Time to choose a new story?
What I’ve been trying to show in this chapter is that it is our deluded sense of self which is the root of many of our current personal, social and ecological crises, and that money is instrumental to maintaining and affirming this delusion.
In order to have any hope of adequately dealing with the problems we are faced with, we need to fundamentally address the delusion of separation that has permeated and infiltrated our sense of self. In order to better take care of our land, our communities and, ultimately, our egocentric selves, we need to reconnect with an understanding of the interdependent whole. In order to do this we need to question and challenge the stories which support our delusions. The biggest enemy we face in doing so is that mechanism of separation, money.
Money is creeping into and informing all of our cultural information: our relationships, our food, our education, our health, our play, our media. Through all of these interactions we are rewarded for our independence and our conformity. We are encouraged to see nothing but price, and to disconnect from all other meanings. Consider the battles that take place in our daily lives – battles between integrity and convenience, passion and conformity, compassion and comfort. In how many of these is money often the deciding factor? It is all part of an ongoing war against an experience of oneness, against an experience of our wildness. We are taught to domesticate ourselves in order to better serve the institutions we have built – institutions themselves in service to money.
And the result? Consider the difference between a wild buffalo and a dairy cow. Consider the look in their eyes, the patterns of their lives, the choices they have to make. Consider their states of being, and what they would implicitly know about the world. Consider what each would deem important for their survival. Then consider what you know of the remaining peoples around the world who still live on the periphery of our culture – societies which have changed little for thousands of years simply because they had no need to.
As your entire life so far has probably confirmed to you, we are different. ‘Civilisation’ – the culture of the city-state – stands by itself, mighty and proud, and it is no accident, none whatsoever, that we are the people defiantly thundering towards ecological collapse, deaf to the cries of those whom we slaughter, oblivious to the pain we pierce in the hearts of our kin. Money is just a tool, one weapon amongst many in the war on wild. But it is a potent one, probably the most potent one we possess. It is fundamental to ensuring we do not experience our wildness, fundamental to preserving our disconnection from our actions, fundamental to ensuring our communities remain a collection of strangers to us. Just by using money we exhibit an awareness that oneness does not exist; just by using money we affirm and maintain the illusion of separation. It makes us ignorant of the state of being our own survival depends on.
Of course this entire chapter is also just a story, not necessarily more real than the story of money itself. It is up to you to decide whether or not it makes more sense to you than the current story we tell, and whether it would lead to rituals that would benefit us all, instead of harming us all on every conceivable level, which the current monetary system is undoubtedly doing.