Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Does Having A Job Equal Contribution?

Many people, when they first hear about the moneyless lifestyle, imagine that a person who lives without money does not contribute in any way to society. This amazes me and to me it is proof of how much we have lost touch with nature and ourselves. I have discussed the topic of contribution briefly in previous blogs (such as this one and this one), but I would like to address it in more detail in this article, since it seems to be a recurring theme. 

Let’s first look at the opposite of the statement that people who live moneyless do not contribute anything, because it seems to be the implicit assumption that underlies it: Having a job means you are contributing to society
Is that really true?
Sure, you are part of the economic exchange because you have a job and you get paid, but more so than being part of the economy (which seems optional, even though it is forced upon us from many directions), you are also part of the ecosystem (this is not optional; there is no way not to be a part of it). So why should we define contribution purely in financial terms? Let’s look at it in terms of contribution to the ecosystem, or contribution to the environment. 

Animals do not have jobs...
 … They do not get paid. They do not pay taxes or rent. And yet they each play a part in the ecosystem, just by being themselves and doing what they do naturally. They do not have to wonder what they will be when they grow up. They never have to ask themselves: What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? Because life is the purpose. 
For example, bees help the plants and flowers to grow by pollinating the plants as they collect their own food. We owe many of the foods we eat to the bees. Cows and horses graze the land, thereby making room for and exposing other plants (for smaller herbivores) and leaving the soil fertilized and ready for new growth. Sharks keep food webs healthy by going after weaker fish and other predators. Birds help spread the seeds of the berries they eat. And so on, and so on.

They do not get paid, they do not get any reward. They are not employed and so technically they do not have a job. And still they contribute. All play their part. 

Plants do not have jobs 
Plants and trees play an immensely important role. They provide us with food, oxygen, clean air and shelter. They do not get paid, and yet they contribute to our most basic needs. Without them, we would not be able to survive. Phytoplankton also provides us with oxygen, as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

The sun does not get paid for shining 
The sun shines every day whether we like it or not. Whether we appreciate it or not and whether there are clouds in the way or not. It shines because that is what it does. In fact, every part of nature does what it needs to do, without any reward, manipulation, force or threats. Everything gets done, because everything does what it does naturally. What about humans? What do humans do naturally? Do we even remember?

"The Tao does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone". ~ Tao Te Ching 37

Humans contribute by…. 
… well, what do we contribute?
What is your contribution to your ecosystem? In what way do you enrich your environment? Do you cause destruction or help nature thrive and flourish? Do you promote and support life, or death? This is an important question and when we look at typical “jobs”, we can conclude that most of them contribute more to destruction (pollution, loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources) than to creation and/or restoration of the environment. This is something to think about. 
With the creation of artificial jobs, humans have lost touch with their natural job: the part they play in the ecosystem. Nature can only function well when everyone and everything fulfills their small task. We all work together to create balance. With most humans no longer participating and no longer feeling part of the ecosystem, the balance is lost. We can restore it by rediscovering our role. 

Some questions to ponder:
1. What positive role could people play in the ecosystem? How could we contribute to creation rather than destruction in our environment, locally as well as globally?
2. Look at your daily routine. Does it contribute to creation or destruction of the ecosystem / environment? Look at the details as well as the bigger picture.
3. Are you making the economic system more important than the ecosystem and if so, why? Without the ecosystem, there can be no other system. 
4. What could you do to contribute to creation rather than destruction? How could you step out of the system that denies your very nature and the part you play as a being on and of the earth? You can take the first steps to free yourself today.

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