Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Moneyless Mindset

I regularly get the comment that my moneyless lifestyle is not technically "moneyless", because I am still depending on money via other people. While I understand the logic and reason behind this to some degree (especially from the perspective of what is accepted in society), I also see another side to it. Here are some of my concerns with this interpretation of reality, and with the use of money in general.
NB: Some of these ideas might seem controversial, but try to read them with an open mind and see what comes up for you.

Money is invented
Money is a construct. It is something that we have invented. It has no value in itself. The value is determined by what you get for it, and in the end all real value is provided by the earth and /or the inhabitants of the earth. So it may be that you pay for things that were created by other people, but in the end we can only use what is already here. If things you buy were created by man, then the fact remains that someone chose to bring it into the world and made it with the resources that are freely provided by the earth. And hopefully they did not just create it with the intention to make money, but to make the world a better place and to help others. In the absence of money, this is the only motivation to do things at all.

Money is not a tool for survival
Many people mistakenly believe that money is a tool for survival, because with the way things are right now everything we need can be acquired through money. So it can also create a false sense of independence, because if you have enough money, there is really nothing else you need to get everything and anything done. But money is only an indirect way to fulfill basic needs, and there are direct means available to get those needs met. So how about we teach ourselves to fulfill our needs directly?
If the monetary system would ever fall away, would you be able to sustain yourself? If that system was all you knew, then there is no way you could survive. At least not on your own. I think this is why some people get so defensive of the monetary system: they have invested all their life into it and put in a lot of effort to be a good player of the game, and their very survival depends on keeping the system in place.In a way, money has made us complacent, and it has detached us from our real survival skills. Acquiring money has become our main strategy for survival. Of course this is completely unnatural: no other creature on earth puts value on an inherently meaningless object and depends on it for survival. Only humans.

Money forces us on a detour
Some people argue that money makes things easier, as it represents a value and makes it easier to compare and exchange things. But does it really make things easier? It actually seems to make things more complicated. Instead of growing my own food or finding it in nature, I have to get a job that has nothing to do with getting what I really want and need, save money and then get what I need after. To buy myself a place to live, I need to save money for many, many years. This means I probably need to work for the rest of my life. I also get persuaded to buy many other things I don't need, so that I can support other people's jobs, so that they can get their basic needs met. And meanwhile we destroy our only home, the earth, because all the stuff we consume has to come from somewhere, and all the trash we create has to go somewhere. 

The issue of entitlement and obligation
Money creates an attitude of entitlement with the person who pays and a sense of obligation in the person who is being paid. This greatly diminishes our general experience of freedom, or at the very least creates a huge degree of inequality. It can also lead to people doing things that go against their values; just because they are 'doing their job'. And it can lead to people doing a lot of damage to the earth because they 'own' it and think that therefore they can do whatever they want. And if anyone complains, they are told to 'mind their own business'. So for some people it can create the illusion that they live in a bubble. They have forgotten that we are all affecting each other, because we are all part of the same ecosystem. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. So my decisions about 'my' land do have an impact on you and everyone else. What happens to our ecosystem is therefore everyone's business.

Money gives the illusion of ownership
What makes people think they can sell everything and charge money for it? It is a false sense of ownership. We take things that nature provides and sell them for profit, while slowly destroying our own ecosystem and depleting our resources. How is that acceptable? In reality we don't own anything. We are born with nothing and die with nothing. And yet everything we need is freely available. So everything that is made, invented, used and sold belongs to the earth. Everything. How can that be sold? How can we charge money for something that is not even ours to sell? If it helps others, we can give it away and share it, but why would we need anything else?
You may say: well, people want to get credit for things they invent. They want to be recognized. But recognition can come in many different forms. Gratitude is a form of recognition. If people use what you offer them, then that is a form of recognition. What does money have to do with it? The consequence of bringing money into it, is that we create a mindset of conditionality.

"You depend on people who have and use money"
Let's go back to this statement and take another look.
Of course we all depend on one another, because we are all part of one world. That in itself creates a certain level of interdependence. There is no question about that, and I wouldn't want it any other way. But the question is, do I necessarily depend on people with money, and do I therefore depend on money? I think that people who are used to using money depend on money, but I don't necessarily depend on it.
For the past year and a half (and in the years before to a lesser degree), I have been focusing my efforts on learning survival skills and increasing my independence (independence from the system; not necessarily from other people). How? By learning more about plants, sourcing and finding drinking water, building shelters, and so on. Most people who live the money-lifestyle know how to make money and how to buy food in the store. But how is that going to help you in a survival situation? How is that skill in any way related to your survival? And most importantly: can you see how having and using only your money-skills inevitably makes you dependent on others for your survival? It makes you dependent on people who know how to grow food (farmers) and people who know how to build homes and shelters.
So when I use the term independence I am not saying I want to be independent from other beings on earth, but mostly independent from the way society is currently organized. That is the goal of my independence. Not independent from other beings, because that is not possible and it is also not desirable. We share this world and we are all connected.

The Money=Contribution Myth
Obviously that doesn't mean we should allow some people to get lazy and leech off others. But again, without money this naturally balances out. People will eventually stop helping others who are not contributing anything beyond themselves; simply because we all have to make choices where we place our efforts to help others and it is much more rewarding to give to someone who is appreciative and who has a positive impact on the world around them. So there is a natural flow of giving and receiving that rewards giving and contribution. But money tends to disrupt this natural flow. It can even reward and reinforce greed and egotism to some degree.
A spider that lives in your home also contributes: he is a natural pest control guard on your mutual territory, because he eats other tiny creatures (and some of them may be harmful to your health). Does that give him the right to live with you? No, because his right to live stands on its own. It doesn't depend on any kind of contribution. But he does contribute. He can't not contribute. It's his nature to do so.
Many people confuse parasites with symbiosis / mutualism. If you aim to live symbiotically then you will always contribute something valuable. As outlined above, money can hinder this natural flow of contribution. It is not valuable in itself and creates a conditional, calculated mindset. In fact, many people who value money live like environmental parasites. It is just the way the economic system is structured, because it is mostly aimed at consumption and expansion at the expense of our ecosystem.
So I would argue that whether someone contributes to the world or not has nothing to do with money.
(Read more about this here.)

Money teaches conditionality
No creature on earth pays rent... so why would you?
Let's look at the phenomenon of paying rent as an example. Which other creature on earth has to pay rent just because they exist? None of them. Does that spider that lives with you pay rent? Does he "depend on people with money" because he is living under your roof? Of course not. But what is the consequence of our sense of ownership and conditional mindset? We think we have more right to live in the house than the spider. Some people even kill the spider, because it is "their" home. But in fact that spider has as much right to be there as you do. And it definitely has the same right to live. We share this planet with all other creatures.

So the consequence of this conditional mindset is that we think we somehow have more right to be here than other species. And that we can use other animals for our own purposes. They have to earn a living too. They have to help us make money. There is no room for equal partnership because we have paid for them which makes us seem more powerful. We "own" them. With the money-mindset, this is a common trap. If we do things free of charge for others, it often creates an expectation of some kind of reciprocity."You owe me" quickly turns into "I own you". There is little difference in the conditional mindset, but a huge difference when you let go of that mindset.

Question the Status Quo

I encourage people to question everything, so that's not limited to things that are different from the norm. Let's not forget to question the status quo, and let's do it often. Why are we doing the things we do in the way we are currently doing them? Does it make sense or is there another way that makes more sense?

Don't just take my word for it. Put these ideas into practice and experience them for yourself. Go moneyless and see what it does for you. Experience is the best (and only) teacher.

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  1. I like this idea. I have always tried to"Live lightly on the Earth. "
    But how DO you live a moneyless life? I would like to learn!

    1. You can find out more here: http://liselotteroosen.blogspot.no/p/living-free.html?m=1
      And on other pages of this blog.
      Good luck! :D

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  3. Heyyyy, nice to come by this blog! I have been on a money-less journey for the past 5 years! And it's nothing short of extraordinary! Just sharing!