The most important thing I’ve probably ever written in my life

Hope that blogpost title lured you in! Read on, dear friend, read on!…

 

FROM DEATH TO LIFE

M-C-M’/C-M-CU-I-U’/I-U-I’

I am currently organising an ‘unconference’. I’m inviting a diverse group of around 30 people to a weekend workshop in April focused on the issue of transformation. That’s intentionally left very broad.

One of the people I have invited, a gent by the name of Matthew Painton, has so kindly offered to give me the gift of five free hours of his time. Matthew is a ‘life coach’. This title has perhaps cheesy connotations, but there is nothing cheesy about what Matthew has done for me. There are no words to express my gratitude to him…And we’re only two hours in!

What I’m asking you to read for me below, dearest reader, is probably the most important thing I’ve ever written in my life. I wrote this immediately after the experience I describe in the writing. This experience came soon after Matthew and I had completed our second session. The experience I describe took place about 10 hours ago. It’s now 21:10 and I’ve tidied what I wrote up a bit, added a few explanatory sentences, but intentionally left it as raw as possible.

If what you read here resonates with you, if it moves you then please do let me know. You can leave a comment or you can email me at joel underscore lazarus at hotmail dot com. I would love to hear from you.

With thanks and with love

Joel…

 

M-C-M’ (M = Money; C = Commodity; M’ = More Money)

This equation – the equation that reveals the alchemic secret of money – comes from Capital, Vol I by Karl Marx. What it shows is that, in our world, money isn’t the object we think it is. Money is the subject. Money capital uses us! It uses us to grow, to incessantly grow. We are the objects it uses for self-valorisation. Hence vampire and zombie analogies in Capital and many popular cultures. Capital is vampire; we are zombies.

But if we accept this real abstraction as the total force forming the organising principle of our world, the subject controlling our lives, we must also be open to the possibility that we are or could be the objects of an alternative subject. Something else could drive our lives instead of money capital.

Today, with the help of Matthew Painton, I found that subject – it is the universe, the totality of life itself. It is inside me. It is inside you.

We cannot possibly feel it constantly. How could we function in our daily lives? We need, to an extent, to suppress it and, in the process, we anaesthetise ourselves. But the totality and incessant pressure that money puts on us inevitably makes us unconsciously and almost permanently repress this subject in favour of serving money.

But what we suppress or repress doesn’t go away. It is there.

What motivates us to stand up for, to even give our lives, for others – for family, for friends, for community, society, for a forest, for a mountain, for Nature? First and foremost, it’s not an argument, it’s not an idea, an ideology; it’s a feeling. We feel the injustice, the pain, the suffering. Only then comes the intellectual rationalisation. And that’s crucial, but that rationalisation does also function to limit the feeling, the raw emotion. So…

What if we turn off the mind for a bit and just let the feelings flow?

Can one possibly even begin to feel the totality of pain and suffering in the world? I don’t know. But today I tried to do just this…

I sat still, closed my eyes and tried to feel the pain and suffering in the world. I felt the searing, shattering pain of a parent’s grief; I felt the physical and spiritual agony of a human being violated, of another imprisoned, another tortured; I felt the stabbing hunger of a starving belly. I felt the humiliation of a Muslim woman vilified, a disabled person taunted; a young black man demonised.

I felt the numbing silent devastation of a forest burned, a river poisoned, a sacred mountain decapitated.

There is a unity to every living thing on this planet. There is a unity to body and mind. Until today, I couldn’t see the unity that connected Marx’s revolutionary science of historical materialism to a spirituality that emphasises above all the interconnectedness of all things, of materiality and consciousness. Today I see it.

In our society, it is money capital that is the organising principle, the totality, the subject, the absolute Emperor of our society. Marx’s revolutionary formula reveals this:

M-C-M’

Money feeds on our bodies and minds to grow. In this Emperor’s world, we are objects. We are C-M-C. We sell our bodies and minds, our labour-power, for money in order to use this money to sustain our existences and consume the energy needed to reproduce ourselves once again for money.

The money world, the society of capitalism, is ecocidal and it is genocidal. This is the death equation.

But, there is another revolutionary equation – the equation for our time, the equation that tells us the true source of life, the life equation. It is, I think, this…

U-I-U’ and I-U-I’

In this pair of equations, U stands for the universe or universal life. I is I, myself. This is the life equation.

In the first pair, the death pair (M-C-M’/C-M-C), money flourishes at our expense – a zero-sum situation. In the second pair, the life equation, life itself and I, as both independent subject in and object for life, flourish. A positive-sum situation.

Rather than money, the totalising subject here, the Emperor, is the universe, universal life, the totality of all living beings. Universal life is expressed and embodied in specific living beings (I) and through us all it seeks to flourish and grow. In contrast to living in order to serve the money emperor of death, if I seeks to live its life guided by and in harmony with the infinite power of U, I itself flourishes.

U is life. U is truth. U is beauty. U is love. For some, U is God.

This is an intellectualisation of U and we do need to think about U and how we live practically, how we organise our society, in a flourishing relationship with U, but U is not primarily an idea. U is not an ideology. U is a power, a power that is felt.

Today I felt U. I sat, closed my eyes and flowed…

I was the whale deep down in the dark blue sea. I was a blind pelican being fed fish by other fellow pelicans, the sun on my face, a writhing fish in my mouth. I was a murmuration of starlings, thick, pulsating. I was a bison. I was a herd of bison. I was a penguin sheltering with others from a blizzard. I was a hare running. I was a chimpanzee perched in a tree, eating fruit. I was even a spider creeping forward slowly. I was a child running towards the sun…

 

Do this for me, for yourself, for universal life today. Take 10mins that you think you desperately need in your work (to serve M). Sit down, close your eyes, breathe with all your belly, deep breaths, and explore what you feel. What do you feel? Feel the feeling, be in the feeling, and let it take you on a journey.

I’d be honoured to hear from you what you felt and where you went. This is inside all of us, all the time – a feeling of infinite power and goodness there to guide us.

The goal is to destroy the deathworld of money, yes, but through empowering the world of life that money is sucking dry. The feeling will guide us. Through it, and only through it, we see that what we think is impossible, we feel and know to be possible and the only real way – the loving way.

To the flourishing of all life!

Joel

  15 comments for “The most important thing I’ve probably ever written in my life

  1. February 11, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    what a great read! sounds like you had a beautiful meditation experience 🙂 I guess we sometimes get so draw into our ways of thinking about the world and how we prioritise things, that we forget to look for the whole purpose/meaning of our existence, our planet, universe and everything else within ourselves…not that the things happening on the planet, the system and daily stuff are not important – they still are, but we need to disconnect from it mentally, and connect with the world and ourselves emotionally and spiritually – after all, if we are always connected and feel more, if we all loved ourselves more, our nature, our planet, we would treat ourselves, our environment and other people with more love and respect – we would relate differently to many other things in life, not just money, but also our use of time, other human beings, our surroundings, our food etc

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Great to hear from you, Lana, and thanks for making this beautiful contribution. I agree. I plan to use this insight now, to draw on feeling, embodying this truth, as both a source of power to give me strength to love, but also as a source of intellectual insight to try to improve my intellectual work. Everything is in everything 🙂
      With love
      joel

  2. February 12, 2016 at 8:27 am

    I read your post before I went to bed last night and it certainly left my mind in a different space as I drifted off to sleep. There is much more to life that whatever happens to be preoccupying us any given moment. Letting trivial things go and becoming part of the whole is something we should probably all do more often. Thank you for reminding us by sharing this moving experience Joel.

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks Joe. I always appreciate your love and support.
      The greatest discoveries we make, I think, make us feel like we’ve always known the truths they reveal but, for whatever reason, we couldn’t fully comprehend or accept them till that moment.
      Peace and love
      Joel

  3. jandehamblett
    February 12, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Welcome to the Real World, Joel.

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Yeah! Thanks, John! I guess I just took the red pill! 🙂

  4. February 12, 2016 at 9:12 am

    YES. We are taught to make decisions with our brains, to live in our heads rather than our bodies. But in my life I have found that discounting my feelings to make “rational” intellectual decisions has led to disaster. Usually, our bodies know best. I was also taught this by a life coach, Sas Petherick, who writes a bit about this here: http://www.saspetherick.com/my-audacious-body/

    I think if people who had power made decisions through feelings as much as they did through intellectual thought, then the world would be a better place. I think the patriarchy would have us believe that displaying emotion is a weakness (which harms men as well as women, but as been historically used to keep women out of politics). On a personal note, I have been made to feel ashamed for being brought to tears during discussions about how we make the world a better place. But it shouldn’t be a bad thing to care this much, to really feel what is it that is being talked about.

    Thanks for reminding me to tap into the feelings. I will certainly try the exercise you suggest today,

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you for sharing this, Kate. I’m honoured. I think that in a patriarchal world, crying is seen as weakness and irrationality and is linked, shamefully, to femininity. This demeans women, but what’s so vital about a feminist critique like this is, as you say, that it enslaves men too. So often I feel a welling up because something small but poignant takes place, but I always suppress. Maybe I should be brave enough not to.
      If you try the exercise, please let me know what you feel.
      With love
      Joel

  5. February 12, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I stopped reading here as time short and don’t think feeling in general are “it” as you wrote:

    ” What motivates us to stand up for, to even give our lives, for others – for family, for friends, for community, society, for a forest, for a mountain, for Nature? First and foremost, it’s not an argument, it’s not an idea, an ideology; it’s a feeling.”

  6. Caroline
    February 21, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Dear Joel, I came to this post of yours via a journalist, Nafeez Ahmed, I have been following on Facebook. As you are evidently aware, the miracle of Universal Life works in mysterious ways. Shortly after encountering your post, a friend of mine on FB announced that she was leaving her nonprofit position as a volunteer services coordinator (a position she deeply loved) to take on a higher paying gig in the startup world. In a series of raw questions, she wondered if she was ‘selling out’, if she would become part of the problem; she wondered why the vocations that are so essential (social services, education, nonprofit) are at the same time so limited and limiting, as opposed to for-profit positions. I wanted to share my response to her to YOU, first, to honor the synchronicity which has helped me to focus my seeking; second, to express gratitude for your heartfelt seeking and sharing; and third, to point to – at least roughly indicate – that there is much risk in putting one’s *feeling* first and foremost. (As you say above, ‘the feeling will guide us.’) There is no doubt that mere ideology, abstract concepts, will continue to get us nowhere. But something that does not seem to be much appreciated by you (at least from the post above) is that we are much less conscious, awake and autonomous in our feeling life than we are in our thinking. If the ordinary mode of thinking as ideology, as abstract conceptualizing, is failing us, our potential as human beings, then perhaps the way to go is to further develop our thinking – rather than fall back into the less conscious mode of feeling. I understand this may read incredibly abstract! But the truth is, I am living this path as a real spiritual experience. I would be glad to talk to you more about it – of course, if you are interested that is! Below is my letter to my friend, which I share with you out of gratitude:
    ******
    I suspect it is next to impossible that you will either inevitably or unintentionally become part of the problem. But in case that smacks too much of platitude – this ‘not becoming part of the problem’ will take effort on your part, missy!

    Maybe the biggest effort is to not let these Questions fade from your heart’s gaze. I hope and pray you will continue to ask them, however painful. (For our daily needs and wants and goings-on have a funny way of encouraging Big-Question amnesia.)

    As long as people like you keep lying awake furiously pondering these questions, I think we have more hope and optimism for the future than we can imagine or know what to do with.

    I thank you for sharing your thoughts with us; I think for every one story I encounter like yours, there must be more, almost numberless – heavy-hearted souls, crying a similar song. And this thought makes me glad, actually, it makes me feel, and feel certain, that none of this is without purpose. That the -isms and Systems that tower over us, as well as their *as-yet* un-seeing and un-hearing progeny (the smug, self-entitled, cold-hearted) … all this is nothing but one and just ONE aspect, one side, one Pole of the Dance of Life that yields true progress, true evolution.

    And as painful as it is, as lost as we feel, maybe we absolutely need this aspect of Life, because it and only it plays the vital role of confrontation, oftentimes violent. In the face of this aspect of Life, souls perceive – This is Who We are Not; THIS is Not Human – and awaken.

    We awaken to searing questions that we can hardly define or entertain; maybe what matters most is their source. They seem to whisper, pull at us from our own future, from the opposite Pole – This is Who We Can Be; THIS is fully human.

    The mirror of what we do not want, the resistance and the gravity of that which already is…. This is the indispensable catalyst to new life, as indeed are all pain and suffering, all death processes. We are shattered wide Awake to the as-yet formless, infinite potential of the human condition. (How beautiful and sacred this is, a human being who has come Awake and is fighting to stay Awake, you can easily appreciate. These are your friends who have played such an essential role in your evolution. And this is you.)

    I am a total beginner myself when it comes to living with these questions. Still, I want to honor your heartfelt post – I hope you don’t mind my evident passion (*cough* longwindedness) and my suggestion of a seed or two to accompany your further seeking.

    We are all deeply financially illiterate – everyone, to a man (a woman). And this illiteracy is very much linked to our (I would say, failed) sense of Self. That is, when we ask ourselves, Who or What Am I As A Human Being?, our answer goes on to live and play inextricably into our understanding and conduct of economic life.

    Social services/nonprofit/teaching positions are so woefully underpaid and undervalued because we have not recognized the essence of the human being as a being of spiritual capacities to unfold – and unfold precisely for the purpose of serving our brothers and sisters.

    (And I’m speaking of these spiritual capacities merely as a matter of fact, not religious dogma or anything silly like that. Search your own experience or those of your closest friends and loved ones, and you will recognize that our deepest, most authentic human yearning is to realize the Call of the ineffable, latent possibilities within. We have an intuition that we are not yet what we *could* be. And it is the striving to bridge this divide that gives meaning to our lives, in the highest sense of the word.)

    Oh, some of us may give such a sentiment lip service, but when it comes down to it, our actions betray us. Our actions reveal our thinking – which is that we mostly see ourselves, the human being, as a physical body with physical needs. We see our vocation as a means to obtain the money which we need to see to these physical needs. We believe that we work for money, a physical object.

    In reality, we work for one another. No one, but no one, works for money per se. I work for a living, as the saying goes; I get money in return. As a buyer, I must take my money to a Seller, another human being, and have it be accepted by him. If my respective Sellers did not ‘buy into’ (ha ha) the social contract that allows money to serve as a means of exchange (among human beings with spiritual capacities to unfold), all the money in the world would not get me, the buyer, what I need.

    I have specific and completely unique spiritual capacities to unfold, such that I provide a *something* that my brothers and sisters require and value; in turn, I must be able to go to my brothers and sisters, who themselves have singular spiritual gifts to unfold, and obtain that which I require and value. Only through my brothers and sisters, only by grace of their unfolding their gifts, can I get what I need for life.

    Money is a mere matter of convenience, taking us beyond the hindrances of the barter system, in the primary event of: Human Exchange Based on Recognition of Value.

    In this latter conception of economic life, we have gone from a materialistic standpoint, based on the superficial aspect of the human being, to one that is based on the essence of the human being.

    Does it make a difference, this conception?

    I think it does. You ended your post with the hope for new ways of thinking/living. I do believe that new (and moreover, crystal clear and creative) thinking must come first; only then can we embody and express that new thinking in new living.

    Electing Bernie into office, I think, won’t make a toot of a difference. It won’t stop the ‘cancer’, the divide you reference, that is eating away at San Francisco and much of this country and the world. To his credit, the Bern is constantly stressing that no one person can save this country; that change only comes when we each take responsibility and act out of that responsibility. Word.

    But if we truly live into this new conception of the economic life (of the Human Being), rise up to it and make it completely our own, then and only then is a revolution in the works.

    • Because if we have truly lived into this new conception, we can do no other than *CELEBRATE* our fellow human being.
    • We can do no other than value our brother for his unique individuality…
    • Value our sister for what she and only she can contribute to the economic life out of the blossoming wealth of her inner capacities and vision.
    • And above all, we will see to it that this wealth can indeed blossom at all – that society is organized in such a way that every human being may exercise the inherent right to develop their innate gifts. We will see to this because we have clearly SEEN, in our thinking, its central importance. We will see to this because we will know that we all suffer, we all are deprived, when a single human being is unable to unfold his spiritual capacities.

    And because this is the case, many acts and behaviors prevailing in current economic life will be transformed.

    For one, we will reject the ever-present mantra of LOW AND EVER LOWER PRICES! Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we basically organize our buying and spending around LOW AND EVER LOWER PRICES! We demand this, implicitly and explicitly, from all those with whom we wish to do business. We do not see that we cutting off our own knees in doing so.

    Once we have truly lived into this new conception of economic life, we can do no other than reject this mantra that formerly ruled our economic life out of – let’s face it – self-interest.

    We will reject it because we have now seen the higher and enlightened true Self Interest. We recognize that low and ever lower prices necessarily means low and ever lower income for the human beings who work and live behind the commodity, who bring it into being in a way.

    We will recognize that low and ever lower income for our fellow human beings means they will increasingly be unable to put food on the table, pay for rent, etc., without borrowing.

    We recognize that when the entire world is increasingly deprived of income, the debt burden (including the loans our cultural creatives must take on to fund their visions of the Future) must continue to metastasize. And we recognize the debt burden, that heavy soul burden, as being remarkably efficient at sapping our fellows’ energy, dulling their initiative, blocking the very inner creativity that must be unfolded for all our sake.

    We will think twice before we shop at Wal-Mart. We will think twice before we buy that $.99 book on Amazon from our favorite author. We will think twice before we pirate a song/TV show/film off the web. We will think twice before we allow ourselves to privatize to our own benefit the contribution of another human being, for which contribution he deserves a livelihood worthy of a human being.

    This is financial literacy. Or at least the beginning of it. We will recognize that the mantra of ‘Buy Local!’ only goes so far – that buying locally and sustainably also means buying at the right price, the price our brothers and sisters can afford to live from.

    Re-shaping our economic life to ensure that we are all empowered to buy at the RIGHT price from one another, and not the lowest price one can find, will do wonders for your specific passion: social services, nonprofit, education.

    Things like education, healthcare, public assistance, transportation, housing, are funded at the state level. The majority of state revenue comes from federal grant monies; while smaller portions of state revenue are sourced from sales taxes and individual income tax. Federal grants account for about one-third of total state
    government funding, and more than half of state government funding for health care and public assistance.

    Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Federal revenue (82%) comes from individual income taxes and payroll taxes. In fact, the individual income tax has been the largest single source of federal revenue since 1950, averaging 8% GDP.

    All this makes one appreciate the centrality of paying the right price – not the lowest price – for goods and services, such that we who stand behind the goods and services have income sufficient to lead lives worthy of human beings.

    Because most of us are obsessed in theory and in practice with low and ever lower prices (sometimes understandably so, given that we ourselves are deprived of the right price, the sufficient income, for our own contributions to economic life), the direct result is that we are biting the hand that feeds us in a big way.

    We have empowered the federal government to provide essential services for us (to what extent that is wise, I won’t go into), at the same time that we are systematically draining the means to provide those essential services.

    Low and lower prices means less and less income -→ ever diminishing income taxes –→ ever diminishing federal grant monies -→ states gutting funding for essential public policies and programs.

    None of this is meant to point a blaming finger in the derogatory, dispiriting sense. It is just about a taking a full accounting of our collective responsibility for our collective situation. Again, I think the way to get there is to begin to *think* very clearly and creatively about the economic life, versus *feel* (i.e., feel angry about the techie scum overrunning my hood). I completely understand the ‘us versus them’ feeling; but I doubt the ability of this feeling to forge creative solutions in the long run.

    When we think about social ‘issues’, one question is often, How do I get other people to care about this too? Well, the good news is, money is a foregone conclusion. Most everyone I know is stressed, some deeply burdened, by money. So I think money comes up often enough in casual conversation amongst friends. But I think a powerful alchemy is waiting in conversations and thinking that aim to go deeper.

    I don’t know many folks out there in my FB world who have been so open and raw in their questioning of the economic life as you. (I remember in particular your reaction to the luxury bus startup.) Because I believe new thinking and understanding is the first step that will lead us eventually to the new living, I extend this wholehearted invitation to you and any other interested souls who may be reading this post (*cough* longwinded) to gather in a sort of… a Study/Support Group for Seekers of a New Solidarity Economy. I don’t know any of the details, I just have a sense that it’s important to gather over this.

    Most everything I have shared here has been all thanks to my mind and eyes being blown open by courageous and astute thinkers. The ‘study’ part of the equation is critical, I think, because most of us (speaking definitely for myself) tend to be intimidated by matters economic and financial. Money touches the most intimate aspects of our lives and yet it seems at once to be much bigger than we can wrap our heads around. I can’t help but think of the enormous potential of more and more people bringing clarity into this realm of life that everyone is touched by, everyone cares about, everyone can relate to, and passing on these penetrating insights to others.

    Just a thought (actually several million) ☺ if any are interested, don’t hesitate to reach out. (And here I mean Joel and his friends/guests as well!)
    *****
    Thank you again for sharing your story, Joel. It’s good to share the journey with you.

    • February 21, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Dear Caroline,

      First, let me say that I’m deeply honoured that you took the time to write and to share your letter.
      I want to reciprocate this honour by reading your comment carefully and replying in detailed fashion.
      Before I point out areas of disagreement where I critique your thinking, I want to say that, overall, of course, I share your views and goals and see someone with a great deal of wisdom, intelligence, and love.
      However, I do offer a critique and I offer it in the spirit of intellectual respect.
      I have c&ped some of the sections of your post and put my response below.
      Happy to continue the conversation.
      In solidarity
      Joel

      Caroline: ‘There is no doubt that mere ideology, abstract concepts, will continue to get us nowhere. But something that does not seem to be much appreciated by you (at least from the post above) is that we are much less conscious, awake and autonomous in our feeling life than we are in our thinking. If the ordinary mode of thinking as ideology, as abstract conceptualizing, is failing us, our potential as human beings, then perhaps the way to go is to further develop our thinking – rather than fall back into the less conscious mode of feeling.’
      Me: But ideology isn’t abstract – ideology is the mental production of the material, very real, world.
      Second, the blog precisely argues that I’ve had my most vivid and autonomous experience of consciousness and awakening precisely by trying to temporarily suspend all thought and just feel. I am not arguing against thinking.
      I feel this is a false and dangerous binary that you construct between thinking and feeling that reinforces the whole Cartesian division of body and mind that so much of Western philosophy is based on. I’m arguing that we can’t think without feeling, and we can’t feel without thinking, but in this heady world of ours we are constantly suppressing and repressing the emotions on an individual and social level.

      Caroline: ‘We are all deeply financially illiterate – everyone, to a man (a woman). And this illiteracy is very much linked to our (I would say, failed) sense of Self. That is, when we ask ourselves, Who or What Am I As A Human Being?, our answer goes on to live and play inextricably into our understanding and conduct of economic life.’
      Me: I don’t agree. I am not deeply financially illiterate. To a very large extent, I understand, or think I understand, what is going on right now. That’s precisely because I have used my intellectual faculties to study and critically apply a Marxist political economic framework that helps me understand and analyse this social system.
      This second sentence, for me, contradicts your previous claims about the abstract nature of ideology. You say we ask ourselves who we are as human beings. This is a central element of ideological construction. Then you say we link what we believe we are to what we understand of and do within our economic system. So, I think you do agree with me that ideology has material foundations. Ideology is an abstraction of material reality.

      Caroline: ‘Social services/nonprofit/teaching positions are so woefully underpaid and undervalued because we have not recognized the essence of the human being as a being of spiritual capacities to unfold – and unfold precisely for the purpose of serving our brothers and sisters.’
      Me: Who is ‘we’ here? Surely, very many of us have. Indeed, I would argue that the majority of us have. It is a social system based on an ideological economistic and hegemonic definition of value as profit (surplus value) – due to a real social system that continuously demands it – that does not and cannot recognise our spirituality. There is no ‘we’ in a patriarchal, racist, class society. The goal is to create we by ending these systems of oppression that divide us and make us see ourselves and our world as commodities.

      Caroline: ‘Money is a mere matter of convenience, taking us beyond the hindrances of the barter system, in the primary event of: Human Exchange Based on Recognition of Value.’
      Me: I don’t agree. Money (money capital, to be precise), as I argue in the post above, is the supreme power. Again, I sense a contradiction. You write in the previous paragraph ‘We believe that we work for money, a physical object’, critiquing this position. But then you argue that ‘money is a mere matter of convenience’. This suggests that money is a functional thing in your thinking too. Your argument on money is the Smithian line that serves as the foundational myth of economics. Check out David Graeber’s deconstruction of this in ‘Debt: the first 5000 years’. Money has never come about in this way in any society ancient or modern.

      Caroline: ‘Re-shaping our economic life to ensure that we are all empowered to buy at the RIGHT price from one another, and not the lowest price one can find, will do wonders for your specific passion: social services, nonprofit, education.’
      I disagree. I think that you would find that in the economic system you envision, money would disappear eventually. The right price means giving workers and nature full value for their contribution. This means the radical democratisation of ownership of the means of production and the recommoning (de-privatisation) of the natural world i.e. largely ending private property. Then you would find that communities would collectively make rational plans together regarding production. If permacultural techniques and principles were used, there would be surplus food for all. Housing, energy, all human physical needs would be met without money. Spiritual needs would too, of course. Then humans would be free to work to produce these essentials far less and would be able to spend most of their time pursuing the creative labour they wanted to. The products they produced from this may have a market if people agreed, but I suspect that that market would quickly disappear because people, as you yourself said, would be producing out of love and out of a need to create and to have their creativity, their individuality recognised and appreciated by their peers. I doubt money would play much role after a few decades of this kind of change.

      • Caroline
        February 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        Dear Joel,

        It is a great gift to be in dialogue with you. Like you, I think the most important thing is to first ‘hear and see’ fully what you have shared. Not to process your thoughts through the lens of my own experiences, my natural or habitual conceptions or antipathies/sympathies, but to receive what you have offered in itself. Thus I may not be able to respond very soon. But I wanted to let you know that I am grateful for the impetus of this conversation with you and that this conversation will remain in my thoughts. I will try to check back in with you as soon as a clearing presents itself.

        In Solidarity,
        C

  7. February 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Dear Caroline
    Feel free to email me
    joel underscore lazarus at hotmail dot com
    Peace
    joel

  8. March 2, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Hi Joel, I love this blogpost / life revelation of yours. Do you know the work of Janine Benyus? I find her deeply inspiring, in fact it was through reading and listening to her work that I got a similar sense of our connection to the living universe, just as you so vividly describe in this blog. Janine lives and breathes what you have so aptly named U-I-U’ and I-U-I’ . Check out any video of her conference talks. Here’s a 1 min comment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsOTRBy4zSs but do watch one of her longer talks too.

    • March 3, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Hi Kate,
      Many thanks indeed for taking the time to read and I’m honoured that my post resonated deeply with you.
      I watched the brief video and I’ll certainly watch longer ones. Janine certainly sounds like she’s in harmony with U!
      I’m very inspired by permaculture and definitely see permaculture as a spiritual and practical approach to living in harmony with each other and our natural world.
      Also, I’m just reading ‘Mutual Aid’ by Petr Kropotkin, one of the founding figures of anarchism, but a biologist who was quick to critique Darwin and to emphasise the primacy of mutual aid as the key principle of survival and flourishing. So, this goes way back. Well, way further back that that, of course, as my current reading of The Upanishads reveals too!

      I’m aware of your own wonderful work and contribution, so I’m proud that you appreciate mine.

      Thanks, peace, love
      Joel

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