“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of others.” –Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein made a good point, when one considers it, the whole of existence survives for the benefit of all other beings and no amount of ego based self-aggrandisement changes this fundamental fact.
Sacred Economics was sent to me as a You-Tube video by Steve Palmer as a ‘gift’ Since receiving the video at the end of last week I have now read the book, all of which is available via Amazon or free online. In the spirit of the work itself, I am also now sharing it with others.
Charles Eisenstein, (b 1967), is a Yale graduate in Mathematics and Philosophy has written a deeply spiritual work which integrates the economic system into spiritual thinking, thinking that may have entered the outer fringes of human consciousness at exactly the right time. Sacred Economics may serve to remind us all that the ‘circle of the gift,’ rather than that of money is the true value of community, and indeed our natural economy. Some may wonder if ‘God’ really gave us the world for exploitation mastery and domination, a folly that has been at the expense of all other existence. The most beautiful thing about this book is that while it highlights our economic and global imbalance, it also suggests modern day versions of ancient solutions that have served mankind well before. Eisenstein is way ahead of modern economics and its triple bottom line (TBL) theory, also referred to as people, planet, profit which is really just an expansion on the traditional Keynesian spectrum. The result is that the supply of money — and the corresponding volume of debt — has for several decades outstripped the production of goods and services that it promises. Moreover, mass industrialisation has also shattered traditional communities.
Reading this book made the American word for Salary ‘Compensation’ pop into my head. Anyone who questions the time they spend simply making a living may find it interesting to contemplate the definition: Something given or received as an equivalent for services, loss, injury or suffering.
When we think about it, how many of us are being ‘compensated’ by money for having something taken away, even if this is simply time to enjoy the world. Perhaps we are ‘compensating’ others for the suffering we inflict on them by our requirement of their services. These could be the people we pay to care for and educate or children, the medical profession, the supermarket staff from whom we buy our ready meals and a host of other services which were available freely in tribal families and communities. An interesting question is to what extent money is used as a substitute for time, freedom, friendship and love. How many talented people sacrifice their lives to uninspiring but well paid work believing that in retirement they will find the freedom to do what they believe in only to find themselves enslaved to money? After three hundred years of economic expansion this is how impoverished we have become, with no more real freedom than a medieval feudal serf.
This makes me wonder if money has presented a paradox where progress results in the polarization of wealth, where the accumulation of wealth by one may contribute to the poverty of another? It also makes me wonder if anxiety and depression arises because ‘God consciousness’ has been forgotten and replaced with a material existence which is so spiritually impoverished by this self-bondage that many are unable to find lasting pleasure in everyday life. These people also appear to be most commonly found within the world’s wealthiest nations, where it is ok for consumer goods manufacturers to build in planned obsolescence to many of our manufactured goods, and create advertising campaigns that make the user feel inadequate if they don’t ‘pay’ for an upgrade. Presently there is little desire for products that are well made, long lasting and easy to fix.
How did we forget who we really are? Our early ancestors received the gift of providance from their creator. The economy was a ‘gift’ consciousness where cooperation was emphasised over competition in a cyclical rather than linear economy. This has very strong parallels to Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory.
Eisenstein exposes the myths behind corporate and government power structures and the social and the spiritual devastation that has arisen from 300 years of economic growth. Indeed, our modern existence has split human reality into material and spiritual realms, a duality that is woven into every aspect of our civilization. Eisenstein allows the more inclusively minded to entertain the hope that failing economic systems may eventually propel us into a new era where suspicion gives way to the authentic generosity that has always existed in the world.
Economics and spirituality are inseparable, it is sad that these days we are suspicious of ‘gifts’ thinking kindness is to be about someone wanting to profit from us or having an ulterior motive. The more enlightened even question their own motives because we are conditioned to avoid ‘being used’ Am I giving because I want to, we ask ourselves… or is this just a means of self-aggrandisement? Perhaps it is good to give, whether this is simply trust, time, our talents or whatever.
The question is how do we share our gifts in today’s money economy and still make a living? For this to work we need to instead think ‘How may I best give of my gifts?’ instead of, ‘How can I make a living?’ The problem is for this model to work this thinking needs to be everyone and not just the enlightened few, as Ken Wilber says, the gifted need to step forward…
Unfortunately those with power are driven by money, significantly J. P. Morgan cut off financing for Tesla’s wireless energy transmission project (which, according to Tesla, would have provided virtually unlimited energy), he did not question the science. He did not evince the slightest doubt that the invention would work. He rejected it because he saw that it would be impossible to make money from it, saying, “If I can’t meter it, I can’t sell it.”
And here is the biggest problem….not that this means that we as individuals are not responsible…
To buy Sacred Economics Sacred Economics from Amazon