Ye ole shits and giggles in the modern age

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game”

Michael Jordan

 

Well i’d ask what do you do now that is so great?

A movie?

What if you saw it or what if you heard it weren’t so good?

Go out for a meal?

Why not have a better time at home for half the price?

Renovate a new bathroom?

What if your neighbour could show you were to get a better one free?

Actually there aren’t that many people going for that option. Most pay a contractor to sort it and if you are poor you can’t afford that type of fun!

How about…

Playing your own music…music was mostly owned by the village not the recording label.

Brewing your own beer…sure it will be an immodest concoction, but the mild toxicity from the unsanitary brewing conditions will make a thimble a pint. Value for money indeed!

Sitting quietly enjoying.

Riding a cheap bike in an inhospitable terrain.

Playing cars (or whatever) with a small child.

Making a hut with grandparents.

Cooking playdooh.

Reading a book from the library.

Listening to any song on spofify free.

Better still make and play your own music!

Talking with your family.

Riding bikes together.

Swinging in a playground like monkey’s…

 

Fun beyond list-able…still not compelling enough not to go to work…

…for some, but I don’t need any encouragement to ditch work!!

 

 

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Crossing the Impossible Divide

“Illusion is an anodyne, bred by the gap between wish and reality”

Herman Wouk

 

A mutual friend introduced be to a woman who was interested in meeting me. So my friend invited me for coffee and a chat.

Basically the woman had financial problems and for some reason my friend said that I had financial solutions.

This lady was really interested in how much we were saving and how big our savings were, but she was in disbelief about our expenses as I outlined them.

I told her they were low because we grew vegetables.

She said “yeah but you can’t live on vegetables”.

She challenged the fact that I didn’t identify any mobile phone expenses.

I told her that we are happy with phones that are still plugged into houses.

She said “Christ you can’t live without a mobile phone nowadays”.

I suggested at the very least she could cut her bill down form $220 per month. That helpful suggestion wasn’t received in the manner it was intended.

I told her that we preferred to ride bicycles to driving a car.

“I’ve got kids!” she said. So I told her that we did too and we reckon they liked biking more than being passengers in a car.

She implied I was irresponsible. You know putting my kids at risk.

About now I switched the conversation to another topic because I could see she wanted magical solutions that didn’t involve any changes or any compromises.

This lady needs to win the lottery, get a way better job or get divorced for a richer man, but I’ve got a feeling that even if she did we could still be having this conversation.

Overcoming apathy by shedding environmental guilt

“All that self-expression has just created a generation of morons, hooked on an endless appetite for rubbish”

Vivienne Westwood

 

Did you ever stand there with a piece of trash and feel what I guess you’d call environmental guilt? Maybe it was some excessive packaging for an electronic gizmo you just bought or perhaps the cling wrap from your kids lunch.
Of course you realise that there is no ‘away’ to throw this trash. It will go somewhere and it will be there for hundreds and hundreds of years. Almost everyone is concerned about the cavalier disregard and the environmental callousness of corporate production chains.

 

Many of us may be conscious consumers that try to reduce harm by avoiding purchasing the worst products from the least green companies. The vexing thing is that no matter what we buy it isn’t going to be a good choice for the environment. The production chains are so entangled so polluting, and so inherently unfair to labour that their aren’t easy ways to live ethically.

 

No matter how you try you will invariably make significant contributions to the very environmental problems that concern you.

 

The most unfortunate thing is that the situation can feel so helpless that mere mortals become disenfranchised. We come to feel nothing we do matters. When the learned helplessness of the individual is accumulated into a helpless community and magnified again into a helpless nation then you have the makings of a classic social dilemma.
But, how to overcome the apathy that results when one feels helpless and hopeless?

 

The first step is to ensure a continual connection with nature. Few individuals can spend time in a natural setting and not feel a deep connection. We are animals after all.

 

Next we need to begin to learn and understand that environmental concern does not necessarily result in living an impoverished life. Saving energy is saving money. Reducing rubbish is saving money. Upcycling and recycling is making money. Growing your own food is enhancing your wellbeing, minimising oil consumption and improving the soil. Good environmental decisions are often good personal decisions.

 

Last we need to move away from fear or guilt motives for new behaviour. Positive results seldom come from negative motivations. Given an understanding of the problem and a participatory opportunity many people will do the right thing.
Good information and good intentions need an opportunity for expression. We must create better opportunities and more positive ways to express environmental issues. We all have the power to change ourselves. In changing ourself we change the world.

Providence, joy and the gift of work

“Work is the joy in returning one’s gifts to the community”

Matt Fox

Mostly we have the wrong view of money.

We are encouraged to think about money as a means of enabling barter. Something of worth that can easily be stored and translated into a positive future outcome. But, we must move away from this thinking and recognize that fiat money has no true value. We must see money for what it is. Money is Debt. In striving to accumulate money we incur more future debt than the amount of money that we are ever likely to have. In this way we become betrothed, beholden…enslaved…

If every debt in the world were paid back today there would not be enough money in existence to complete the exercise.

Once money is seen as debt and debt is understood as a loss of life and freedom then our interactions with money must change.  It follows that our wrong view of money leads to our wrong view of life. That our life is our work. The mistake is understandable, but it is still a mistake!!

Instead of doing what we otherwise would (returning our gift) we do tasks that are so stupid, so pointless and so boring that no fool would do them in the absence of a monetary payment. We prostitute our talents and trivialize ourselves all the while distracting ourselves from stumbling upon our true calling.

Finding your unique individual gift is very hard. This is not because it requires hours of introspection and a deep self knowledge or anything like that. It is hard to find because it is usually hiding in plain sight. Our gifts reside in our pleasures our hobbies and our passions. It’s just that we are almost never thinking vocation during recreation.

If finding our gift is hard, harder still is having the courage to place our trust in providence and forge the untraveled path.

This path may well be un-monied, but notice how fellow travelers appear rich beyond bounds. Contrast this with those still stuck in the traditional career and let your heart not your head set your compass for the future.

The circle

“Capitalism is against the things that we say we believe in – democracy, freedom of choice, fairness. It’s not about any of those things now. It’s about protecting the wealthy and legalizing greed”

Michael Moore



If you gathered your neighbours into a circle, to figure out how to survive as a community, it’s likely you’d base your system on mutual aid and mutual support. You’d agree tasks and work collaboratively. If somebody failed in one area others in the community would pitch in or compensate in some way. Basically things would work because the system is based on kindness, trust and love.

This is how it has worked since prehistory. It is how small bands of humans have come together to tame the wilderness to survive and later to thrive.

Now throw money into the circle.

Immediately you would see a shift in behaviour from collaboration to competition. People would do things to each other that would not be acceptable in the first system, but in the second circle they would justify lying or dishonesty because there is money at stake. In the first circle aggressive, competitive, dishonest or greed type behaviours would see you cast out of the community. In a system based on trust and mutual aid the community could not afford to condone such activity. Firstly there is no need and second it puts everyone’s survival at risk. Because banishment from the community would be a harsh punishment and a survival risk its unlikely it was a common experience.

However in the moneyed circle the goal is to do whatever is necessary to own all the riches. This enables one to control all others in the circle in order to maintain ones position of privilege. The ultimate outcome would be to retreat from the commoners in the circle to self imposed isolation in a secure castle to protect the riches. In time one would become so disconnected and dislocated from the lives of the other members of the circle that it would be hard to find any source of commonality. Perhaps one would grow to despise the others in the circle. Seeing them as little more than cattle and them accordingly.

The source of gnashing clawing unkindness

“Simple living is arriving at the realisation that you never really own anything at all”

Mr Simple

 

Watch people chasing. Chasing land, buildings, cars, sex. Even marriage is our attempt to own or control another person (although we definitely don’t like to acknowledge that to ourself!). We are obsessed with chasing and owing. Pushing, striving. Being dishonest, unkind, even evil to own more than our neighbor and to impress our parents. This disingenuous and deceitful pantomime to attain, own and control anything and everything we see before us does not lead to satisfaction. We become bored and we throw it all away eventually or we die with nothing. All that scrambling, clawing and gnashing. It is just a diversion from a fulfilling life.

Become content within yourself. Quell your desire. Own nothing. Control nothing. Let things come and go like a passing rainstorm.

Focus on living well. On rich relations and meaningful moments. On giving. On caring. On becoming a better you that inspires all who come into your presence. By casting off your desire, your ego’s need to control, and open yourself up to the important things in life.

Casting aside desire for the material is like opening the spiritual floodgate to a better experience. You gain the space and time to become more connected and to do what matters.

 

Universal Basic Income: A idea whose time has come.

“What was it I was interested in as a youth, before I was told I had to earn my living?”

Robert Anton Wilson

Every citizen deserves the minimums of life. Good food, clean water, and a safe place to shelter.

If this is the goal of humanity then modern economies are failing us dismally.

When the signs of our failed social experiments are so evident we need to start to discuss the alternatives. Good ones like the Universal Basic Income. Basic income is an unconditional regular payment to all individuals without a requirement of work. Basic income replaces pensions, sickness disability and most other welfare payments. There is no eligibility or means testing. Every adult (over 18 years) is eligible. Here is a short video explanation of Basic Income.

Basic income recognises the vast contributions individuals make in a society are often unrecognised because much of it will not part of paid work. Van Gogh for instance lived from charity (a basic income in affect). He did not make a living from his paintings and yet his paintings have been left as his gift to the world!

There are active discussions on Universal Basic Income in many countries like this one in Switzerland for example.

Opponents paint a bleak picture of laziness, high crime rates and affordability, but the truth is that most of these petty complaints are invalid. Basic income is a more fair and equitable approach than the current system that punishes people for not being able to find jobs that don’t exist. No wonder people get fed up and turn to crime! Basic income is also a more effective means to fairly redistribute wealth from the 1% to the 99.

The other criticism of basic income is that proponents just don’t know how an economy works. This line of thinking appears to assume that the bank economics that we have right now is working and that all of humanity have (or soon will have) their basic human needs met. What rot!! They also appear to presuppose that environmental devastation, poverty and starvation are inevitable even necessary. Or if you think this contradictory logic through…it is a fundamental admission that working in jobs, paying taxes for welfare and spending all our remaining money on loans to banks or on consumption of junk is never going to ensure human needs are met on a massive scale.

Face it, things are fucked up badly.

Our next economic system needs to be based around something other than greed!

Every human has the right to the minimums of a descent life and Universal Basic Income is a better means of achieving this simple outcome.

Footnote

There are efforts to deliver UBI in many countries. Join the cause or if there is nothing in your country start something up!!

US http://www.usbig.net/index.php

Canada http://biencanada.ca/

UK http://basicincome.org.uk/

Europe http://basicincome2013.eu/en/index.html

Australia http://www.basicincome.qut.edu.au/

NZ http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/universal-basic-income.aspx