Can we live without money?

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Good creative people, you know what really grinds my gears?

Money!

Yea that’s right I said it. I may need it, but I can’t stand the stuff. Frankly I’m tired of it ruling my life. It’s just paper after all! But somehow these days it’s come to not only rule me, but the rest of our society as well, and I believe it’s leading us all on a crash course to disaster!

Don't do it us!

Note before we go forward: I’m not trying to stand up here on my ivory soapbox to shout down from the soapy fresh green mountaintops that the stuff is the root of all evil, or that it will come claim your firstborn (which it might, and don’t blame me if it does), but I will stand by my inherent beliefs till the bitter end (next Tuesday?), that the stuff is positively ruining our society, and that some day soon we will be able to live without it – and because of all this we should merely start thinking ahead.

Here we go ~ see if you can follow my daily sequence of infuriating logic;

Happiness is derived from doing what you love

I don’t think anyone can deny this, it’s simple, straightforward and to the point. If you enjoy something than you will inexorably be drawn to it, not only because it brings you joy but also because it makes you feel whole. Like you matter. Like you have a purpose. Once this is accepted as truth we can move on to the second line of reasoning, which is…

In order to do what you love well, you need to work at it every day – and eventually share it with others

Again, this too I don’t think can be earnestly denied. No one’s an expert at anything right off the bat, regardless of how much they enjoy doing it. So if you want what you do to have purpose or meaning, than surely you need to get good at it. Right? Right! And this type of personal betterment matters – it’s what fuels the positive change in the world. Your passion must never stop growing. It’s a 24/7 job (or at least it should be), and you should love doing it!

By that same token if you really want to be happy, (and remember we’ve already established that in order to do that you need to have an earnest passion), than you need to make your talent an open book in your life. The gift you were given and the love that you have is all for naught if you merely keep it to yourself, locked in a dark closet, regaled to your personal musings alone, and fail to use it to enhance other people’s lives in some way.

So if we want a society of happy, well-adjusted, productive and sane people living here on the earth with us, than we might want to do all that we can to make what’s been listed above a reality. Right? Well, here’s the kicker…

In order to survive; I.E. Eat, drink, be protected from the elements, we need to make money.

Ka-Bam! Not that this comes as any surprise to all of you, but money buys things. We need things to survive. We have to work for money. But herein lies the conflict and catch 22 of modern life, which makes this integral part of the equation a bit tricky to explain and understand.

This, in my humble opinion, is the fundamental problem with our essential creativity; initially – at least in this modern world of ours (as it wasn’t always this way) – it’s not profitable. In the world we’ve created for ourselves, where cash is king and everything is caught in the orbit of the ever important “Profit Margin”, and without drawing power that investors can clearly see, people will simply not help to cultivate these new/cutting edge projects. Not only that, but they will unwittingly stand in the way of them.

This is why everything is being remade in the movies these days despite the fact that they’re likely to be horrid affairs, and that there are plenty of other great new scripts just waiting in the wings. Movies al-la: The Smurfs, The Thunder-Cats, The Ghostbusters, Avatar, anything M.Night Shamalamadingdong, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.. they’re profitable because of a namesake – not because they’re actually any good…

Meanwhile it is inarguable that all innovation and change in the world begins first with creativity… Something new! Now can you begin to see what I’m gunning after here? Creativity is made to run loops and perform tricks, but meanwhile it’s also responsible for everything that gives those in power the means to enforce these obstructions at all…

I say that's crazy! Crazy kat w/crazy eyes thinks it is too!

I ask you; is it just me, or does this seem to present a conflict of worldwide interests?

Creation should be paramount – not its profitability – it’s what elicits change. Change is good (…I can hear the arguments over this one already). To create something with meaning that might evoke change, and/or best the test of time, we need first to be allowed to find a passion, and then be allowed the time to work at it – a lot, I’m talkin’ every day without fail – and then, and only then (and only then if we’re really lucky), can we ever hope to stumble across the next big thing. The next great innovation to push our culture (human that is) forward, and inbetter ourselves as a people. And might I remind you that the more of us that can walk this path, the more likely that it becomes to have that fabled “Ah-ha” moment happen. There be’s power in numbers I tellz ya!

But then again in order for most of us to survive in our modern world there’s practically no room for this type of commitment. It would seem that unless we’re born to a certain tier of class (I.E. the exceptionally privileged who don’t have to work a day-job), that we have no chance to take the necessary time to develop things for ourselves – things which to be properly fleshed out will undoubtedly take years – because in order to live and eat we have to focus instead on making another person’s dream come true! This is what I see as the problem…

Unless we win the lotto, or are born into money, than it is a near certainty that our ideas won’t be heard. Which tells us that as a society the only ideas that are currently taken seriously enough to effect change and shape our world come from one mindset. A wealthy one.

Now this isn’t all bad. Many wealthy people are great thinkers; after all, they’re the ones who can afford the best education (traded for, ironically enough, money – damn the confounded stuff!). But even though this will work for some moderate progress across the span of time, I believe that we are underutilizing the greatest potential of mankind by this limiting factor. Some 95% of the people on the earth are humble, blue-collar, moderately funded & good-natured people – who never get to be creative and express ideas because they work, and then come home to be family men/women and I say that they should matter too! They should have a voice! I should have a voice! Why do we all have to work our petunias off to have a voice?

AHHHH!!

Sure, I know what you’re going to say: that in the exhausted, twilight, post-work hours of our day we can bang out a few pages on our books, whip up that new recipe we conjured from thin air during the meeting yesterday, and try out the new dance move that had been inspired from a drifting cloud we’d spied as we’d daydreamed out from our office window – or anything else that we’d thought up while we were working for someone else so that we might have a chance to eat (GET BACK TO WORK!) – but in response to this I have to ask you: is this really the best way to make progress as a people? As a civilization? As an eventual member of a universal marketplace?

I’d argue “No”

And I think you will too if you care. This seems to me to be a wholly inefficient means of progress, and not to mention that the subsequent fruit of our hard creative labors is then gobbled up by the people with the majority of the means and none of the ideas – who then make the lions share of the profits on our work as well.

From a cashier at a supermarket, to a lowly construction worker, all the way across the spectrum to an office secretary, I’d argue that the people doing the majority of the work are also the least appreciated, the least funded, and viewed as the most expendable.

These incremental “results” (if they could so be called), are abashed sloth-like in their progress as well as their sleeping habits. We should – and do – have higher goals for the quality of human lives, but they all routinely take a backseat to procedure, red-tape, excessive profits, and preexisting (and nearly unnecessary), hurdles. Hurdles that serve to maintain the status-quo, which keep the wealthy on top, and the poor… well dogpile!

Sadly it would seem that as a species we have adapted a way of living that stifles, by its very nature, the very progression it so desperately needs.

Now before you get all huffy – look – I completely understand that the system we have in place – of trade, profit, and production – has been born from an earnest basis of reason and logic. But that system had its place and time, and I can see a brighter future for us all coming right around the bend. Can’t you? So I ask you: why wait?

If we can see what’s on the horizon, and anticipate its impact on us all, than we can prepare for it – so what are we waiting for? That would surely be the most logical thing to do, would it not? But I suppose that because of the current infrastructure, people still have to pay the bills (don’t get me started on the Fed). And because… well really we can’t conceive of any other way to be, as this is all we have ever known, how can we change?

It’s hard to imagine a world outside the fishbowl.

People a few thousand years ago simply couldn’t walk around with wheelbarrows full of apples to trade for eggs, milk, and meat at the market – it wouldn’t have been sensible – so they invented notes to represent these things, and began to acclimate these pieces of paper instead. But from the moment that our thoughts shifted from the worth being placed on those who tended the fields, watered the roots, and knew the trade (from those who did the work to those who had the bigger stack of hundreds – I.E. the better traders) – unwittingly our mentality of survival had been skewed, distorted, and kicked out of clear focus.

Think about it. In our modern society; “Who do we admire?” Who’s atop the dog-pile? The penniless artist who gains no fame or worth until he’s passed after years of starvation and suffering through his ever enduring poverty? Or the millionaire’s with their porches, their women (or men, I don’t judge) slung tightly to their arms, and the innumerous things that they own?

It seems to me that money has changed us (as a people) to worship those among us who are at the top of the collection heap, instead of those who we should worship – and walk among as well – who work toward the loftier goals of creation that benefit all of mankind.Or is it possible that these people too are corrupted by the allure of money, as their creativity is tainted from the moment of its conception with thoughts of greed, extortion, and profit margins?

Honestly who knows? Surely I’m ranting, as I’ve come to realize that I do all-too-often in these blogs (and also that they tend to run too long, surely I need to learn to be more concising – but it’s hard to get better at my craft when I work all the time :o), but I just don’t know any other way to express how I feel.

I will however wrap my thoughts up with this – and then post this behemoth so that it might all be open to discussion, as I’m eager to hear all your own thoughts on the matter – I believe that we soon will find ourselves at a tipping point.

Soon I think that through certain scientific developments (which I can name, and explain, but that will carry this post on into the 5,000 word range) that the earning of money for food, shelter, and water, which is to say the basics of living, will be supplanted by mere energy alone. And since energy will be free, once we come to master the plethora of excess energy shed by our very own sun every day, and/or the harvestable wind, water, geothermal, or nuclear (not to mention the potential of fusion in the future), we will be presented with a new world, not too far on the horizon, that can exist without the necessity of a dollar, or a euro, or a rupee.

What will be the motivation, if not for profit I hear you ask? The pure right to claim the position of being admired. Who wouldn’t compete with their co-worker, when they are engaged in something that they love, to be the first, the best, or the greatest? This world that I perceive will also be purer in its honesty of self-reflection, creativity for the greater good, and just.. well sheer awesomeness!

I don’t know about you all, but I look forward to that day, and the amazing innovation that will follow in the years that precede it.

So good creative people, what do you think? Can we have a world that exists without money?

I think we can, but I’ve been on the losing side of this argument many-a-time before.

~J

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Comments
  1. Dan Bartlett says:

    If it is theoretically possible to live in a world without money, it won’t be anytime soon. Jared, I very much enjoyed your post. I agree with everything you have to say, except for this part…

    You say that for most of us to survive in our modern world there’s practically no room to pursue your passion, or “commitment” as you put it. I respectfully disagree. I believe people can pursue their passions and still have the means to live. Even if it means doing what you love for 25 hours per week and then working a part-time job for 20 hours to eat and have a place to live.

    When you mention certain scientific developments will show that our basics of living will be supplanted by mere energy alone, which ones are you referring to? I’m interested! Do you often write about these life pressing issues? Cheers!

    • Hey Dan,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. You are 100% correct, it is possible to work at what you love while supplementing when you have to the necessary amount of hours that can keep you afloat, heck as an actor/writer who takes background work in movies/TV/ and commercials to pay my rent i can personally testify to this, but i do imagine that there are better ways that this can happen which would be less taxing. Not to be presumptuous as to my own innate ability to potentially change the world, but if we had – oh i don’t know – some meager redistribution of wealth, cheaper schools, more affordable health-care, and just a general overall restructuring to the way that our world works (that’s not so reliant on the power that cold hard cash brings to the table), i might have had a chance to finish my 2nd novel already, and who knows how much more?

      I like to look at a few technologies and predict what might come of them in the not too distant future. E.G. Robotics, and nano-tech, combined with the surgeons-on-a-pill that are being tested in hospitals. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that in the future these disciplines might combine to form an intelligent, microscopic, self-replicating robot, which can assemble with others of it’s kind (actually these things are what I call “Droids” in my Novel… They’re mentioned in my short story “And so he ran…” as well), to form whatever it is that we humans might need them to in order to take on the jobs at hand – whatever they might be. These robots could be the workforce to build anything that we can conceive, from hospitals, to homes, to our very rocket-ships, as well as be the workforce that manns the operations as well.
      — That’s shelter taken care of!

      Stem cell research has come a long way in providing the means for which we might be able to feed ourselves in the future. One stem cell from every living animal on the planet will not only have the capability to replicate ad-infinitum to make an endless supply of food (with even artificially engineered DNA!), thus effectively curing world hunger, but also the entire cashe of them kept in one place would take up no more space than a sugar cube (this is another concept that i go into in more depth in my forthcoming Sci/Fi novel, Welcome to the Future)
      — That’s hunger in a nutshell (or sugar cube if you prefer). There are still some kinks to be worked out, such as the inherently slow speed in which the meat is created by this process, but nothing that some time and further work in the field wont surely fix. So even though it might have an overall jelly-like texture, it will also be nutritionally sound, and perfectly edible, and not to mention that no animal had to die to procure it!

      With a workforce of “Droids” to run farms of veg, and endless food which might be grown in the not too distant future, the only thing that will be needed to run the whole schebang will be: 1) fresh ideas on what to do with our new-found freedom, and; 2) energy to keep them running! There are plenty more exciting developments, but i’ve already said enough.
      BTW – yes – this is all normal fare on this blog, and thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
      ~J

  2. This was interesting. I am thinking about Star Trek, now, because they live without money.

  3. What is needed, in my view then, is a return to the days when artistic communities would be patronised by those whose creative endeavours lean towards the filthy lucre so that they can have lots of “noughts” in the bank when the Reaper calls. It’s a socialist view, I know (but that’s what I am), but in those days the artist was a reveered person.The legacy of creative people is greater. A rich person dies and for a few minutes we might note how wealthy he was when he popped it. A creative person dies and his music/ art/sculpture/film…whatever….live on – sometimes for centuries. Money has become the bartering measure and the Holy Grail of many. The basics have to be catered for – when the basics are covered then the artist can flow….let’s get some else to provide the basics. I don’t think we’re headed towards a better world soon, I’m afraid. Capitalism screwed the world and the world is paying but capitalism is still king. Ooohhh, I so wish it wasn’t. In the 80’s we were all told that personal computers were coming. We’d all have these great tools that will give us more leisure time because we’d get the job done quicker. Whatever happened to that crap ? I’m a dreamer too, Jared, but you gotta peer through the smoke screen. If there’s no money in it it ain’t gonna happen. You can’t fight the system. Plough your furrow, man. I wish I had when I was younger. You’ll be happier for it. Reality may have a habit of biting you in the ass – but stay true. (Oh, and the dog, how long was holding that pose for ?…Answers on a postcard ?)

    • Haha,
      Ahh, sadly i have no doubt that you’re right about Capitalism being king, and the end to its reign of tyranny being nowhere in sight. Nevertheless I stubbornly insist to stand beside my beliefs and core values through this harrowing dead of winter till the brink of sunlight breaks across the horizon. The more of us that know this day is out there (somewhere, possibly over a rainbow?), the more of us that will fight on that day to make it a reality for all of mankind when the transition’s possible, because surely the people in power won’t readily give it up when their time’s due. Until then i will continue struggling through poverty – heck it’s taught me to cook, clean, write, draw, grow my own food, forge my own thoughts, and many other invaluable things (that i should have been taught in more depth whilst in school) – and hoping that I might touch the life, with my efforts, that will find itself in the place to make some change in this disparaged world.

  4. Dan Bartlett says:

    Hey Jared,

    Can you send me an email– dcukawa@gmail.com

    I tried to find your contact info but was unable to do so.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  5. scottsinope says:

    Anarcho-capitalism is the way of the future! Hail Eris!

  6. fionaqiqi says:

    i love that painting with bunny!

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