Thursday, 8 December 2016

Taking A Break From Moneyless Living: Why I Miss It

 

Right now I am on a trip to Australia by train, which I managed to make a part of my research project. This means that I am taking a break from living a moneyless life for the duration of this trip: I buy train tickets, overnight stays and some food.
I try to stick to minimal spending, but I am definitely using money. However, from the very first day I was missing rewilded / moneyless living  already, and here is what I miss about it.

Freedom
People usually think that money buys them freedom, but this is actually not true. There is in fact a lot more planning and scheduling involved when you are using money: You have to book tickets that are only available in limited quantities, you have to book hotels or hostels that need to be arranged beforehand (also available in limited numbers) and if you only stick to using money, your travels are restricted to touristically developed areas.
You may think this buys you security at the very least (knowing you will have a place to stay), but this is not always the case either (there are always scammers around who are ready to take your money, hotels can get fully booked, you can end up in a less-than-great location or a hotel that is infested with bedbugs, etc).

Basic Kindness
It is interesting to see how just basic human kindness quickly gets lost as soon as money is involved. There have been several times here in China that people kindly offered to give me directions, but then wanted to sell me something (a ride, a ticket (far more expensive than the usual), or whatever), and then if I decline they happily send me off in the wrong direction, or lie about certain conditions. Several times these kinds of people have told me that 'the bus won't come for another hour! You will have to wait a long time!' I have time so I wait, and then of course it arrives within five minutes. It is very frustrating and quite sad to see how basic human kindness, helpfulness and love are lost just because of money. When money is the sole requirement for survival, all people care about is how much money they can squeeze out of you. They no longer see you as a fellow human being. No. They see you as an ATM. And that feels horrid. So I really miss the basic kindness and unconditionality that comes with living the moneyless life. In fact, kindness is what makes us human. It is what living beings are. Why compromise our very being and integrity just for some external reward? That is no reward. It is a punishment.

Fulfillment
Somehow I feel less fulfilled when I am spending money. Not only is there an absence of a feeling of achievement as I take care of my needs (after all, there is not much creativity or skill required when you use money: no real survival skills are necessary, and no learning or personal growth is required to happen at all) but I also feel a sense of emptiness in my day-to-day activities. This latter part is hard to describe, but I will try. When money is involved, it seems like my actions lose meaning to some degree: there is an added sense of emptiness and that causes an additional need to create meaning; a need that would not be there in the absence of money, because then each (inter)action has meaning and purpose. I am still not entirely sure how to describe this aspect exactly, but I think it has something to do with the conditionality that money creates and how it feels fake, complicated, cumbersome and draining us of our natural qualities.

Connection
I miss the sense of connection that comes from living without money. It just naturally leads to a life that is connected to everything: my fellow beings (human and non-human), the resources I use, the ecosystem I am a part of, nature as a whole... everything! There is nothing that feels as good as being immersed in and connected to life. It brings peace of mind.

Interdependence
People often say that they like the independence that money gives them, but I actually enjoy and miss the interdependence that moneyless living brings. It forms bonds and relationships that are real and lasting. It brings intense gratitude, a sense of happiness and a feeling of purpose on both sides. And most of all; it demonstrates what really matters in life (relationships). Life is all about relationships and what we can give to and share with each other. This is the meaning of life. If you live without money this is just so obvious and clear. And when money enters the equation, all of this is lost. Not just this realization, but also the very meaning of life.


I still encourage everyone to try moneyless living, even if it is just for a while. You will notice the differences and you will understand what I am talking about. You will also understand most of the current problems in the world and see the connections. You will see the solutions too. There is a way for us to live awesome, connected lives and to live in harmony with nature. There is a way for us all to feel fulfilled and live happy and healthy lives. There is a way for humans to live in real freedom (not the limited, fake freedom we have created). And contrary to popular belief, the way to do this does not involve money.


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