I think that only makes that study even more insane! That means that nestled in there with the world’s 500 billionaires and thousands of millionaires, only a handful of people are making a decent salary anymore. 40% of Americans are now living under the poverty line. 2/3 are living paycheck to paycheck with no safety net. 1 in 5 children go hungry to bed. These are crazy, crazy numbers and the policies of austerity and “welfare for the rich, free market for everyone else” in the US and Europe are only going to escalate these mind-boggling statistics. No banker has yet to go to prison for their crimes and the banks still consider themselves too big to jail, or even investigate. Clearly, in a society such as this, money is a complete joke. It has no basis in reality. But it still dictates the way we live our life. The stress and worry about making ends meet is sending us all to an early grave.

But poverty is also impacting our decisions short term. When your life is designed around paying the next bill, there can be no long-term planning. ‘Go back to school’, or ‘get a new job’ is about the most unhelpful advise you can give a person who is wondering how to feed their family on $30 for the next week. Add to this situation the hundreds ofΒ  advertisements an average person is bombarded with daily, just walking down the street and watching TV. These advertisements are designed by very clever people to make you feel even worse about yourself and your life, but if you buy this one product, you might just turn everything around. Globally, more than 500 billion dollars is spent on advertisements each year. So poor people treat themselves to a little bit of luxury every now and then – because that’s what society tells us to, right? Then snotty non-poor people have the audacity to ask why poor people make such bad financial decisions. Great to know humanity has its priorities straight!

As of right now, it is still pretty much illegal to put people in prison over debt and owing money, but the way society is going that’s going to have to change pretty soon. The American prison industrial complex has been so successful at jailing people for minor offenses over the past 30 years that it is one of the country’s most booming industries. Although the US only has 5% of the world’s population, they can boost 25% of the world’s incarcerated people. Poor people are of much better use to the system packing meat and making furniture for 80 cents an hour, than out on the street being unemployed and numbing the pain with substance abuse. Soon this machine, which is really just slavery with a modern twist, will run out of stoners and petty thieves (three strikes, life in prison, for stealing a coat to keep warm in the winter) but the one thing this system will never run out of is people with unpaid debts. In fact, I think what this system fears the most is debt-free people.

work_without_loveOur time here is limited and love is hard to find but without it there is really no reason to get up in the morning. To love your work, to infuse it with love and joy, to be able to love and treasure your friends, partner and family is about the only thing that matters. To love an animal! To be able to connect with the mind of another species, to nurture it and find mutual love with a creature that has no inherent reason to trust you at all, let alone care about you. That’s the stuff that makes life worth living. I know that each time one of my bunnies give me a kiss on forearm while we snuggle to let me know that I am a valued member of their tribe, I feel on top of the world.

Unfortunately, you can’t live on bunny kisses alone. It’s cliche by now, but cutting back on possessions is liberating! So many people are getting great at budgeting and trimming the fat from their expenses. Perhaps first out of necessity but then it starts to feel really good to leave a lighter footprint and stay more in harmony with our planet. Right now, this is the foundation of freedom, and you are going to need that extra energy and brain power because this battle for a less crazy world is hard and we need you.

16 Comments

  1. This is such a good read… but there’s one point that I… not disagree with, exactly, but would push out there gently for consideration. It’s not the money which is the control, so much, as the food. I mean, yes, we can, if we’re lucky enough to get some seeds and have a little spot of dirt to plant them… theoretically grow our own, but logistically speaking, it’s a very small percentage of people with the access and the know-how to do do this. Or even if they have the knowledge… to grow enough to live off of. (I am reading the Spirit Sorbet’s comment just before I post this.)

    The reason I bring this up is… have you read the Ishmael series by Daniel Quinn? He points out that we locked up the food and suddenly every thing changed. I need to read them again, as there is always something new to be unpacked from them, but they’re a fantastic look at our culture and set conceptions.

  2. I think nature is always so grounding that likely impacted all of us who grew up rurally in Australia. We just need to move the last in line to the front to make our Earth our Heart.

  3. Fantastic post! Such much to reflect on here, especially your opening that we are the only the only species to pay to live on Earth. We are arguably the most creative, destructive and inspiring species on this planet, but in so many ways we are still complete dumb asses!! Happiness, love, balance, equality, peace, fairness and the future of our race depend not on the structures we build around us; but the ethics and passion we hold within us. xx

  4. You really are a breath of fresh air! You inspired me to dust off my blog tonight… not to attempt anything poignant, but to search for my “voice” again. Thank you!

  5. Sorry, that was supposed to say Facebook page The More Beautiful World…
    Have to say again, really great post! Am reblogging…

  6. Great post! Have you read Charles Eisenstein? Sacred Economics is one of his books, and he has a great blog… Also a page “the more beautiful world”… Think you’d like it.

    • Thank you for reblogging! I love everything I’ve heard from Charles Eisenstein so far – he’s been a huge inspiration to me while redefining my values, but I haven’t read his books in full yet. I will get on that – hopefully all that great insight will keep blowing my mind :)

      • Oh good! Well, you’re doing a great job spreading the ‘new story’! Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  7. Such a terrific post as always ~ how did we ever get ourselves into this mess. I like your point about how difficult it is when desperate: people who can barely feed themselves cannot simply go to school or somehow find a job without the required shower, clothing, haircut, transport, childcare, computer (with which to apply) and the social and language skills needed for even a sales position. I can think of only one teeny solution which may not help everyone if they live in an apartment – but where you can, grow some of your own food. If at all possible, even herbs in pots in the kitchen. Or join a community garden if you happen to live in such an area. Or there are community exchanges where you might volunteer and get to bring home a whole box of fruit and veg and more (especially at farmers markets). I only know this from growing up on a farm and having a father who can grow almost anything and a mother who spends 4-5 hrs each day in the kitchen preparing; storing; preserving; blanching and freezing foods. It’s a disgrace what humans have forgotten when it comes to our true purpose ~ l hope it changes too. And I hope anyone reading this who is distraught: never ever give up ~ the same energies which created you created everyone else. Don’t give up XX

    • Thank you for this excellent comment. I think compassion and empathy is severely undervalued in our society. We pretend it’s not by featuring all these feel good stories on TV and highlighting people who do good, humble work but at the same time it’s obvious that it’s quite hard to survive and thrive unless you are privileged from birth. And that privilege usually stems from centuries of ruthless imperialism. And I think until systems thinking is taught in schools from a very young age, most people are unable to see the connections between everything that we consider “wrong” in the world today. They are treated as isolated issues, when at the root of it all is really a crisis of values.

      Growing some of your own food is the most empowering thing a person can do! It sounds you had a wonderful and grounding childhood. I come from a classic middle class suburban family. My mom always had dinner ready at 5, and although I never took a lot of interest in food, I feel more grounded and connected when I prepare my own (usually organic and fresh) food now.

      Definitely don’t give up! It’s about finding new, healthy ways to live and nothing could be more exciting :)

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