The scrawny old gimpy black guy hustling for change in the intersection with his Dunkin’ Donuts cup last night in the cold jolted my awareness, yet again, that we will look back on this era as the second dark age. Seeing suffering diminishes us, whether it is our fellow human beings or animals. It is pervasive and we are steeped in it.
We are on the cusp of a break through and, when we finally pierce the veil of corruption, ignorance and fear, nothing will be the same. Surely our perception of money will be turned on its head.
Our thinking is limited and impoverished because we measure life in currency. The bizarre, tragic disconnect is that millions of people need housing while millions of foreclosed homes sit vacant. The real estate market is frozen by fear, a lack of liquidity, and an inability to imagine any other economic model.
Once we get past the mind set that something only has value if it can be bought or sold, a new world opens up, as Dmitry Orlov explains in this interesting video. Regrettably, many people don’t pursue their passion because they can’t get paid for it. Integrating the gift economy into our mix broadens our horizon.
Instead of millions of people and trillions in assets sitting idle, in a more equitable system, people will give their gifts and receive payment in ways that are far more life giving and profoundly satisfying than currency. Native American Indians puzzled at the concept of property ownership altogether.
Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money. Cree saying
Only humans could waste as wantonly as we do. Constrained by concepts of ownership and liability, we are impoverished in what could truly be Eden. Walking past empty lots with weeds growing through concrete, while people are hungry and some think McDonald’s is “food” shows how out of sync we are as a society. If property owners could get a tax break, a liability waiver, and a promise to vacate if a property is sold, urban gardening with raised beds and composted soil would be an infinitely more productive use of an empty lot. How much land fill space is filled with food and yard waste that could have become nutrient rich soil? My highly uneducated guess is that a mere ten percent of compostable material is returned to the earth while our soils continue to become leached of nutrients.
In this inspiring video, Lynne Twist, one of the founders of FourYears.Go, the worldwide call to save our planet, explains that a mere 200 people, empowered by the printing press, spawned the Renaissance. Imagine that – 200 people! Today, millions of us, empowered by the Internet, are spawning a new Renaissance.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is gaining ground and continues to grow to over 1,000 cities in the US and over 150 cities world wide. So much corruption–college athletics, professional sports, religion, politics of course, but even medicine!–is exposed every day.
Although we can’t see it from here because it doesn’t yet exist, I imagine a vibrant society that transcends money. Maybe John Lennon was right, just way ahead of his time.