Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Moneyless Man

Mark Boyle enjoying a cup of tea

Living without money. On first inspection, these three words sound extreme and would seem to involve no small amount of sacrifice. I can understand why. The cultural story that is money has such a powerful hold on our minds today that we have come to believe that we could not possibly ever live without it. Living without clean air, fresh water and fertile soil bizarrely seems a more moderate challenge in comparison. Yet on closer inspection, our reaction towards even the discussion of moneyless living reveals more about the extremity of our own indoctrination, our own conditioning, than it does about the way of life itself. For to see the non-monetary economy in action, one need only go for a simple walk in the woods, cook dinner for a friend or swim in our vast oceans. Every other species on Earth lives without money. Our ancestors had no notion of money, and many peoples still resist it today, even against all the might of the military-industrial complex and the cultural missionaries spreading its Word.

And I myself, after two and a half years of living without money, no longer see it as extreme. Extreme is converting the Earth's splendour and bounty – its salmon, its magnificent ancient redwoods, its rolling hills, its generous soil, its gushing rivers, its gloriously Wild creatures – and the pageantry of life into meaningless numbers with no intrinsic worth. Extreme is not knowing our neighbours, let alone feeling comfortable enough to ask them for help. Extreme is having a spare room in your house while others sleep on the street. Extreme is spending our lives doing jobs we hate, just so that we can repay the bank money that it created out of thin air in the first instance. Extreme is taking what was freely given to us and then charging another part of Nature for it, only sharing that which was gifted to us if we receive something in return. Extreme is walking towards the precipice as we smugly recycle our tetrapaks. Extreme is letting it all unfold before our eyes, as if somehow we were not powerful enough to stop it.

Read more:

Mark's blog: