The Problem With Money

(This essay is, to some extent, a follow-up to the previous essay on this blog, “Thinking About the ‘Unthinkable’,” so it might be helpful to read that one first.)

A passage from a very popular book says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Now and then, we hear somebody misquote that passage, or accurately quote somebody else who misquoted it, saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” In my not-so-wise, or more-naïve-than-I-am-today, younger years, I would sometimes rush to correct the misquoters and tell them, somewhat self-righteously, “It is not money itself, but the love of money that is the problem. Money is a value-neutral object and can become positive or negative depending on how we use it.” Maybe so or maybe not, but in recent years I am thinking more and more, not. Of course, if there was no money, if we had an economy in which we did not use currency, then nobody could fall in love (or lust) with it. But that is not a complete or seamless argument, and I don’t think that anybody can logically argue that if there was no money there would be no greed, or no evil at all.

What is the point of discussing the idea of a world or an economy without money, especially when most humans today cannot even imagine such a world and consider the use of currency to be one of the most inescapable, inevitable realities in all of existence? The advent of exchange currencies was a result of scarcity caused by societies becoming unsustainable to their homeland bases, losing their economic independence, and therefore being compelled to depend on trade with other societies. There may have been a time when money was a relatively harmless, or neutral inanimate object, void of any intrinsic character (good or evil), but now—in this time like no other before it—things have changed. The problem with money—in our current dire dilemma, as the Earth and all who dwell therein are facing the worst catastrophe in human history—is the power that money has been given to perpetuate the engines of the monstrous machine that has created the catastrophe and continues to push us further away from any possibility of resolution to this crisis. Money itself has become the corporate industrial monster’s ultimate weapon, as well as the shackling chains by which the 1% has the rest of us in bondage, while most of us sit and watch “helplessly” as they ravage and plunder the only planet that we have. It is monetary economic systems (whether you are under the allegedly “socialist” system in China or the capitalist system of the U.S.A, or any other technologically unsustainable mega-nation) which gives these corporations and banks their leverage and their force. It is the very fact that they have us physically and legally in debt to, and psychologically bound to these corrupt, unnatural, arbitrary and unnecessary monetary systems that makes people go to work in toxic, destructive places like the tar sands of Alberta or the Bakken “oil fields” (to those who see nothing else in those beautiful lands in North Dakota), the Monsanto laboratories, or the Fukushima nuclear plant. It is money and the leverage of the monetary systems that makes even the best of the politicians in this world either completely subject to the will of the corporations, or impotent in their attempts to stop them. It is money and the commercial brainwashing of this submissive, unquestioning, unimaginative, stupefied culture that makes us think we’ve “gotta have it,” “can’t live without it,” and therefore must submit to the system even when it orders us to compromise our consciences and participate in activities that we know are wrong, or even deadly. The currency systems, in which all products and us people, too (not just our labor, but also our time, our energy and our health), must be bought and sold for a monetary price, in an extremely competitive market, compel people to lie and deceive, or steal outright, and sometimes even kill. But, more importantly, these monetary systems also alienate us from the true source of all wealth and all life—the natural world—and deceive us into thinking that these human-crafted strange objects we call “money” are the real wealth that we must covet and pursue endlessly, and that there is no other alternative (“That’s just the way it is.”).

Is the continued use of money and the deadly, life-sucking bondage of our current economic systems really inescapable or perpetually locked-in? One thing that most humans do not realize, in part because the pursuit of money is so normalized and unquestioned and in part because very few people talk about or teach this, is that for about 95% of the history of homo sapiens sapiens, we humans lived fairly well, for the most part, without money, or any form of exchange currency. It was normal throughout most of human history* for people all over the world to live in small, sustainable, earth-friendly societies with abundant natural resources and with a deep knowledge of and reciprocal relationship with the natural wealth of the Earth’s living systems or biosphere. As I mentioned in the previous essay, Thinking About the “Unthinkable,” many anthropologists over the last forty or fifty years have confirmed this. Those anthropologists also reported from their field observations of such societies that still exist that the people in those societies worked less hours, had more leisure time, and were happier and healthier than most people in modern industrial technological societies. If we can relearn some of those ancient, life-nurturing and life-sustaining ways and combine them with any clean, sustainable technologies that we have created since those times, we can also re-organize ourselves into small, sustainable societies (or allied networks of such societies), and free ourselves from any need or attachment to monetary systems. That may seem improbable to most people who have known nothing but the current prevailing social constructions, and who have been grossly misinformed about the real life ways and circumstances of small-scale, sustainable indigenous societies (both past and present), and to that I will simply say that there is much to learn about Earthways and our untapped potential, and so much that we don’t know. There are also questions about current human population size and ecosystem carrying capacities, that we probably cannot resolve definitively without actually making the attempt to redirect ourselves toward true sustainability and begin the learning processes. What other choices do we have?

What I am talking about here is actually the ultimate form of “going on strike” and the ultimate boycott. By creating such alternative economic systems, in harmony with Earth’s systems, and getting enough of the human population to join into these systems, we could then effectively disarm the corporate industrial death machine and stop the destruction of our planet. Our independence from the death machine mega-nations, their currencies, and their toxic products which we will no longer need, will remove all of their leverage and simultaneously break the chains that they have had us bound with for so long! If enough of humanity joined us in this revolutionary act of resistance, it would be a permanent, worldwide boycott of the system, and a true declaration of independence: independence from the corporate death machine system, replaced by interdependence, or, reciprocity with all parts of the natural systems of Life. We can and must unite our energies, minds, and abilities and come up with alternative, Earth-based, non-monetary economic ways and technologies, and wean ourselves from the use of toxic machinery and products, in the small window of time that remains, in order to be able to save life on Earth. I would rather do this, and take the matches out of the hands of these corporate arsonists who are burning up our planet, than to continue with futile and inadequate efforts to put out the innumerable individual fires through our acts of protest** and attempts to pass regulatory laws.

I realize that this will seem too daunting, and even impossible to most of us, but as the disappearance of artic ice and permafrost, the release of methane, the frequency of droughts and extreme, unpredictable weather patterns, extinctions of species, rising seas and many other evidences of climate disaster continue to accelerate beyond the rates that scientists predicted just a few years ago, what choices do we have? I know that among the greatest fears that we humans carry are the fear of the unknown and the fear of the loss of what is familiar and what we have prepared for and committed ourselves to—in short, the only way of life that we really know. Consequently, those amongst us who are the most deeply invested in the “success” of the current system, who see their own personal success as deeply intertwined with the perpetuation of the status quo, and in many cases feel that their investment in the system has rewarded them significantly, will have an especially difficult time hearing any of this. And then there is the majority of us, who may not feel significantly rewarded by or fond of the system at all, but have been persuaded to accept the idea that there is no way out—to whom I say, we don’t know what is possible until we all give this revolutionary change our greatest, unified effort. There might be many more people, worldwide, who are ready for this (including those who do not yet realize that they are ready for this!) than we have been led to believe.

Thank you for reading this, and I welcome constructive comments, ideas, and discussion in the comments section below.

*Although many other historians designate the pre-literate or pre-written records period of the 200,000 year existence of homo sapiens sapiens as “prehistoric,” I do not. There are oral traditions, archeological findings, anthropological analysis, and other sources that assist in piecing together a pre-literate historical record.

** We blockaded the “megaloads” of tar sands equipment trucks four times during the winter of 2014 and then the megaloads stopped. But what did they do instead? The oil companies spent 9 billion dollars (pocket change to them) retrofitting their haulers to go on the freeways and avoid us and built manufacturing plants in Alberta to reassemble the larger equipment up there, continuing the devastation of the dirtiest, deadliest industrial project on Earth. In the late Spring of 2015, the beautiful kayak and canoe protesters in the Puget Sound slowed down the Shell Oil drilling platform ship for a little while, but it too, ultimately, proceeded on to its infernal business.

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14 thoughts on “The Problem With Money

  1. Great article! Thought provoking. Makes me want a garden for one. And reminds me of a story I heard on NPR recently about a lady who has a garden in her front yard in Florida? somewhere where her community has a law against growing vegetables in your front yard! They made her get rid of her garden. So ridiculous!

    • What sort of anti-life society would forbid people from growing vegetables ANYWHERE, much less in front of their own home? We should all be “Johnny Appleseeds,” just planting food everywhere, willy-nilly! Well, almost, anyway. 🙂

  2. Hi George,

    Thanks for writing these essays. I especially liked your question from your first essay: “If traditional subsistence economies were so “bare” and “meager,” why did the people make such big baskets?” It seems very important to counter the myths of non-civilized life being nasty-brutish-short. It annoys me to find so many people these days still spouting that sort of response to any suggestion of ending our abuse of fossil fuels. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you, Norris. I have many examples of the happiness, ease, abundance, cultural and communal richness of non-industrial, earth-based societies filed away in books and notes that I have collected and I am collecting more. I will write another essay sometime just on that topic, full of examples and illustrations. The average work week for an earth-based, sustainable, subsistence economy, in an ecosystem that is intact, in balance, and hasn’t been destroyed, in a society of people who are in close relationship with and deeply know their homeland, is about 12 to 18 hours per week.

      • With garden tending, preserving food, chopping firewood, and tending animals I think it takes more hours than that. I’ve probably spend twice that just canning pears this week – and I’m canning more than we need for a year but I’ll do tomato sauce or something else time consuming next year. I picked the grapes today and will make and can grape juice along with canning more pears next week. Then if my 15 year old gets a deer this year there will be a day cutting it up. And it is time to pick up walnuts and pick and wash the winter squash and store them in a better place than I did last year. And I need to put covers over the tomato plants and pick the rest of the cauliflower and freeze it and cover the broccoli.

  3. As someone who was raised very poor, and am still poor– I have to say that I don’t have a love relationship with money, and i have yearned my whole life to escape this system which demands i sell my skills, knowledge, art, labor, and soul in order to obtain just enough food and shelter to continue on the treadmill the next day. Most poor people I know see through this system you describe, but they feel there isnt much choice. I dont care about upward mobility : no one in my family has had it, and I dont think I ever will. Sometimes i fantasize about having money but really what i want is freedom. Not status. Not the life of the Joneses. I just want to be free. I want to not worry about how I am going to feed my son, or keep my house, or put gas in my car because I have to drive my son everywhere, because he has to go to school, and so on. I want to make art. I want to be a musician. I want to build community projects— But I cant live in vans or couch hop or live in a packed house full of roomates like so many artists do… i have a child, I want a healthy life for him with solid routines that he can predict. In order to do this, I am forced to be in a day to day lifestyle that I do not agree with. But I have to do it to survive. Not because I am lulled by its culture. So I wanted to comment with some questions about your proposal– because what I want to know, is what are some steps that you propose would safely extract someone like me from the system? I am too old now to want to live in a sleeping bag on the ground while i till a garden and hope to learn to build myself a shack. I am too tired from all my endless efforts to use my brain for survival, to want to risk starvation in the woods, or infighting on a commune — I imagine that my survival would suddenly depend on a new kind of social success , and that would mean trusting that people are going to be non oppressive, and non cultish. And if abuses occurred in this new environment, there would need to be ways for people to still survive. And what kind of vision is there for people who are not able bodied, or have needs for their mental health? Because for some of us, if we leave what we have, and then the new idea fails, we would have nothing but homelessness and worse oppression to deal with if we had to go back.

    So I want to agree with what you wrote, and say yes we must leave this system. But I don’t think very many of us can afford to just jump out, or opt out. Thats why, since I am trapped here, I do what I can to fight. Because I think there is a place for fighting. And I think there is also place for also trying to build something new. These arent mutually exclusive. Maybe the builders need to make the world for the fighters to come land in, while the fighters try to stave off the destruction, to slow down the machine, to make room for an alternative possibility. But i assume you must have thought of these things, and I am interested to know if you have ideas for how people with no means, no family, no money, no way to just leave…no piece of land, no vehicle to drive away in, no group of close friends they can trust enough to buy land with…. how would you envision a new alternative society making way to safely bring poor , disabled, and disenfranchised people in?

  4. Thank you so much, Debbie, for your very well-expressed, thoughtful, and deeply-moving comment. I can tell that you have been thinking about and really LIVING these issues for a long time. You remind me of experiences and yearnings that I and my wife have had over the years, especially back during the 1970s and early `80s when we were young and poor (I was a graphic artist/sign painter) and raising four little children. We had left the commune right after we got married in 1973 and had been yearning for land of our own, which seemed like a dream that would never happen. During that time I went back to college, earned my teaching degree and, long story short, we were blessed with a teaching job and a little five acre potential farm in 1985, where we still reside and farm today with our youngest son, Noah.

    In response to your vital comments and questions, I have three main points, which I will first state in summary, and then expand upon them:

    1. The form of resistance that I am proposing, the international people’s boycott of the system, cannot happen easily or instantly. It will require deep, long-term commitment from a continually growing number of people.

    2. Nobody should feel that they are going into this alone. This will be a cooperative, interactive, collective, mutually supportive movement. Acting in opposition to a sick social structure rooted in individualism, disconnection, and amoral, ruthless economic competition, we can only defeat that way of being with interconnectedness, reciprocity, humility and the spirit of love (a hard word to use because most people have no idea what that word means–I think that love is the spirit of true life). In more concrete terms, this means supporting and empowering those with little means for escaping the money world prison on their own.

    3. As you so clearly pointed out, the process of building this harmonious, life-centered, Earth-centered sustainable alternative system can, and I would also say MUST, happen in conjunction with continued demonstrative actions of opposition to the ruling class, corporatocracy powers. Our actions of public resistance are an important part of what will draw people into the opposing consciousness that will bring them to help create an alternative system. As an educator, I see those actions as teachable moments. They are also empowering moments that open people’s eyes to the need for another way of being a society, and to the possibility that it can really happen if we, the life-loving people work with Earth and all other species who love life to make it happen.

    I will now elaborate on each of the above three points:

    Elaboration on point number 1. The climate scientists estimate that we have somewhere between six and 36 years left to possibly reverse the process of this “slow-moving apocalypse,” the collapse of our atmosphere and biosphere. The type of fundamental systemic and paradigm change that i am suggesting is absolutely necessary may seem impossible to acheive to most people, for many reasons. The first reason of course is that, systemically and ecologically, it seems that we are buried in seem pretty deep shit, to say the least. At 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, we are now 12 and a half percent above the sustainable limit. But even more crucial and disparaging than that, the possibility of reversing the process and saving ourselves and all other species from this disaster is ultimately dependent upon our species–the same species that is responsible for creating and perpetuating the disaster in the first place! Exactly how disparaging that fact is depends on what the nature and/or character of our species really is. Are the worst aspects of our species limited to the elite minority of the ruling class, a.k.a. the “1%?” If so, and if the other 99% still possess some of the more positive, life-afirming aspects of humanity–even just the will to survive– then things might not be as bad as they seem. But there are some other aspects of humanity that are a major concern, such as: short-sightedness about the long-term big picture because of overwhelming issues of short-term, immediate future survival (as you so clearly described); the tendency to not have the patience or energy for slow, hard-fought, long-term struggles (even though such struggles as the anti-slavery movement, women’s voting rights, the civil rights movement, workers’ rights, and independence for India have succeeded in our past); the sense of futility about changing something as large and long-established as a megasociety’s economic system; western society’s alienation from nature and the beauty of natural systems and the consequent inability to even imagine life without money and manufactured consumer goods (along with the problem of addiction to those things and ways); the fear of the unknown; the fear of loss (of interpersonal relationships and material things); and the fact that awareness of our own individual mortality, combined with our western sense of disconnectedness from all other beings often minimizes our concern for the planet’s collective mortality (of all species). (Perhaps if we could promise that reversing climate disaster would grant immortality to all humans everybody might get on board!).

    All of the above factors combined paint a rather bleak picture, unless the higher character of humanity can ultimately win out over all. What other hope do we have. The imagined short-cut solution of violent revolution cannot work, because the corporatocracy is so more adept and empowered to kill than are all of the rest of us. Modern warfare also destroys much more than human lives, it destroys entire ecosystems, and since modern weaponry is fossil fuel based, a violent revolution would also speed up climate disaster. (But perhaps human extinction or near extinction might ultimately be what is best for the planet–dreadful as that thought may be.) What else can we do then but engage wholeheartedly in the difficult, slow struggle to create new, sustainable alternative societies (not just one) and abandon the old ones?

    Elaboration on point number 2: What we will need to struggle against is the delusion of separateness and disconnectedness, the western value of “ruggled individualism,” along with other capitalist values, and the excesses of human ego. We can come to see humans eventually become secure in a social movement and in future societies where everybody is aware of our interconnectedness and the need for reciprocity in a symbiotic natural world. In practical terms, conscious interconnectedness must manifest itself in economic sharing. Economic sharing does not simply mean sharing money, although at times that would be one manifestation. Beyond sharing money (especially in a mass effort to get away from the use of/prison of money), economic sharing means sharing our strengths, our resources (physical, mental, social and spiritual), and contiually acknowledging that everything we have as a gift from the Source of all life that was given to all life, not just to the individual parts of Life. Beyond money and “property,” such giving could include mutual sharing efforts such as the “Time Banks” that have been organized in many towns around the world (including Missoula). In time banks people offer to invest their time and energy by donating themselves and their skills for whatever amount of hours that they choose. Once they have made such a “deposit” in the time bank, they can receive assistance for the same amount of time from somebody else with a skill that they need help with. Of course this sort of economic or ability resource sharing can also be done on a much more informal basis as people come to make sharing their resources and abilities freely a habit. There is an intrinsic reinforcement, or pleasure reward experience, that comes with this way of living. It should also be mentioned that all true giving must be intrinsic, or, in other words, must spring from within each individual and never coerced or forced.

    The prison of the money system can be torn down, but it will require much more help from those who have relatively more freedom from that system than others whose chains are heavier (impoverished, heavily in debt, have “dependants,” etc.). Of course this is easier said than done, partly because those who feel that they have been rewarded by the capitalist or other monetary systems are less likely to want to depart from that system or more likely to be addicted to it. Addiction to the death machine, rather than lingering beliefs in its value, or any conscious desire to continue with it, will be more of a problem of course for those who have already firmly concluded that the machine must end. That will be another reason for necessary mutual support, reassurance, and possibly some level of “intervention” without violating anybody’s free will. The details of all these things must be developed mutually, through much interaction and listening with each other. We will need to observe possible, workable examples, wherever we can find them, worldwide, probably mostly from traditional Indigenous peoples, but also from longtime non-Indigenous resistors to the machine who have already put workable alternatives into place. None of this will be easy, but all of our efforts will be easier than the agony of watching the Death Machine have its way with the world, while wishing we would have tried harder to create an alternative. We can at least gain the satisfaction and peace of mind from knowing that we tried everything that we could, and possibly can even experience the greater, immeasurably greater joy and satisfaction at actually succeeding in salvaging Life on Earth!

    Elaboration on point number 3: After assuring you of the harmony of mutliple approaches to effective change and the fact that choosing paths of activism is not necessarily an exclusive, either/or dilemma, I must add that we will see that some activist approaches and methods are (or will become) more effective than others. We are in a time and circumstance different than any that humanity has ever faced, and therefore there are going to be many unknowns, along with many learnings from trial and error. Therefore, we must not hold on too tightly to things that seemed to work in the past. For example, once the public is sufficiently informed as to the real nature of our present calamity, its real causes, and who the real enemies of life on earth are, covert actions and alternative society building actions may become more essential than direct public actions. One big factor to keep in mind is that once despots and evil rulers become really afraid of losing their powers, like addicts fearing that their supply is about to be cut off, they predictably resort to brutal violence against the revolutionaries or agents of change. The possibility of converting their soldiers and getting them to join with the People has been a reasonable and sometimes hopeful dream for revolutionaries of the past, but now that warfare is much more automated and “high tech” the Corporatocracy does not need to rely as much on human weapons (soldiers). Sabotage against their electric power sources is another possibility, but again non-violence is preferable and less futile.

    What we ultimately must keep in mind, as I stated in the article, is that the evil powers draw their power from us when we purchase and consume their products and think like they think. If we don’t need their products and don’t need money, and we actually begin to experience a better, much healthier way of life, they will become disarmed and disempowered. They may respond with violence, but at some point even the 1% may sense futility or may possess a spark of positive human nature that can be kindled into enough warmth to overcome their cold, cold hearts. I would prefer that outcome to making decisions about executing people and having to live with the consequences of that. Violent solutions encourage and provoke more violence, mainly because humans look for shortcuts rather than the hard-fought, more permanent solutions, or internal, paradigmatic, perspective change or spiritual solutions.

  5. I would just like to notify anybody who read the version of my reply above that existed before 11-29-14 at 3:06 Mountain time, that, after re-reading it and seeing how much I had failed to answer Debby’s points and questions in my “Elaboration on Point number 2,” I have now revised that section to more thoroughly address the important issues that she raised, in more concrete terms, with some actual examples of possible ways of helping each other “get there.” I really hope that we can build on this discussion and add more voices and possibly workable ideas.

  6. I’m 73 and have two high maintenance adopted teenagers. In addition to that though, I have an extra room or two, a very big garden, know how to cut up and freeze, can or dry an animal, tend chickens or turkeys, can or dry most any food, build a house and get along in community. I’d be glad to share my skills. I’m in NE Oregon.

    Someone like Debbie could come for a week or two and get some insight into how a life change can happen. I first came here in 1978 with three kids and about $400. It is possible. You just have to be willing to work hard, to not know it all and to respect the land and people. I would certainly accept a donation toward room and board but if someone doesn’t have it I’m ok with that too.

    I have good neighbors and friends but am not interested in living communally – I did that for three years and it takes a lot of energy to keep the communication going. I’m no longer good for the long haul, just short bursts, then I want my own peace back.

    • Hello, Louise and I welcome you to Learning Earthways (although it seems like you have been learning the ways for a long time. It is interesting that we both did about three years of communal living and now really appreciate peace and solitude (some degree of solitude, anyway–having a large family is a lot like living communally). Actually, about eight years after we left the commune, Barb and I went back to the commune, but it had become a very different incarnation: it had become a retreat and conference center with a few houses that people could rent and share use of the 90 acres of land, which was kind of what they call an “intentional community.” Lived there for four years and then moved to where we are now in Montana.

      In answer to your other post (which I answer here because for some reason there is no reply button under it), the 12 to 18 hour figure applies to people who shared their labor and food, etc., and it averages in the very busy seasons of the year (when food is gathered and/or cultivated) with the slower times when there was really not much work to be done. That was a world in which, rather than working endlessly for money, people just worked as needed for life. I only had a very imperfect glimpse into such a way of life, when living communally, and again later through studying anthropology and getting to know and talk to other tribal people. Neither the people in the communes or the tribal people I know live completely in the old, sustainable traditional ways. It might take decades before we can create present day models of the ancient traditional ways of life, relating directly to nature, without any use of currency, but I hope that it does not take that long. And how will we get over our aversion toward returning to communal life? Perhaps intentional communities, in which everybody has their own little house and personal space could work.

      • I do think intentional communities are the solution. Where I live most of my friends (old hippies gone respectable) have 10 to 40 or more carefully tended acres and good houses they have built but they no longer have a desire to be responsible for so much land. We have talked about finding a piece of land where we can have our own houses while sharing the land. That is hard to do with land use restrictions in Oregon.

        No one wants to live in town and that is the only place you can easily do what we would like. I have found 2+ acres on the edge of town with a creek and we could put about 4 houses on it and still leave adequate gardening and open space room. One of the reasons I think it would work for us is that we have known each other for many years and know that our habits are fairly compatible – no one is going to collect junk cars or get drunk and blast music or have a tantrum when the shop tools are not returned. It takes commitment though and we may stay where we are. Someone has to take the first step.

        The difference between communal living and family is that with kids I can pretend that I’m the boss.
        You are right about the 12-18 hours being an average. When I wrote I was tired and it seemed like it would go on forever!

  7. I have been a teacher for over 20 years–14 years in the public elementry school system. I see a kind of cancer growing in our world as you have described all of the negative feedback loops including mostly the corporate state which to me is a form of psychopathology. I see our institutions failing us whether it is government, religion, media, education, medical, business, etc… I am truly sickened by the state of our public schools which are turning our young children into “widgets” and brainwashing them with propaganda by the corporate elite that has a stranglehold on the public. We are no longer a “citizenry” by the people for the people and of the people but a mass conglomeration of “consumers” who have lost their soul and sold it to the devil (corporations.) I was thinking today that the world needs to change in a direction where people can take pride in their livelihoods and can have autonomy over their work and feel that they are contributing to the betterment of society. How can any of us feel integrity about our work when it is driven by a philosophy that’s only value is the value of the dollar. Even in public sector jobs like public education we have turned this profession into a factory farm kind of environment where children are seen as objects that must be “educated” (AKA “indoctrinated”) and teachers are micro-managed and patronized to the point where honest discussions are quelled and avoided and ignored. I would like to be at a point in my career after 20 years where I can feel that there is respect and value in my work and instead I just want to drop out (retire early) and let someone else try to do it. I want to just pass the buck and say let someone else work in this degrading, stifling, controlling factory farm environment. Our children are going to have a future that I do not want to pass onto them. I feel like we have betrayed them and given them nothing but false hope and lies. I don’t know how to change any of this. I think we are addicted to this current lifestyle and I don’t know how any real valuable change is going to come around–at least in a peaceful way where people are not killing each other in the streets.

  8. Linda,
    Welcome to Learning Earthways and I thank you for your honesty and clarity of expression. I, too have observed and grieved deeply over the same things that you describe. It is a dismal set of circumstances, but I can’t give up trying to change things into a much better, very different world. Since I don’t know what is possible, I can’t accept the notion that nothing is possible. I think that I see some possibilities for substantial, fundamental change, if we can get enough people on board soon enough. Most people want to live, and once they see clearly the forces at work that are degrading life and pushing us all toward extinction, I think they will want to do whatever is in their power to stop it. That is why I recommend learning the ways and secrets of the natural world and enabling all humans with the possibility to boycott and permanently abandon the so-called “way of life” that is actually destroying life. In the next couple of weeks I plan to create some more posts with illustrations about the things that we have been learning directly from the natural world about the ways that we can live better.

    • I’ll be looking forward to your ideas about how we can live better!

      There are more possibilities for creating change than we can begin to imagine and those will emerge when it is time. I do what I do mostly because I enjoy it, not at all because I feel I have to to survive or to help humanity to survive on Mama Earth. The reason I don’t dump poisons on my land or hack down the trees is because it would not feel good to me. I do not need to convert anyone. I do need to let them see the happiness and abundance I create so they may be drawn to it. I think people do ‘not life affirming’ things because of fear.

      I’m not sure how to say this but I have faith that if I just do what gives me joy and feels life affirming then I’m doing all I’m supposed to do. This Mama we live on and are created from has life and she is able to shake us up and force change. I’ve watched a lot of kids grow up and I’ve seen that they avoid what looks grim and are drawn to what looks joyful. I want to spread joy not fear.

      And I’m not always glowing with joy. I live with two difficult teenagers and it is often depressing but the part of my life that is joyful is the Earthways part. When the snow goes away in the spring I want to roll in the dirt and eat alfalfa and the creek sparkles and I do think I see fairies flitting over it. I’m not going to focus on extinction. Right now, today, my world is good and it makes me want to be in harmony with it (the kids are asleep!).

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