With Some Notes and Some Quotes
This part is about notes: The two replies to my last post on what qualifies as a gift fall into the both/and category. I agree, so I am ready to move on, at least as soon as I summarize those replies, since my dark perception of readers is that few will go back to check old posts. OK, summary: Lisa says realistically every gift falls somewhere on a continuum of joy. Well, those aren’t her words exactly but rather my paraphrase. But don’t you just love “continuum of joy”! I’m so glad I thought of it because now I just want to go around asking people, “Where are you on the continuum of joy? 100%, 90? 10?”
That Looks A Lot Like a Riddle. What Fun!
When you read these posts I hope you also read the replies, because many of them are more thought-provoking than the posts that inspired them! For instance, last time when I wrote about how I perceived Heifer International to be a great model of a gift economy. Lisa responded that it is a great business model, but not a true example of gifting because the recipient of a heifer or other animal is expected to take care of the animal in a prescribed way and pass the “gift” to another family. In contrast a true gift, according to Lisa…and Eisenstein…is given freely with no expectations.
Meet Sacred Economics
I think I am close to saying everything I have to say about a gift economy, so two more posts, maybe? Of course I can never be sure because the posts write themselves when they are ready. (And that, my dears, is how the future is written–at least in my book…and in my posts.)
Anyway, lately I’ve been asking myself, in its purest form what would a gift economy look like?
I Am On A Role…
and a roll…when it comes to writing the future of a gift society. Remember Fuller Banks, a character in my novel The Potluck? For those of you who have not read or don’t recall earlier posts containing excerpts from this book, Fuller is a financier who brings the expensive Russian caviar to a gathering of spiritual adventurers. Later, he explains why he was invited to join that group, “I would say that it’s because I am a rich man, and I view that as a blessing. And blessings are spiritual, aren’t they? It makes me happy to give people gifts that they can’t afford for themselves. I do occasionally help people in need, but it makes me a lot happier to give some ordinary person an unexpected luxury item. Something that gives them pleasure.”
This One Is About Your Pearls, Swine And Casting, If You Get My Drift
Last time I ended with a question: what about those jerks who take advantage of generosity in a gift economy? In answer, I tell unto you a parable. Well, actually it’s a true story from a recent webcast featuring Charles Eisenstein answering questions about sacred economics. (Oh, this is too funny! I just typed “scared” economics instead of “sacred.” Interesting transposition: maybe this whole subject of economics does fall into two basic categories: scared and sacred.)
Anyway, a woman called into the show to state that, impressed by the concept of a gift economy. she had become involved in setting up a store where those in need could help themselves to donated items. Can you believe it! complained the caller, there was this one woman who came in regularly, picked over the new items, took the best of the best and then sold them on E-Bay!
But Can It Still Be Fun?
I won’t know the answer to that until I finish writing this post. Last week I attempted to summarize for a small group of my friends what, according to Charles Eisenstein, is wrong with a market economy. I was very disorganized with the pieces of information I threw at them, and even now my brain feels fuzzy when I think about all the moving parts. Still, I promised you. So I will keep my promise, but with a caveat: if I’m not having fun, I will stop and return to a state of spiritual ADHD and you will be SOL. What I mean by that is that you will have to read Sacred Economics yourself because I will be MIA.