Through our upbringing and Western cultural values we are led to believe that you have to be independent, no matter what.
The money system just emphasizes this. When nearly everything you need for survival has a price tag, it’s up to you to figure out how to get that money.
Unfortunately there is only so much to go about and wealth is very unequally distributed. The 62 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3,500,000,000 (3.5 billion!) poorest (source: Oxfam).
Therefore, majority of the global population are facing the stark reality: you got to screw someone over to get what you need!
Makes you wonder, how big a percentage of crime is money-related? And would we have an incentive for that criminality in a more equal and just society?
In business this process of screwing each other over is called competition. On national scale we know it as export. But what does this mean for human relations? Do we want to be nasty to each other? Do we enjoy that? No!
There’s nothing in my personal experience — or scientific studies for that matter — that suggests we are naturally evil to each other. In fact, science suggests that empathy is real, that our brain physically recognizes the pain of others as our own (See e.g. IFL Science)
Mind you, nothing in nature is independent. So, how come we should be? The universe is interdependent.
Interdependence, for me, means that you can firmly stand on your own two feet and you don’t need to rely on other people, yet you deeply feel the connection to others – you are not separate from the rest of the nature.
Most of the things I needed during my moneyless life, they just appeared in front of me: food, rides, places to stay. Perhaps that’s because I needed very little — and still do.
However, I had some wants, too. I craved for “unnecessities” like cigarettes. In the beginning I thought I could give up smoking if I’d let go of money. I did quit at one point but then, after 13 months, I had one. And another. And another. The habit was back. Point being: even the cancer rolls were readily available if you’d just ask from your fellow addicts.
As silly as it may sound, this addiction, among other things, made me realize I cannot go on living without money; Should I wish to stick to certain habits that bring me a little bit of comfort and luxury, it’s better I don’t rely on other people to uphold those habits.
For the past year I’ve used money again. In 2015 I had a paid job to get my food, shelter and cigarettes — independent of others. Yet the mere fact that I received a salary means that I depended on other people.
Like it or not, that’s how it works nowadays, almost all money is created as debt. This realization, that every penny in your wallet is someone else’s debt, made me quit money in the first place.
And now, as I’m once again an active member of the money-society, I need to live with that. Believe me, ignorance would be a bliss. In our current system, there is no way to lead a moral life. Pity.
In this supposedly dog-eat-dog society even our natural, inherent, positive traits need nurturing. Some scientists argue that it’s actually compassion, not empathy, that we need to foster. Could we use new kinds of currencies to do just that?
How might we create mutually complementary currencies that would reward compassion and highlight our natural interdependence? That’s a million dollar question. Pun intended.
Pre-order the upcoming eBook “How to live without money” in http://tiny.cc/nomoney