The Moneyless Human #1 - Daniel Suelo
I find it amusing when people continuously tell me it is impossible, en masse, to live without money. For 95% of our time on earth, we lived without money; it's only been in the last blink of an eyelid that we've actually used the stuff, and not a single other species on earth uses it. What people really mean is that human civilisation, with all its modern trappings, would be impossible.
And whilst that is not technically true - a industrialised moneyless economy is possible - I personally can't see how anything requiring clinical division of labour and huge economies-of-scale could work. Peter Joseph, founder of The Zeitgeist Movement, would certainly disagree with me. Incidentally, we're both doing a TED talk in the same event in Porto, Portugal in March, so I guess we'll get a chance to chew the cud on it then, and you'll be able to watch both talks on TED's fantastic website (or even join us on the day). I digress.
One of the most satisfying things about the last few years is the number of people who are now waking up to the inevitable - and inherently destructive - consequences of this liquid tool we call money. Tens of thousands of Freeconomy members have decided to diversify their own economy (by reducing their reliance on money as their only way to meet their needs), many of whom email me every day telling me they want to make the next step but aren't sure how to.
But most importantly, more and more people are taking the big step and actually doing it, 100%. Whilst the freeconomy village is now on the horizon, others across the globe have already started living - and loving - it, albeit on their own, in a similar fashion to how I began the moneyless life.
The fascinating part is that while we all share a common philosophical thread, the reasons behind why we do it differs to varying degrees, and the way in which we do it does also.
So over the next few months I'm going to publish a new series called Moneyless Humans (I actually got a few emails last week complaining that the title of my book, The Moneyless Man, was sexist, which I felt was a bit unfair, given that I had no control over what gender I was born!) and I'm going to introduce these other moneyless people to you. Some of them you may relate to easier than me, or find their views and experiences much more useful to your life than mine. Either way, they'll be a fresh perspective on an issue that more people can see to be at the heart of the ecological and social issues we're faced with today.
This week, we'll start with Daniel Suelo, whose being living without money in the US for 10 years now, putting my paltry 2 years in its rightful place. I hadn't heard of Dan before I started, but just after I started my year his story when viral in the US after a story in Details magazine on this 'caveman' got picked up by MSN, Guardian and others internationally, and has a book coming out next year (he has refused any of the proceeds). He's been an inspiration to me since, and I hope he is to you also. To read his regular blog (which is great!), check out Zero Currency.
Here's a selection of stuff from him including his reasons why, followed by a pick of my favourite quotes from Dan. (just to clarify, I don't necessarily agree with all of Dan's philosophies and there are some we have debated in private, but I want to publish them in complete form solely to give you another perspective on moneyless living)
Why do I live without money? by Dan Suelo
This is the only way I know to live with a clear conscience. The reasons are many. Here are some main ones:
(a)It's Instinctual (b) Political reasons (c) spiritual reasons (d) health reasons (mental & physical health) (e) economic reasons and (f) it's just plain fun, seriously:
(a) It's Instinctual:
Actually, you and I and everybody lived moneyless, without Consciousness of Credit & Debt, when we were born. Our true selves already live moneyless. The rest is bogus illusion. This lifestyle is the nature and desire of children. Any child or young person I talk to, not yet too programmed by the Man, thinks it's cool.
All creatures, all the universe, outside the walls of commercial civilization live moneyless. That's why nature, outside civilization's constricts, is perfectly balanced. Yet no nation on earth, even with its Ph.D. economists, can even balance its budget!
This requires little explanation. Look at politics. Look at America's & the world's rampant materialism. Look at the droves of churches backing these politics, trying to hide greed under masks of piety. Look at corporations, world trade. Need I say more? Their fruit speaks for itself.
Mixed with my kid instincts, I grew up in an Evangelical Christian home. I took my religion seriously. But I started wondering why professed Christians rarely follow the teachings of Jesus - namely the Sermon on the Mount, namely giving up possessions, living beyond Credit & Debt, freely giving & freely taking, giving, expecting nothing in return, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living beyond payback of either evil-for-evil or good-for-good, living and walking without guilt (debt), without grudge (debt), without judgment (credit & debt), living by Grace (Gratis, not by our own works but by the works of the true Nature flowing through us).
As I grew older, opening up my mind, I started learning that these principles of Christianity are the principles of every religion - like Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Mormonism, Shamanism, Paganism, etc. (Despite the institutionalized bastardizations of each of these religions, selling their Spirit for 30 pieces of silver).
No religion has a monopoly on truth. And those farthest from their own truth are the ones who think themselves the only true church. The core principles of the world's religions are the very principles of Nature, "the Law written on every heart." And you know this at your deepest core. Did not Jesus use the examples of the ravens, lilies, rain raining on the just & unjust, sparrows, seeds, and our own hearts, to drive home these points?
However, this brought me to a point where I was sick of studying & blabbing about religion & philosophy, because I did not, could not, practice them. Nobody did, nobody could. Then I entered a phase of cynicism, bitterness, spiraling into clinical depression, & disdain for all religion and talk of things spiritual, disdain for conceptions of God.
I had lived in Denver & Boulder, Colorado, and decided I was sick of the rat race. So I gave up my job and moved to Moab, Utah. I eventually started realizing that the only way to overcome depression was to simplify my thoughts, let them go. This is Buddhism 101, the inevitable result of anybody wanting to heal. And then I realized my stuff was also my thoughts. As I let go of useless thoughts, I let go of useless possessions. And as I let go of useless possessions, I found more and more that I needed less and less. It was not an effort, but more like a tree dropping its leaves or seeds. And with my possessions, possessions of thoughts and stuff and people, flew away my depression. But this odyssey continued to go even deeper.
Every time I made a resume for a job, signed my name to a document, opened a bank account, or even bought a banana at the supermarket, I felt a tinge of dishonesty, like I was not letting my yes be yes and my no be no. Yup, you know what I am talking about. Everybody does. I was becoming supersensitive to this basic knowledge. Even the slightest seed of dishonesty was just that--a seed. One seed can populate the mind, the whole earth. One dark eye can darken the whole body, the entire universe!
One year I went to Alaska with my 2 friends, Leslie & Mel, in their van & spent the late spring, summer, and early fall there. At first I worked on the docks. But none of it felt honest. So I quit and decided to go on a solo pack trip and try to live off the land for a few weeks. Lo & behold, I ran into a Basque dude named Ander who was also toying with thoughts of living off the land. So that's what we did. We speared fish, ate mushrooms & berries, and lived very well. Then we hit the road, hitch-hiking, and realized how generous people were, and were astonished at the plethora of magical "coincidences" that kept happening to us. Eventually we split up and I decided to hitch all the way back to Moab, Utah, with $50 in my pocket, just to see if I could. When I arrived in Moab, I had $25 left. Then I realized I had only used money for things I didn't need, like snacks and a beer. For the first time, I realized I could live totally moneyless.
During my time in Alaska, I was also thinking about the concept of the world's debts, banking, corporations, war, and poverty. My constant mantra was: "Forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors". For I was realizing, more and more, that there really isn't a line of division between physical debt and spiritual debt. Physical & Spiritual debt are Siamese twins. I knew, from gradually becoming liberated from clinical depression, that mental debts, called guilt & vengeance, were inextricably linked with physical debts. And mental debts are also inextricably linked with physical disease. And compassion does not judge debtors but forgives them, just as healers don't judge the sick but heal them, make them whole, accept them as a whole. The love of money, the attachment to Credit and Debt, truly is the root of all evil, all dis-ease, all un-easiness.
Nothing I am saying here requires research or proof, because all the evidence is right within you. Just take time to look.
(f) It's Just Plain Fun!
I became fascinated with Hindu Sadhus, who wander in India without money and possessions. I wanted to become one. A couple years after my Alaska odyssey, I went to India with a close friend, Michael. Actually, since we'd gotten killer-deal tickets to Thailand, we went to Thailand first. There I ran into a Buddhist monk named Sumetho and got whisked away to a Buddhist monastery in northern Thailand, outside Chiang Mai. It was a life-changing experience. Then I hooked up with Michael again and we hopped to India. After wandering in India for a couple months, I ended up at McLeod Ganj, near Dharamsala, where Tibetan refugees are. And the Dalai Lama happened to be there, and I got to hear his talks for a week. Then he turned to us westerners. He said he thought it was admirable that people come from all lands to explore Tibetan Buddhism. But he emphasized that truth is found in every religion, and perhaps only a few could find fulfillment in another faith. Otherwise, he recommended that everybody go back to where they were planted, rather than trying to find greener grass on the other side of the fence. This cinched it for me. What good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth, to return to the authentically profound principles of spirituality hidden beneath our own religion of hypocrisy, and be a sadhu there. This idea exhilarated me. I can be a sadhu in America, I thought. To be a vagabond, a bum, and make an art of it - this idea enchanted me. The idea of it was just plain fun.
Quotes from Suelo:
Suelo on ‘ownership and possession':
A moneyless existence ... is not a matter of giving up possessions, because there is nothing to give up, really. Nobody owns anything, so it is simply a matter of realizing that you already own nothing. Then, when you lose something and you realize you never owned it in the first place, there is no sense of loss.
And when somebody asks you for something, you freely give it to them because it really isn’t yours to give anyway. Then have faith that everything comes as you need it in the moment.
Suelo on ‘living without money’:
To say that I live without money isn’t saying anything, really. That’s like saying I live without belief in Santa Claus. Now, if we lived in a world where everybody believed in Santa Claus, you might think I’m stepping out on a limb to live without Santa Claus.
Suelo, asked ‘Do you think money is evil?’:
No. Money is illusion. Illusion is neither good nor evil. Imagine if you had eyes that saw reality rather than your own belief. Imagine if you saw a $100 bill as a piece of paper with a pretty work of art on it and nothing else ... One time I found a $20 bill and decided to play with it in this way. I cut it up and made a collage out of it.
In the next edition, we'll hear from The Moneyless Human #2, Heidemarie Schwermer, a 68 year old German woman who has been doing it for 13 years. Who said you had to be young with no family in order to live moneyless!
Comment on this Post:
Tom Smith comments ...
Look forward to the next one!
Bob Ballard comments ...
Freakin' awesome blog post! Wow! I am encouraged to read about people who have been feeling as I have about money since I was a child. Thank you.
Carla Denyer comments ...
Woo Heidemarie Schwermer next, very exciting! This is a great idea.
Trish Scott comments ...
Wonderful post! Thank you. I appreciate that you and others are paving the way back to sanity.
jason palmer comments ...
good if you can live off the land, not sure if that really practical for most people, barter, as used in your book, seems a good middle way
Lon S. comments ...
I'll follow this, but I have my doubts. The lotus of the argument is misplaced. Of course we can live without money. The question is not whether we can live without money, but whether we can live without those things which money facilitates. I tell my kids that we’re free to do anything we want—to the extent to which our resources will allow. In this country I’m free to learn to fly a jet, but I don’t have the resources to do so. There’s no trick to loving without money; the trick is living without the opportunities it facilitates.
Carla Denyer comments ...
PS. Please make much song and dance nearer the time to remind us all when your TED talk is nearing. I have friends who (quite seriously) would classify having been on TED as a sign that you have *MADE IT* in life :-)
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ Carla - OK, I will do! Yeah I love TED talks too, they're awesome, and such a great organisation and philosophy.
Lesley Roberts comments ...
Ney lad, you 'made it' when you were born into life!....
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ Lesley - I agree!
@ Lon S. - correct me if I am wrong, but did I not address that precise point in the second paragraph?
Louise Brookes comments ...
Really great idea and read thanks!
Brian comments ...
@ Lon S.
With regard to learning how to fly. If upon your journey you happen upon a friend who's mad about flying and has his own jet, i'm sure he/she would gladly teach you for free. just a thought
Cathy Elaine comments ...
Linda Emslie comments ...
uplifting thank you xxx
Ceinwyn Louise comments ...
Great read Mark x
Jason McDermott comments ...
excellent idea Mark
Jason Palmer comments ...
A lot of people are switching from money to Gold, hence the high price of gold.
Daniel Loureiro comments ...
I'm finishing your book, it's great! Wow when i read Porto i though, nice, because its were i live and know i think im going to TEDx ! :)
I don't know if you read it but, probably yes, but you should read Daniel Quinn: Ishmael, The story of B and My Ishmael. I believe there you will feel like home! :)
Derek Dubolski comments ...
Your blog continues to inspire and support. Thank you.
pob comments ...
Thanks for sharing other peoples stories and views, it's a welcome distraction to all the negativity that talking out against money attracts.
Happy January, people!
susan comments ...
So my question is, has anyone out there tried to live without or with a lot less money, who have children. More importantly children who are at school ? We have 4 and I really don't see how it can be done.
curbina comments ...
I'm just so happy to know there are many more than Mark, in spite the apparent disimile points of view, the need to change a twisted system is the great driving force. I loved the quote about starting to see money for what it is: pieces of paper with some pretty work of art. That's very inspiring.
geli comments ...
it is so hard to do it, when you have children. I am trying to live with less money. I don't have much anyway!
Daniel Suelo is a fantastic soul. Action always speaks louder than words. The mere fact he has continued with his moneyless adventures for over a decade now proves the illusory "qualities" of money.
To really make it is not to appear on some TV/radio station, no matter how radical, or liberal, or forward-thinking it may appear to be. As soon as we become popular we need to beware. A true prophet may have a honeymoon period, but unless the stones fly (and end up hitting their spot), true greatness is nothing but a shadow and a whim.
The most radical, liberal, tolerant, balanced arm of the system (and that includes The Guardian) may turn out to be our worst enemy if we believe, for even one second, that it is our friend.
True greatness flies in the face of respectability. Money is the central tool that the system uses to inspire compromise at various levels. But there are other insipid tools we can inhale, to lessen our impact, or even totally derail us. Vanity... even tolerance, can become our worst ally. I imagine many people would want to pick up a stone and hurl it in my direction for that last comment. I believe there is a good, and there most certainly is evil. If we aren't able to recognise it in ourselves, how are we ever going to be truly free of its hold on life?
B comments ...
I want to say kudos first on a well written and informative post. This was very helpful and it is helpful to see like minded people out there. I recently started to pull away from the corporate life I have been leading and trying to become completely independent. Although I am not there yet, I am making great stride. I have been documenting my progression at http://bdubsjournal.blogspot.com and hope to eventually reduce my need for money to 0. Thanks for your insight, I will continue looking here for tips and inspiration.
Heidemarie Schwermer, I really like her and I have read both her books & met her twice.
Just think she really does not belong here, as the only thing she has in commen with Mark is that she lives without money.
She lives better then most of us, by the way.
I'd agree that albeit Heidemarie Schwermer lives moneyless she is only proposing an alternative to the use of money as a means of exchange and focusing it on barter. The pay it forward concept is not part of her phylosophy as far as I could find.
Not critizicing, but I think that the idea here is not to have to exchange things for things on an equal basis, something that can also end consuming our souls and taking the fun out of life as money does for many of us.
www.RevolutionaryAlternatives.ca comments ...
Sweet Post! I am also an idealist looking for ways to start living the way I know we can, and hoping others follow. Thanks for the insights. My favorite author on this is Tom Hodgkinson in "How to be Free". A really funny UK anarchist.
James St. James
Jason Palmer comments ...
a walk through a history museum will show anyone that people used to trade goods, arrow heads, beads, jewellery,spears,swords, pottery,grain
anything else to trade ?
Omar comments ...
This is an inspiring community. Keep up the good work
Hannah comments ...
Hi! Just came across your site today. I left a very wealthy life to find my own happiness. I am much happier, yet "impoverished" (by societies standards of course :) I find too many poor people think money will make them happy and rich worry what their money is doing. It is an illusion, I couldn't agree more. There seem to be two extremes happening now. The people who want to, do, or are trying to live off the grid. Those that are obsessed with the idea that money solves problems. I am glad there is someone who can eloquently write and set the example. If you want to get to know a girl like you... feel free to contact me.
David comments ...
An inspiring read. Loved your book too and I'm wondering if there is going to be a Part 2...even a blog about how you managed during the coldest British winter for many a year!!
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ Hannah - I think it's fantastic you've had the bravery to do that, and I couldn't agree more with your views on how the poor and rich currently view money. It is just an illusion. Drop me an email anytime.
@ commentator with no name - Yeah I agree Heidemarie's experiment is different because of views on bartering, but I feel I want to share it with people anyway as I feel there is a lot to learn from it and some people may find it really useful. Bartering can at the very least really enhance your relationships with those in your local community, and that has social and ecological benefits. Some may see Heidemarie's experiment as more access able.
@ David - yeah I plan on writing future books, but a blog on how I survived the winter would be easy - just embrace it! Whilst it does make things a bit more difficult, and longer, I love winter as I do all the seasons. To hate winter in the UK is to wish 40% of your life away! Glad you enjoyed the book, hope you found something useful in it. Thanks David.
Suelo comments ...
Mark, since I couldn't write something new for you (being on the road), thanks for posting this from my older stuff. It's grand we are all finding each other, and the feeling of inspiration I get from you is mutual, my bro.
But even as we cyber-communicate, I keep reminiding myself my priority is flesh and blood people here and now. It's been wonderful being out of cyber contact.
I really see eye-to-eye with you that "clinical division of labour and huge economies-of-scale" just wouldn't work, at least by your and my definition of work. Since being a vagabond in southern California these past weeks, I see more and more that people have become automatons in cars, almost entirely incapable of loving neighbors, because things have gotten too big, too crowded, too automated and digitalized. In small communities, people remember how to acknowledge, hang out with, and help each other. As thousands upon thousands of cars whiz by me, I feel the creepiness of how this isn't happening here. All, I mean ALL, we are required to do, and all that we yearn for, is to love our neighbors, to risk living and breathing; but modern people are loving everyone and everything EXCEPT neighbors. We create social programs, institutions, churches, technology, professional prostitutes to replace our ONE requirement. We send money and join movements to save everybody "out there", even as we don't even know who lives in front of us. And we wonder why nobody seems to get happier, the more "good" that we do.
The answer isn't complex at all. It's so simple we step right over it.
Love to you
Simon on the Sofa comments ...
As always a great post and very thought provoking. Looking forward to the next one.
chrissy comments ...
sounds really great, just eradd the section on religion and your travels in USA, sounds very inspiring.
agree regarding religion, there is no one religion that is perfect for everyone, but I would say that the word religion is the problem. I believe we all are spiritual beings, and that is why we have such a problem in this society, cos it denies that. It turns it into sill superstition or escapism, of which t is neither.
John Donaghue has written some brilliant books which are really worth reading and put this in far better words than I can do here!
As always the BIG problem is that I cannot physically get up and live decide to live on the land, for physical reasons, I would starve as I cannot work the land! Which is why I believe that communities are the way forward, or maybe back! I agree that money should not be a part of this community, but the old quote, "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need." Although I cannot work the land, I CAN care for people who are sick, cook, bake, teach others to eat healthily, babysit, teach children, make clothes, make useful and attractive items. As well as help bring up the next generation in a kind and loving way.
But I cannot seem to find any communities who are looking at this way of life, all the ones I have been pointed to are wanting people to work on the land only, which is not how communities in the "real world" worked, it is about looking after each other and sharing skills and love as well as well as working the land.
maria comments ...
it's totally unrealistic, when you have family and need a roof over your head. rent and council tax, education, heating, fuel, food (out of date food in skips is a health hazard) and health does not come free. and what happens when you need specialist care for young and old, none of this is barterable.
Des Troy comments ...
Thanks for this link Mark, Suelo sounds absolutely fascinating and his philosophy dazzling in its clarity. I will investigate his story further...
The Question comments ...
Mariah - I wouldn't waste your breath. They don't listen here. It's a hypocritical cult of personality. How anyone that's prepared to sell you their printed autobiography can then expect to be taken seriously arguing that peopel live without money I don't know.
Yes we could live without money; that's if we survive the resulting global meltdown, resource and territory wars that follow and are content to make do without any of the trappings of the modern world - including those that Mr Boyle continues to enjoy. What's good for the goose certainly isn't good for the gander.
Pete comments ...
I have just bought 3 widescreen televisions for my home. How could I do this without money?
Steven Ksiezak comments ...
I have changed my life 6 years ago, not as much as you but a bit. I am sure others have said this but I think your way of lif is not possible if you have a family. I note that neither you or the guy from the states has children. Even if you did I am not sure that I would like the close community that your style of life would need. I enjoy privacy and independence. I am not against community but like everything, including money it has its place...that said I wish you hapiness and a large family.
Chrissy comments ...
HI, I am not quite sure why the antogonistic posts? Maria, ou of date food is not a health risk, the dates promote sales, the nose and eyes will tell you when food is a health risk. The labels tell the retailer to buy some more, and the consumer to waste food, so they can buy more! A great book to read on the waste of food and the way our food has become an industry is "The Revolution Should Not be Microwaved."
An I thought the autobiography was not to keep Mark in the lap of luxury, he has clearly stated that he intends to use the money raised to build a moneyless community. Sadly this cannot be done without money, as in this society we can only gain land and many essentials with money. When this has been done and we have a community that can stand alone in self sufficiency and take care of its less able people is when we really can have a moneyless society.
I believe meanwhile we have to adapt and find was of doing this, in the same way you cannot make an omelette without breaking egg shells, we have to do what we can.
I would like to see more ideas on how we can move forward on this plan?
There are some great people around, and we need more people to see how this can be done.
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ Steven Ksiezak - thank you for some thoughtful words. On the matter of you enjoying 'independence', I think you're deluding yourself (I don't mean that negatively, just honestly). Independence is a complete myth. Are you really independent? Are you not currently dependent on farmers to grow your food? Oil rig workers to drill your oil? Plastics workers to make the packaging that allows your food to be shipped all over the world? People in factories to make all the stuff you enjoy? Bees to pollinate 33% of your food? Earthworms to keep the soil in which your food is grown healthy?
Independence cannot exist. Like everything in an eco-system, you are completely interdependent. This is no bad thing - in fact, to me in brings the beauty into life. I realised a few years ago that not only was independence undesirable, it was also factually impossible.
What would happen if this economic model collapsed (which, because of it's inherent flaws, one day will)? Would you still be independent? How would you eat? How would you heat your home? Could you do it all yourself? If not, then would you still see yourself as independent?
Also, I think what you say about a family comes from a misunderstanding. I repeatedly say that I agree that in our current economic model doing this with a family would be much more difficult (though certainly not completely impossible). What we are now trying to do is build a micro model of an economic system in which raising a family would be entirely possible, and a much more healthy environment to do so that this economic system we raise them in now.
@ Pete - thankfully, you couldn't!
@ Chrissy - thanks for that, I get tired of repeating those points sometimes (which isn't the best approach by me), so thank you for doing it for me!
I agree, I'd love to hear more ideas too.
Ant comments ...
Please can I suggest that you set up a freeconomy FAQ page that you can refer people to?
ps. I know you had a previous post where you encouraged people to ask questions but a FAQ page would be really useful for newcomers and also I think for you..
vanyben comments ...
Mark, I always feel inspired by your posts. I love and follow Suelo's blog as I love and follow yours. What I find most important is the great examples you both give us. I have a family, two children (they're teenagers) and - at the moment - I couldn't live totally moneyless BUT after reading your book Mark and after starting to follow Suelo's thoughts I've changed my life greatly and now I'm using less and less money and (that's funny) I'm 'needing' less and less money! Being a mother I can influence our daily food choices, fuel choices, communication choices, clothes choices, etc. I know I can't force my children or my husband into my personal choices but I can share and discuss ideas, points of views, suggestions, etc with them and I find it's great. Thank you for showing us the possible paths.
NGC6705 comments ...
A good friend just pointed me to this blog, and I just joined the Freeconomy community forum. I also just read the most recent blog entry from Mr Suelo.
The first thing I notice is that Mr Boyle is selling his book 'The Moneyless Man' on Amazon for 6 pounds. Why not just make a digital version available either on this blog or on the forum and bypass the moneyed Amazon?
The other thing I notice is that Mr Suelo's journey he describes is all take, take, take, with very little giving. Why is that?
I know, I know, I should read a lot more of these posts. I completely intend to since I'm totally in favor of trying to find a way to get us back to living without the need for money. I just wanted to give y'all my first impression. I'm all for a moneyless society (as Suelo says, money is just an illusion and I agree with that 100%), but the fact of the matter is that we are all swimming in this illusion and have made it such that we die (or at least suffer greatly) without it. To rely on the hand-outs of others (who paid MONEY to get those things they're giving to him for free) makes Suelo as much part of the money economy as the rest of us.
So is this blog & forum about living without money, or is it about living by freeloading (riding on the backs of others who still use money)?
Peace to All
Mark Boyle comments ...
@ NGC6705 - I appreciate your thoughts. I do agree with you though and think you would be best to take the advice you give yourself and read previous posts, which explains all your queries. I've responded to these questions about it a million times now so I'm leaving it up to others from now on to research.
There is a blogpost dedicate completely to the decision to sell the book, which I actually put to a public vote:
All the proceeds are going to the Freeconomy Charitable Trust to set up the first moneyless village, which will be a research and educational centre for moneyless living. I know it sounds ironic needing money to set up a moneyless village, but that's the reality of the economic model we find ourselves in right now, and the model we would love to change.
I also wouldn't mistake Suelo's humility for him being take, take, take - I know for a fact he volunteers lots, but doesn't talk about it. Would you prefer he was a boastful person, or a humble one who is grateful for whatever he receives.
What I love best about Dan's way - which is different to mine - is the spirit in which he does things - it is all pay-it-forward based, and I think we could all learn from that.
This is a website and blog for moneyless living, not freeloading. To suggest otherwise would be to also accuse a bird of freeloading because it takes the berries and materials for its nest for free!
A question for you, if I may - why not just use your real name instrad of NGC6705, it's a bit friendlier that way? Why do humans use such names anyway? I think it is important to put your real name to whatever you say, otherwise you get all the problems that we all know come with anonymity on the net.
Someone recently inferred that the freeconomy movement is all about free-loading. The fact is, it wouldn't work if it was, but this accusation is often levied as a way of discrediting what this movement is all about, which really just a change in motivation.
A friend of mine wrote the following short article which is definitely relevant to this whole issue and hopefully answers this question a bit more clearly. I hope you don't mind me posting it here, Mark. I am not in the habit of posting articles, but I feel this one may qualify as something of an exception!
Wages and Gifts
We pay for clothes. We pay for rent. We pay for food, petrol, parking spaces, town water, and medical treatment. Even the services that appear to be free, like libraries, parks and the use of roads, are paid for by taxes.
But the money we pay for these goods and services does not really do anything. It is a myth - part of a universal religion called "economics".
From the time we are very young, we are taught to expect payment, or "wages" for everything we do. Wages may be lollies, beads, shells, coins, or just numbers on a balance sheet.
We are told that we could not survive without wages. The tokens (called money) that we receive as wages become a "means of exchange", in a world where people do not trust other people to help them freely. When we have money we don't need to trust people: we can force them to work for us... but only if they too stay convinced that they could not survive without money.
Working for wages destroys good human relationships. This system stems from distrust: it also leads to competition, pride, self-righteousness, hatred, and full-scale wars.
People who are working for wages are never really free. Even if they like their work most of the time, they know that they cannot leave it or upset their employers for fear of losing their jobs. They are slaves to the "system," or religion of economics.
This subtle dissatisfaction makes wage-earners resent anyone who breaks free from the system. Non wage-earners are called "bludgers". The wage-earners envy the bludgers, but are frightened to imitate them. They say it is "righteous" to work hard for wages and they invent religious defenses for their self-righteousness.
These wage-earners could be genuinely happy... if they would forget about money and just do things that are helpful for other people. They would actually work harder and stop envying others as well.
But could they survive without wages? We believe they could.
They would survive on gifts. Their time and possessions would become gifts to others. And others would give gifts to them.
People who live by gifts, (rather than by wages) have more time to make friends and less need for possessions (which are often substitutes for human relationships anyway.) They don't get rich. But then they don't need to get rich to be happy. Because they have the important things.
Suelo comments ...
Initially, I think how much gratitude I feel for Mark's post & the positive comments. But putting my ego aside, I also realize my gratitude for the negative comments. They bring thoughts & questions we all have to light.
Yeah, Mark, I also get these comments zillions of times, which is why I broke down & made a FAQ (my blog links to it). Hopefully my answers can become more complete as time goes.
@ NGC6705: speaking of which, I address your comment in my FAQ. My first question to you, to answer to yourself, not to me, is "do you take more than you need?" I'll add that it's funny irony a big reason I live this way was I got tired of partaking in the commercial culture of take, take, take, giving little back. You need only look around to see how commercialism is sucking the world of resources for rofit, giving only crumbs & obscene amounts of perma-trash back. (I think I even say, "take, take, take" in my website somewhere). The earth can't sustain our taking way more than we need. I decided the only way we can live in balance (physically, mentally, spiritually) is to take only what we need, no more, no less. Please ponder this: all I ask for in life is food and a place to lay my head, not even a house. And what i do or don't give back is nobody else's business if I am to run on the philosophy of not working for Credit. Money represents Credit. If somebody wants to judge me for giving nothing back, that's their problem, not mine. If I take more than I need, then what I do becomes your business, because I am then trespassing against you, as the capitalist system is, without doubt, trespassing against all other life, and, hence, trespassing against itself.
anagarika comments ...
this is such a great blog, well today i finally got to read your book, Mark, borrowed from the library of course! lovely stuff and very inspiring... and where i'm slowly moving my life, can't wait to take the final steps...
i wanted to add a bit to those writing about this life with children. i've got 3 children (or they've got me!), now 21, 18, 14. They've grown up in the ecological, community, direct action world that i've been living in for the last 22 years. While we've never been money free they certainly seem to have imbibed some of these values, my middle daughter is currently living in a caravan on a free bit of land with a few others, all 3 are avid skippers, and impressively can manage to live with next to nothing for extended periods of time, with few possessions as well. we did alot of travelling when they were small and they are quite happy without most of the comforts that others seem to need. as children, i wanted them to experience both worlds, so they had free choice to develop their own ways of being, so i wouldn't have chosen to totally go money free. now they are almost off my hands, that is the way i'm going.
anyway, thanks for the book, and everything,
NGC6705 comments ...
I appreciate the responses from both Mr Boyle and Mr Suelo.
I'm going to take this discussion over to the forum so it doesn't get lost here. Find it under the new member introductions.
Peace to All
kyle comments ...
@ NGC6705: I was intrigued to know what your answer is in response to Suelo's question about whether you take more than you need? I know I go through ups and downs with this, in the form of abounding and being abased. I also know that I could learn to live off much less, so in that regard I still probably do take a lot more than I need.
It is quite an inspiring thought - namely to find the point where we become completely sustainable and free from the guilt of over-consumption, to whatever degree. I believe that, at least collectively, this could only eventuate if and when we truly embrace our interconnectedness and interdependence. I think this would mean that until the basic needs of everyone are met, we don't take more than we need. The more we do this, the more balance we will bring to the world. Until this radical re-think is realized through direct action, we should stop deceiving ourselves and others that we are "advanced", "civilized", or agents of "progress".
I think a great strength that both Mark and Suelo have shown, is their ability to, in general, not react to criticism. However, I do believe there are people who simply are not interested (at least currently) in real dialogue, which is why they try to lash out at the people who have most effectively held the mirror up to them, showing them what they don't wish to see. Rather than change, or just choose to smile back, or laugh at themselves), some people will do whatever they can to attack the mirror holders.
Something none of us can bluff is how content, or at peace we are. No one needs to justify themselves in this regard. In the silent, secret place of our heart, we know what that still small voice is saying. The worst form of deception is self-deception, after all.
Edee comments ...
In my great country of Canada, 3.8% of the people control 66.6% of all of the wealth (not including property). So I am really starting to take this moneyless idea very seriously. Why do I, a former farmer's daughter, with all of my knowledge about the land, work for a Financial company where I make $42,000 a year when the CEO makes 6 millions a year? This has made me very bitter in the past few days but then I remembered Mark and this blog and it made me feel better. I don't need tons of stuff, all I need is freedom from money.
Thank you for putting things in perspective again and showing me that anybody can do it.
alterrenatif comments ...
Nice job to show us another examples of money free peoples. It's so important to feel that over the world people try another way of life, explore more and more how Life can be fantastic !
Our lifetime is our real value, money is just illusion of it. No, times isn't money. Time is much more than just a exchange tool.
Thank you !
Beth comments ...
I have never understood the concept of money and people laugh at me for this so I just stopped asking but I just don't get it...I think people should be rewarded based on merit; then who would be rich and who would be poor? I will never see this economic sytem in my lifetime on Earth but I have asked perhaps I remember this from Heaven. (If you really think about it it ends poverty, war, financial crime, and inequality).
Awakener comments ...
An inspiring set of messages designed to take us from where we are to where we deeply desire to be..a place our spirit tells us is our real home. We are trusted and can trust others to ensure mutual well-being. I have often been at the mercy of others' generosity , it has never failed. We are loved, we are free. As we get braver at putting such trust into practice we shall prove it to ourselves, a bit at a time. Thank you for reaching out, it helps to encourage me to do the same.
Nikhil Sheth comments ...
Brilliant and inspiring article!
I'm in India itself but don't have the courage to live like a sadhu yet... maybe someday ;)
Francois comments ...
Great read! Thank you! This is the kind of thing that makes me have some faith in our "condition"
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