I recently visited a spiritual community in Brazil called Source Temple. Drawing primarily on the teachings of Adi Da and A Course in Miracles, it comprises about thirty people from about ten countries, mostly Brazil and South America, ranging in age from 20-something to 60-something. I will neither endorse nor criticize the spiritual teachings and lineage; they serve their purpose to inspire the community and anchor it in non-ordinary thinking, perceiving, and relating.
The first thing to make a deep impression on me at Source Temple was the architecture – if “architecture” is the right word to describe the improvisational artistry of its twenty houses and other buildings. Everything was built on a low budget using mostly scavenged, upcycled, and donated materials. No two doors or windows on the entire property are identical; all are hand-made. A lot of the windows aren’t even rectangular: someone built the window around whatever piece of broken glass was available.
Yet there is nothing sloppy or haphazard about the buildings. They are devotional. They embody the impulse: “I will make use of whatever is available to create the most beautiful, functional environment that I can.” They also embody a kind of precision that belies their irregularity. It is the precision of knowing what is meant to go where, what is in service to the building-to-be, the people who will use it, and the land that surrounds it. This consciousness guides the construction. None of the buildings started with architectural drawings or blueprints. They were not designed; they grew, with the builders as agents of their growth, implementing each next step as the final vision gradually resolved into clarity.
I saw in those buildings something reaching for the ideal of the classical Taoist temple. The temple is not an imposition on the landscape, it is an enhancement. It belongs there. It is a service to creation. What would human society look like, what would technology look like, if we devoted ourselves to service to creation?
Every building is more beautiful than it has to be – “has to be” for any obviously utilitarian function, that is. Staying for a few days in and among those buildings, though, I realized that they met a deep need and provided a deep nourishment. What is that need? It is to be surrounded by objects that have soul.
To have soul is to be real. To be real is to be fully unique and fully related. In a virgin forest, no two trees are identical, and everything is in constant, interdependent relationship to everything else. Thus we feel a kind of homecoming when we are able to be fully present in such a forest. The eyes rest easy.
In the modern built environment, most objects have been stripped of uniqueness and relationality. Every window in my house is identical, or of at most two standard types. The modern environment abounds in precise right angles, the elements of standardization and sameness. The products of the commodity economy are also remote from their origins and relations. If I cut a tree to build a door, I can see the effect of my action, and I may be careful to choose the right tree for cutting. The enormous distance between manufactured objects and their original context helps make us oblivious to the ecological harm they may represent. What is less obvious is the aesthetic harm, the psychological harm that comes from living among alien, standardized things. The eyes cannot rest easy; they are ever searching for the soul of what they see. It is a strain for a living soul to live among soulless things.
In his four-volume opus, The Nature of Order, architect Christopher Alexander explores the question, “Why do some buildings (and other made objects) have a quality of life or soul, while others do not?” He illustrates the question with striking photographs contrasting modern buildings with older ones – think Grand Central Station compared to Penn Station. It is obvious what he means. The list of characteristics he develops bears a striking feature: in its totality, it is not amenable to formalization. No formula or algorithm can replicate soul. This conclusion is not mere metaphysics; it offers a guiding compass for our economic and technological future.
The buildings and objects of Source Temple convey a kind of wealth. I don’t think people would be greedy for bigger houses and more money if they were immersed in an environment like this. The unmet needs that drive greed would be met. The tragedy of greed, of course, is that it no amount of money or anything else can ever sate it. No matter how much they consume, the greedy person remains hungry. That isn’t due to a moral flaw. It is because they are starving – starving for what money cannot buy.
It is nourishing to live inside the object of someone’s devotion, especially if it is someone you know well. The residents of Source Temple participate in the construction of their own houses, and switch houses from time to time when they feel stagnant, adding their imprint to their new domicile. Because the houses grow with the community and its members, they exemplify Christopher Alexander’s insight:
A house is not just a shell for habitation, it is also an unfolding of our experience. A house is not an act, but a series of acts; it is not an object but an experience; it is not a commodity to be bought and sold but an activity essential to life. Instead of being the unfolding of our existence and the expression of our freedom, our houses have become the imprisonment of our existence, the denial of our lives.
One way in which the buildings of Source Temple telegraph wealth is that, in terms of hours of labor per square meter of floor space, they are extremely inefficient. It takes many long hours to assemble a window or a door from scratch, compared to a few minutes to buy one at Home Despot. Yes, someone’s labor contributed to the factory-made window too, but the whole industrial system and its economics are geared toward minimizing the labor, a goal achieved through technology and standardized processes. The result is a cheapness, a poverty, because all of these products embody the precept of not enough time. That is what efficiency encodes. We have to hurry. We have to do it quicker. Efficiency embodies a mentality of scarcity. We can’t afford the time to really make it beautiful.
At Source Temple it is evident that someone wasn’t in a hurry. Someone could afford the time. Someone thought it important to make things more beautiful than they had to be to keep out the rain, and they had the time. During my stay, this environment softened my own habits of hurry and invited me into an abundance of time.
This abundance is our birthright. It is not a function of privilege, as if only those who have made it to the top of the economic hierarchy can afford to take the time to live devotionally. It was universal in hunter-gatherer and traditional peasant cultures, and is still visible where those cultures remain intact. People in the less developed parts of the world always seem to have more time. True, in the modern economy leisure is available only to those in its top strata, But I am not speaking here of leisure – a rest from working – so much as a different approach to working. Absent socially-supported opportunities for devotional labor, society’s members compete for its artificially scarce substitute we call leisure.
Today, automation and artificial intelligence are making it easier than ever to manufacture vast quantities of alienated, standardized commodities with a minimum of human labor. One job category after another is becoming obsolete, threatening a future of chronic mass unemployment. Machines can do our work much more cheaply and efficiently than we can, leaving humans with less and less to do except to consume.
Historically, the solution to this problem in the industrial era has been to increase consumption so as to maintain nearly full employment. The ecological cost of this tendency is obvious; less noted is its spiritual cost. Increasing consumption of that which is produced efficiently, i.e., that which embodies scarcity, meets only a narrow subset of human needs while increasing the hunger for the unique and relational. It cannot meet the need to live devotionally and to see that reflected back at you in the physical environment.
It would be impossible to mass-produce the buildings at Source Temple. Even if machines could imitate their hand craftmanship, the buildings are unique to the land and community they serve. An exact replica relocated to a different environment would no longer be the same building. Objects cannot be separated from relationships. If we really digested this fundamental implication of quantum mechanics, we would have a very different society.
The market economy as we know it depends on the separability of objects from relationships. That is the nature of money itself: it is pure, abstract value. My dollar is the same as your dollar. It works well to mediate exchange of other dissociated, alienated objects, but when it interfaces with the relational, the unique, and the sacred, it tends to reduce them to itself. If you are a home-builder, for instance, you have to defy the logic of the marketplace to spend that extra time to make it more beautiful than it needs to be, beyond the contract. Why would you do that, in defiance of money? Well, for love. Aesthetic perfection too is a relationship, a service, a devotion to something or someone you love beyond the thing itself. Because the object is itself only in relationship.
The devotion manifest in the buildings at Source Temple mirrors the devotion I saw in members toward each other. It was a balm for me to see people overflowing with easy laughter and easy tears, serving each other in ways that might not even be noticed, gazing with love upon each other’s faces, sitting in circle. In covid isolation I’d on some level forgotten such basic expressions of humanity still exist. Here too is a kind of wealth. The self is relationship. How tragic that in order to preserve that self, we cut it off from its relationships. Something persists in that isolation, but it is a shrunken being compared to what can thrive in full relationship to community. The poverty of isolation mirrors the poverty of the modern built environment.
* * *
We live in the time of the ballyhooed Great Reset, a time following when great destruction has cleared the way to build something different – or to lock in the gains of big corporations, central governments, and the super-wealthy. What vision of human development might we hold that expresses devotion to that which we love? Source Temple offers a glimpse of it, as do certain other intentional communities and, in particular, many indigenous and traditional societies. One thing they have in common is that they stand outside modern economic paradigms of wealth, progress, and development. In fact, they ask us to reverse much of conventional economic thinking.
Let me draw out some economic principles for a Great Reset that will help make love visible in our physical and social environment. They are reversals of globalization, growth, and productivity.
Until very recently, globalization has been widely accepted as an unstoppable – and desirable – trend. It is indeed a natural consequence of mass production and the alienation of materials from their originating matrix of relationships. It doesn’t matter where something comes from; all that matters is the price. The myriad interactions that produce a consumer object – the ecological interactions that produce the raw materials, the human interactions of production – funnel into the single, one-dimensional relationship of buyer and seller. We feel alien ourselves surrounded by such things. A subtle feeling of not being truly at home eats away out our insides.
In contrast, something produced locally by human and non-human beings that you know and with whom you relate in multiple ways contributes to a feeling of belonging, a feeling of home. To look at a door and remember that the wood came from an old pallet and the branch of a tree that was once right over there – do you remember the lightning storm that felled it? – and that Julio and Miguel built that door, just when Julio was breaking up with Claudia, and I helped with the sanding, and… the door is entangled in my world, my constellation of self. And I can see the social and ecological impact of its production, something largely invisible in the global market economy where normally only the price and the objective specifications are visible.
To live surrounded by things of meaning and beauty is hardly possible without connection to local community and to place. Because, again, beauty comes from relationship. Whether we speak of Source Temple or a traditional peasant village, relationships were material. People make food for each other, watch each other’s children, make each other’s musical instruments, create music and drama together, grow food for each other, build houses together. Where people source all these functions from a global market economy, local relationships atrophy. There is little to do for one another or create together. Yes, globalization and the division of labor allow much higher efficiency of production – a lot more things with a lot less work – but is mainstream society with its high consumption actually happier than the people in remote indigenous villages? Those who have never been to one may think, certainly we are; they are mired in miserable poverty without AC, TV, Wifi, 5G, KFC, or XYZ. But that is a projection based on what modern life is like without those things.
This is not to advocate the complete dismantling of global economy, mass production, or the division of labor. Certain things that we may want to keep, such as the computer on which I’m writing this, require it. But huge realms of human material life may be reclaimed for the local, such as most food, shelter, entertainment, and clothing. On the policy level, this requires reversing free trade treaties, ending subsidies for transport infrastructure, strengthening environmental and labor protections globally, and erecting tariffs to protect national and local economies. It also means ending modern-day colonialism, implemented through Third World debt, which forces nations of the global South to orient their productivity toward exports.
Localization does sacrifice efficiencies of scale. To take an extreme example, it takes a lot more time and effort to spin, weave, and sew our own clothing than it does to make it in a factory. But the end result is something meaningful and precious, not something alien and cheap. Immersed in such things, even if they are fewer in number, one feels rich. Amassing quantities of cheap stuff, one experiences cheapness, not wealth – even if that cheap stuff is very expensive. Real wealth is to belong. It is to have a wealth of relations.
Already it is clear how localization is incompatible with economic growth. Economists define growth as an increase in the volume of goods and services exchanged for money. Building windows from upcycled, scavenged, or donated materials, using community labor rather than paid labor, contributes nothing to economic growth as economists define it. Conversely, any place where people still build their own houses, care for their own children, grow their own food, sing their own songs, make their own medicine, and help each other following misfortune is a ripe “undeveloped market” where these functions can be replaced, respectively, by the construction industry, day care industry, agribusiness, the entertainment industry, the medical industry, and the insurance industry. Development means to transition out of a local, gift-based culture to a global market economy.
Degrowth goes beyond replacing some portion of global exchange with local exchange; it also entails reclaiming part of life from exchange altogether. Contrary to popular belief and to economists’ mythology, pre-market (and post-market) societies do not operate by barter or any other alternate means of “exchange.” They are gift cultures. I help build you door, but you don’t necessarily give me a hand-sewn shirt in return. You feel affection and gratitude toward me, and you (and everyone who sees what I’ve done) recognize me as a contributing member of the community. Out of this affection and respect, or perhaps seeing my need, you or someone else gives me the shirt. Knowing each other over years, hearing stories of each other, we know what each person likes and needs. We feel generous towards those who are generous, and stingy toward those who are stingy, thereby pulling everyone toward the culture of gift.
The current economic system is a growth system, requiring economic growth to function. Without growth, the mechanisms of money creation stall, debt levels rise, inequality intensifies, and the system lurches from one crisis to the next, hollowing out the lower and middle classes each time. I analyze this process in detail in Sacred Economics; here I will just observe that the ideal of local, gift-based economies asks for a reversal of the systemic growth imperative. A Great Reset in that spirit must include a significant jubilee – a cancellation of debt – and from there, a money system no longer based on interest-bearing debt for money creation.
3. Slowing Down
For centuries, at least since the Industrial Revolution and arguably long before, the main goal of technology has been to increase productivity, whether of production or in everyday life. It takes less time to weed a field with a mechanical cultivator than it does with a hoe, and less time still to douse it with Roundup. It takes less time to drive ten miles than to walk, to add a column of figures by spreadsheet rather than by hand, to use a computer database rather than a file cabinet. We can get a lot more done a lot faster than ever before. Yet somehow, despite centuries of labor-saving inventions, we seem just as busy as ever (and more busy than hunter-gatherers who spent around 20 hours per adult on subsistence).
The people at Source Temple never seemed to be in a hurry. They always had time for each other, showing that the Dogon I quoted in one of my books (“Urgency is not something we have here”) are not exceptional. You too may have noticed that the less developed a place is, the more time people seem to have for play, art, and ceremony. The experience of the abundance of time is perhaps the most primal form of wealth, because time is life itself. What else do we have, but our time here? Scurrying from one thing to the next, servant of the schedule, the modern human never feels quite sovereign. One has not the time to do things precisely as they should be done.
Lewis Mumford named the clock – not the steam engine – as the crucial invention that launched the Industrial Revolution. Factories run by the clock; computers even more so, a precise coordination on the scale of nanoseconds. However, what humanity needs today is not more and more, faster and faster. The needs that can be met that way have already been met. (Yes, there are many people on earth still in grave material want, but that is not due to aggregate scarcity, it is due to maldistribution.) It is time to change the economic logic, habits, and systems that compel us to grow ever more efficient, productive, and, therefore, consumptive. We have overall a hyperabundance of the things that can be made efficiently, side by side with a crying scarcity of the things that can only be made slowly, lovingly, and devotionally. These meet the very needs that, when not fulfilled, drive overconsumption. The person wealthy in time, beauty, and relationship has little hunger for mass-produced substitutes for those things.
On the level of economic policy, one way to slow down is through a universal basic income. I am aware of its dangers: replacing economic self-determination with dependency on the state (whose dole-out may be conditional on the citizen’s compliant behavior), locking into place the destruction of small business and independent livelihoods. However, in a world where the labor of fewer and fewer people is required to meet society’s quantifiable needs, logically, more and more people will have to devote themselves to meeting qualitative needs. Factories can produce large quantities of cheap food, but they cannot produce food made with love by someone who knows me intimately using ingredients from living beings with whom I’m in relationship. No standardized construction process using standardized factory materials can grow a house around me, that is an extension of myself and my relationships. Because these things are inalienable from a specific creator and receiver, market forces cannot produce them.
* * *
People call a community like Source Temple “spiritual.” Why? The word has connotations of the unworldly. It isn’t that the residents claim to be in communication with supernatural entities or unseen forces. Yet, their way of life is unworldly – in the sense that it contravenes important conventions about life and work. The reader might find it odd that I have combined a travelogue about a spiritual community with a set of economic proposals, but it is this division between the spiritual and the worldly (money is the very essence of worldliness) that is the cause of much harm on and to this earth. I am fond of saying that excess materialism is not the problem, that we actually need to be more materialistic not less; that is, to hold matter sacred in all its forms, especially its living forms. Banishing sacredness to a non-material realm, no wonder modern society desecrates the material.
Spirituality, in other words, is not about that which is beyond materiality; it is about what the modern worldview does not recognize or cannot see. It therefore has everything to do with economics. Customarily modern people think of spirituality as something outside of relations of money, matter, and the flesh, but it should be about reclaiming their sacred dimension. What other Great Reset is worth attempting? Can we reset economy, and human relations beyond money, according to the knowledge held for so long in the world’s spiritual lineages, countercultures, and indigenous societies?
Sentiments like those behind Sacred Economics seem naively idealistic without exemplars like Source Temple, which can remind us that our secret longing is no fantasy; that it is possible here on earth and not even very far away. Not very far away collectively, and not very far away for oneself. The more we see love made visible around us, the more our own love dares to express itself too. There are places in the world where people live devotionally, holding that intention consciously in community. Another way I like to describe it is that they live in the gift. To live in the gift is to live in the knowledge that the world is a gift (unearned, unforced), that we each are a gift to the world, and that we are here to add our gifts to the ongoing gift of Creation.
A friend today told me of a psychedelic journey, “There was nothing that wasn’t love.” That is obvious in a devotional environment. It is hard for me to remember it sometimes, living in my box, surrounded mostly by alienated objects, relating to other people through screens, dependent on money and independent of the people, animals, and plants around me. I am grateful to Source Temple and to the many other places, people, and moments of grace that reawaken and sustain the spirit of the Gift. I hope that the glimpse I’ve offered here arouses your knowing of it too. May each of us recognize and take the next step into living with devotion. And may we accept nothing less in our collective agreements.
James R says
One day soon we can all have the freedom to experience social interaction with the love we desire. I hope you see well Charles especially as you have visited Brasil during the covid era. Be safe.
Thank you Charles, this is such a beautiful piece, you share with such wisdom & truth. As a practitioner of Adi Da Samraj, and the way of Adidam, I felt so happy reading of your visit to Source Temple, and your observations.
Jamie F says
This is beautiful. Just beautiful! A gift that was meant to be given. No wonder this essay grabbed hold of you and wouldn’t let go Charles.
Wondering how many other communities like Source Temple exist? How many in the US? How does a community like this get started? How connected does Source Temple (and other similar communities) remain to the traditional money system?
Kathy White says
Check out the Global Eco-village network https://ecovillage.org/
Paulina Kay says
Beautiful Charles!! Love reading you. We have built a Culture from a Economic Perspective and not Human perspective. We built cities that don’t serve the people and this makes life so dependable on the System. Modernity and technology took over our conscious mind unexpectedly in a way that we let our values drown. Big government and organizations guided us mischieviously to the idea of the need to remove the
Family as the foundation of Society and instead declared it on Indociduals .
After this, came our humanity downfall. Removing the Family from the picture, helped drastically the global agenda. Their next step was to put men and women against each other. Changing sex became easy. If You debilitate what it meas to be Woman and Men, it will be easy to debilitate society and control it.
The 1% in power manage and dictate how our life suppose to be and they know perfectly our weakness and use them agains us. Whoever challangr
the system gets destroyed – I
Am of them. What Humans being are capable is incredible and I am very hopeful that we will overcome the 1% who does not care for us, it is here where we will be able to transform Humanity and Unite.
You Charles. You have been pure inspiration and one I respect the most.
Sue Stevenson says
“Home Despot” is possibly my favourite typo ever. Please don’t fix it 🙂
Vicky Edwards says
helen russell says
beautifully said Charles – i could feel my nervous system settle and relax the more i read and my soul deepen into that relaxation of the ‘truth’ you speak and my spirit sing ! in recognition of our need to reset into our communities our homes and our environment – thank you <3
Thank you, yet again, Charles. Deeply appreciated. With love.
Gayle Borst says
Awesome! Inspirational! Charles Eisenstein, you never cease to amaze me with your deep insight, wisdom and understanding. I must find my Source Temple – It is what I long for. Thank you for giving me the hope that it is possible.
Daniel L. Pelzl says
What part does the nuon particle play in the “new-old” economy? If wealth were identified with ability to help other creation, our need for speed would be attenuated. Greed depends on unconscious behavior. Become conscious and greed will find other prey. We exist to create beauty, the foundation of happiness.
Ingvild Vinje says
This is so beautiful. Thank you very much. Just what I needed! Just what we need.
Great lines, they shoot right into the heart. Essay arouses deeply buried truths that we all instinctively know.
Julie Horsley says
Oh my. This is food for my soul and my soul is now singing its songlines. This is the kind of way of being in community; creating and living in beautiful, original, devotional structures that offer sanctuary and healing for our bodies that I truly long for. I am tenderly holding this intention that this more beautiful way of being is possible in this lifetime. Thank you Charles.
Sandra Yvonne says
This is SO beautiful! It makes me cry, because it resonates so much and my whole body and soul are going YES!! YES!!! YEEEESSSSS!!!! Thanks from my heart for your gift, Charles, that you’re giving the world!
Christine Grace says
I am ever so grateful for your presence Charles. Thank you for being here and for offering me hope in the space of Grace that is here for us all when we awaken and live the love that we are.
I have bookmarked this essay as I have a feeling I will be re-reading and sharing it a great many times. I aspire to find small ways to live the way you described and keep it as an ideal while I pay down debt and work to create a more deliberate and devotional life for myself, my family, and my community. I’ve found that growing, sharing, and preparing food is a natural starting place for me. I’m lucky to live in a small town in Alaska where there are so many wonderful people who set an example of authenticity, and being near them is an inspiration as authenticity is contagious.
Thank you for this beautiful essay. That you wrote it after you said you were going to take a break from writing essays makes me think of how many people find a soulmate after swearing off relationships. Sometimes when we’re not striving, a thing materializes on its own.
I appreciate you, Charles. Your work is an example of the authenticity you describe in the essay.
I was reading about Zapatistas communities, 350,000 people in Mexico https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebel_Zapatista_Autonomous_Municipalities
What do you all think about using a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) app as an expression of our individual (and collective) vision?
Yin Paradies says
I experience your work as deeply inspiring. I wonder if you have considered that this wonderful community you visited in Brazil exists without ending treaties, subsidies, erecting tariffs or a universal basic income. You seem to take for granted the ongoing existence of institutions and nation-states. I think it unlikely that these aspects of the story of separation will exist after the Great Reset.
Marie Blaine says
Such truth here- beautiful, insightful and wise💛
And every decision we make in our lives, in our homes, in our day, can be one where we choose simplicity and wholeness and beauty and quality and time-spent over the quick, the premade, the convenient, the shoddy. It really is a choice we have. Even in this very society we inhabit. It is a matter of reorienting again and again to what matters and what really brings a sense of joy and peace and satisfaction. I think about this a lot. I once, years ago had a housemate who was a painter, and she said to me that she had vowed to never bring into her home anything that she did not truly love. That stuck with me- to have a relationship of great admiration and love for each of your belongings. To only accept those things that are beautiful to you, and in so doing, you want to treat them with care and your home becomes a sanctuary where attention is given, where there is a sense of stuardship and thoughtfulness. This is something I have been slowly working toward over many years- to be aware enough to say no to those things that will not last, or that are not really useful or that I will not love enough to care for.
When a place is tended, it truly exudes a certain light. I have noticed this particularly in monasteries and japanese gardens and the homes of certain people. It almost seems as if the plants perk up around them. And the surfaces come to life a little. Everything is uplifted. I believe objects respond to our care on some level.
I love the ideas in A Pattern Language and have been long dreaming of a courtyard home, (most recently ogling the colonial courtyard homes of Granada, Nicaragua- gorgeous with old tile and lush tropical gardens) where the rooms are situated around a central outdoor courtyard gathering space full of plants and south facing for sunshine, as well as incorporating more nooks and enclaves in a single room, for individuals to be doing their tasks in comfort and seclusion while still together with others- it is a real
joy as a family to be quietly enjoying time alone together.
Thanks for the great essay!
Hi Charles, a timely newsletter indeed… Just working on a business plan using the same principles as part of the business model. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
Rishika R.Devi says
Yes….a ‘house is not an object but an experience’! And as the houses were a territory for both the Adidamins and the Course in Mircacles-folks, we may add that the houses are nothing but Experiences indeed yet NOT built in Time per se, neither reflecting Time but indeed are Time- Melted into sweet Eternity! Da Datva, I say!
Charles when you said you were easing up on essay writing you were right: this essay already existed in the Imaginal realm, or the More Beautiful Place – as you describe it – fact. Its ring of truth as felt by my beating heart tells me so. You didn’t write it, it was a transcribing of gift into form, your unique “service to creation”. Thank you for this gift. It encourages me to act from that same sacred place.
Jennifer Comeau says
Thank you. You’ve written a deeply resonant message about place and space — the atmosphere of the heart that surrounds a home. I have little trouble with your applied 1) Localization and 2) Degrowth. Here in Maine, people put things out by the road with “FREE” signs. It’s part of the culture. My husband is a master at “free-by-the-side-of-the-road” finds. He built what we lovingly call a barnette (too small for a barn, too big for a shed) all from reused/recycled/repurposed items. The energy in the space, which is where I hold my workshops, is INCREDIBLE.
Where 3. Slow Down comes in is my learning edge. I have been feeling such resistance to perpetuating the arms and legs of my own “doing machine” these days. One of my gifts is producer/conductor — of creative workshops, songs, events, offerings. “Getting things done” has always been my go to talent. Over and over again, I’m drawn into the mysterious place of the unknown “being self” now. Frankly, it feels uncomfortable to give myself the space, but once I do, I LOVE it! It’s a muscle I’m building, and I believe all my producing will benefit from it.
Thank you Charles
Frank G says
Thank you for another moving essay. As always, I am in agreement with your sentiment, and as ever, I wonder how it could be brought to reality. While reading this, it occurred to me, one of the barriers to anyone wishing to participate in a gift economy is our tax structure. Any type of valuable exchange of a certain size, in theory at least, requires some form of tax to be paid. Even if you wish to homestead in complete self-sufficiency on your own property, you still have to pay property tax. It’s nearly impossible to forgo the need for money in our culture.
I wonder if you have considered in addition to some form of UBI, a taxation plan in which all individuals are exempt, and the tax burden falls solely on corporations. After all, these are organizations formed with the sole purpose of earning money. Individual human beings have no such imperative. Those who wish to band together for the purpose of providing goods and services at scale could pay for the privilege, and those who wish to barter could do so freely. I think most people would choose a hybrid. I realize how politically unpalatable such a scheme would be, and maybe it’s already included in your Sacred Economics text. If people could be motivated by the vision of a more beautiful world, and could find some rational path to getting there, maybe it would happen. Anyway, thanks again.
I stopped reading after I read “recently visited…Brazil.” Was this a joke? You suck for traveling at all and you especially suck for traveling there. Thanks for potentially bringing home that tasty variant. I don’t care how spiritual or enlightening your visit was, it’s entitled, self-centered bullshit that you chose to travel at all.
I have read your work for many years and thought you had wisdom but now realize you may be just another set-centered white, American author who thinks he sees the big picture but can’t see through his own reflecting bubble of entitlement.
There are no variants, Pierre. You still haven’t figured out the hoax after more than a year of this lockdown nonsense? You’ve been played.
As a former fan, I have grown to despise Eisenstein’s glib, pretentious, solipsistic, rambling, pseudo-philosophical writing, but I would never accuse him of endangering life just by hopping on a plane. The whole pandemic is a hoax being used as a pretext for two main goals, to generate an unprecedented windfall for Big Pharma, and more importantly, to usher in Klaus Schwab’s and the Davos class’ Great Reset, complete with digital Vaxx passes to completely control, circumscribe and surveil the masses. It has nothing to do with saving Grandma and never did.
This is what the fake pandemic is really all about:
There is no pandemic. Almost all the case numbers are artificially inflated false positive numbers generated by the misapplied PCR test.
As usual I agree with most of your sentiments.
I think the Universal Basic Income is folly though. Centralised, globalised anthropocentric money is folly. What pollution, colonialism and environmental destruction underpins every US dollar you get just so you can paint and do yoga and make yourself feel better by growing a cabbage or two? seriously… money, objectification and ownership are our greatest mistakes.
Fabiana Cecin says
Have you read Christopher Alexander?
Samar Yunis says
Thank you, Charles for this beautiful essay.. I’ve read it a few times and highlighted passages in it to re-read.. it struck chord in me..
My heart is full knowing there are people that think like you in this world ♥️🙏🏼
Newton E. Finn says
Again, ad infinitum, a fleeting vision, a winsome glimpse, of a better, more beautiful world, bringing to mind a plant that thrust its way through a crack in concrete and, so far, has not been stepped on. Maybe this is the best we can do right now, utter such “prayers” to a higher power able to hear us, perhaps help us do what we can’t. On our own, we are locked into plutocracy and imperialism, which are in turn locked into exploitation and ecocide. Was Charles right a while ago in suggesting that the pandemic was not merely a wild card suddenly thrown into the mix, but also possibly, albeit horribly, providential?
What a beautiful, inspiring read.
We are just about to start a new intentional family-community and your experiences are very inspirational for me. Now I have more clarity about the space that I want to co-create in our future home, with which intention and what I want to bring into the world.
Asha Singh says
Thank you as always for your beautiful sharings Charles. I love the simple eloquence with which you express yourself. It would be great to create with you sometime <3
Michael A says
Again, thank you Charles for always holding up the lantern for humanity to navigate towards through the fog of our times.
Only when we try not to approach another culture as a visitor, to immerse ourselves as an observer, but rather try to integrate, will we penetrate into secrets that could help us to find solutions to our global problems. Even the attempt at spiritual integration is often sufficient.
When I say we have to abolish all the money to save the earth, I am being declared insane. For the people you are describing, money has no meaning. They work and get what they need as a gift. As a gift from the earth, processed through voluntary work. Such a revelation could help open our eyes. For example, that a life without money is also possible in today’s consumer society.
Nothing prevents us from working voluntarily and from receiving everything we need from others. We will deal with it as disciplined as we are dealing with the Corona crisis.
And since investments in the economy are also free, there need be no more growth. The competition will stop because you cannot make a profit without money and inequality will decrease.
We give each other gifts and will therefore always feel more like family.