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?”
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 Don’t Know, But If I Write About It, Maybe I Will Find Out!
The Prosperity Gospel preaches that God wants us to be rich. Those on the other side of the spirituality and money issue, however, are quick to point out that Jesus, who, as far as we know, carried no cash, checks or credit cards–said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth…” and “Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin, yet your heavenly Father takes care of them…” And. oh yeah, let’s not forget his pronouncement that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
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 doesfall 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!
Today I am having fun because (according to Sacred Economics), the old story that I told you last time is going away and a new one is starting to show itself. The old story is one of economic enslavement of the masses, non-conscious ideation (that means most of us had no idea we are slaves), abuse of the earth and its (limited) resources, money as impersonal, and the biggest problem of a market economy: interest-bearing debt. I didn’t mention interest-bearing debt in my last post because, as you may remember, I was not having fun anymore, so I had to quit. But today I am ready to mention it quickly because I am so excited to go on to solutions.
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.
No spiritual ADHA today, so onward and forward with my summary of Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics–accompanied by personal commentary and examples, of course. The central question the author poses is, Why is money not usually treated as something “sacred,” and how can we change that?
because my attention has been diverted to money. I’ve always been interested in money, but probably not in the way many people are. A few years ago I spent some time sorting through my issues around money, such as how I had unthinkingly adopted some of my parents’ perspectives about the commodity. One of those perspectives was that there was always enough for the necessities, but the luxuries were scarce. For example, unless I outgrew them, buying more than one pair of shoes in a school year was a luxury. One fall I made a huge mistake when I selected my pair from the store, and I had to live for an entire miserable year with shoes I hated. Another time, I made excuses of why I could only go on four rides at the county fair, excuses such as, they made me sick, or amusement park rides are just a dumb way to spend one’s time. The truth was that I was embarrassed that my parents had only given me one dollar to spend, whereas all my friends had three or four.