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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pandemics & Money

Pandemics & Money

I'm making this blog into a vlog, and here's my first official video and transcript for it, the first in a series to come.  If you feel so inspired, you may also go to my YouTube channel and subscribe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QMVsL5o9RM&t=1s)


Welcome to my very first video called Pandemics and Money. This is hopefully going to be the first
video in a series about gift economy and money and how they relate--how pandemics are actually
an outgrowth of money itself; and I'll explain how and why.

Pandemics A Given Fact of Civilization


First of all, we see that pandemics have been a given fact of civilization since it began thousands of
years ago. 



What is civilization but the domestication of other species?  Domestication is the very foundation of civilization.  Civilization is the decision to domesticate both plants and animals and to live in close proximity with domestic animals.

We know that the life cycle of organisms, such as viruses and bacteria and parasites, is often dependent upon two or more species together, because life cycles often complete themselves through jumping from one species to another; or, as in the case of a virus, it often begins in one species and jumps into another species, which has no immunity against the virus, so the virus grows exponentially.

Viruses, bacteria, and parasites naturally occur in wild nature, but they're kept in check because wild animals don't live naturally in such close proximity in massive populations with other species.

Such populations are the result of civilization as we know it.  Civilization is quite new in the evolutionary scene. 









Domestication: Denying Adulthood to Another Species

As far as I know, we're the only species that owns and domesticates other species.

I'm going to cut the euphemisms and call domestication for what it is:

Domestication is slavery.

Domestication is the control of another species.  Domestication is denying the autonomy of another species.  That's all it is.

When you domesticate another species, you breed it to be perpetually immature.  You even control its sexual life.  It's not free to sexually reproduce and explore without your control.  Often it's bred to not even reproduce sexually at all. 



For example, we mow grass before it goes to seed.  We can't allow it to reproduce freely.  We have to control it. 

We own another species because we want to control and reproduce it for food--either food or other utilitarian uses, such as riding horses, yokes of oxen pulling plows, dogs providing services.  Or the purpose might just be that we want a perpetual baby to take care of, that we think is cute.

This is what domestication does: it creates a state of perpetual immaturity in animals, because
immature animals are easier to control and they're not aggressive.

Excessive Biomass of Domestic Mammals on Earth


Especially presently on earth, we have an inordinate amount of domestic animals and humans, as opposed to wild animals.  Right now, in human history, 96 percent of the biomass of mammals on earth is domestic animals, and only 4.2 percent of this biomass of mammals is wild.  This is crazy.  This is a percentage flip from the way it was only like a thousand years ago.











Fall From Grace: One Package 

My theory has been that animal and plant domestication, money, trade, and credit-and-debt thinking all came in one package.  This is because they're all based on the same principle.

I believe many of our mythologies speak of what I believe to be the beginning of this principle.  For example, our own in western tradition, the Garden of Eden story, it talks about the Fall from Grace, which I interpret to mean the fall from gratis, from gift economy.  With this fall came the idea of credit and debt, and with this came agriculture (tilling the ground by the sweat of our brows), with it came separation of male and female (domination of male over female is part of the Eden story) and clothes. 

In other world myths it's the concept of stealing fire from heaven, which I'm not going to go into now), but it's the same idea.   It's what separates us from wild nature.

Agriculture is the same Principle as Money

The way agriculture works, of course, is you intentionally plant a seed.  You invest the seed and you wait for the produce.   You wait for the reward.  This is the same concept as money. 

We even call it a seed investment:  You plant an investment and you wait for the returns.

The Pay-It-Forward Principle of Nature is the Essence of the World's Faiths

This is the principle of money that is opposed to the principle of what we could call it Pay-It-Forward in nature.  For example, a bird eats a seed from a tree.  It eats the fruit, swallows the seed, and poops it out somewhere else. 

The bird doesn't sit there and cultivate the seed and wait for the produce.  It pays it forward.  Somebody else will reap the fruits of the "labor" of the bird, the so-called "labor."  The birds is just doing its thing.  It's the same with the bear eating raspberries.  There's no conception of "I have to pay this raspberry bush back!"  The bear eats the raspberry and moves on. 

No Distinction Between Giving and Receiving

And the raspberry bush, as far as it's concerned, is receiving a service by the bear eating its berries. 

There's no idea of receiving and giving a service: it's all one thing!  Is a bear giving a service or receiving a service when it poops in the ground?  Are the organisms in the ground receiving a service or giving a service when they eat that poop or when a seed sprouts from the poop?  The cycles continue a perfect balance in the natural order. 

No Consciousness of Credit and Debt

I say that this is precisely because there's no consciousness of credit and debt as there is in human civilization.  So with credit and debt thinking comes planting and reaping the rewards of what we plant.

Even our religious traditions recommend against this.  If you want to follow the spiritual path, you give expecting nothing in return.  You "pay it forward." 

This is a concept in the Bible. 
For in this the saying is true: "One sows and another reaps." I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.               --Jesus (John 4:37-38)
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return             --Jesus (Luke 6:35)
It's concept in the Quran.
Give not with the thought to gain,And be patient unto thy Lord.(Quran 74:6-7)
He who gives away his wealth...and he who gives no favor to any one for the sake of reward,but only craving the face of his Lord most High;in the end he shall be well pleased!(Quran 92:4,18-21)
It's a concept in the Bhagavad Gita.  The Bhagavad Gita is very clear on this.  It even calls it
relinquishing the rewards, or the fruits, of your own actions.  It actually uses the word fruit, as
if you're planting a seed.
A person of yoga obtains everlasting peace by abandoning the rewards of action.The person ignorant of yoga,selfishly attached to reward,remains bound.(Bhagavad Gita 5:12) 
It's a concept in the Tao Te Ching:
Creating without claiming,Doing without taking credit,Guiding without interfering:This is the Primal Virtue.  -- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching 51)
It's a concept in the Buddist Suttras:
Enlightened beings are magnanimous givers,bestowing whatever they havewith equanimity,without regret,without hoping for reward,without seeking honor,without coveting material benefits,but only to rescue and safeguardall living beings.(Garland Sutra 21)
It's a concept in Judaism:
Be not like the servantswho minister to their masterupon condition of receiving a reward;but be like servantswho minister to their masterwithout the condition of receiving a reward;and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.(Mishna, Abot 1.3)
The whole concept of money is planting a seed and waiting for rewards, taking rewards for your own actions.  

Working for money puts us into a state of delusion.  Money represents self-credit, right?  I work for a reward.  "I deserve it."  Money represents working for my own reward.  What is reward but praise?

All Praise to the Whole, All Price to the Whole

Praise and price come from the same root, clear back to Proto-Indo-European times.
https://www.etymonline.com/word/price

I work for my own praise.  I work for my own price, whereas, in the world of reality, nothing comes from us individually.  Everything comes from the Whole.  We are a product of the whole.   We're a product to
our culture.  We're a product of our biology.  We're a product of the Whole Universe.

In fact, all of the energy that is running my body right now comes from the sun.  It does not come from me, so I can't take credit for it.

Basically, then, not working for money is acknowledging,

"All credit to the Whole,"

"All credit to the All"

"All praise to the All"

Hallelujah

Jesus himself even says,
I can do nothing of myself.          --Jesus (John 5:30)
This is the very principle of not working for money.

Ownership


What also comes with agriculture/credit-and-debt thinking is ownership.  Ownership is what domestication is: it's ownership of animals and plants and the processes of nature.  It's control over the processes of nature that already instinctively naturally happen.


For example, in in our civilization we have an aversion to anything that's wild.  We keep what's wild separate from us.  We don't allow it within the walls of our civilization.  Just walk around any suburban neighborhood and see how many people obsessively get rid of weeds.  Because weeds are wild or feral, they have their own authority.  Civilization, domestication, cannot stand us having our own authority.  We have to go to somebody else for authority.  We can't allow any other species to have its own authority within the walls of civilization. 
 

We are as Domesticated as the Creatures we Domesticate

What we don't understand is we are as domesticated as the creatures we domesticate.  In fact there's no reason any creature would want to domesticate another creature unless it itself is immature.  It is
immaturity that causes us to own another creature, whether it's slavery of humans or slavery of animals.



And we become what we control. 




So it is with the authorities that we put ourselves in submission under.  Our authorities also are domesticated and immature. 



What mature person would want to
control another?  What mature person would want to deny another autonomy, self-authority, adulthood? 

Factory Farming & Overpopulation

Now our agriculture has evolved into factory farming.  Massive amounts of animals in inhumane conditions live together and live in close proximity with us. 

Yes, another thing that comes with domestication is overpopulation.  We over-populate the
domestic animals that we raise, we over-populate ourselves.
 



Cancer Also Comes in the Package


Also what I believe comes in the same package as money, agriculture, and domestication is cancer.  Cancer has been shown to exist in prehistory from fossil findings, but looks relatively rare until civilization comes along.  Then, all of a sudden, cancer is found all over in the civilized world. 

This is just a hunch; this is intuition:  But I feel that excessive cancer and monetary civilization also come together in the same package.  Cancer appears to be a manifestation of money thinking.

Case in point: the only two things that i can think of that "think" that unlimited growth is a virtue
are cancer and monetary economy.  Go to any city or county council meeting and note: what's the one thing that nobody will dare question?  Unlimited growth!  If your economy is not growing perpetually then we think there's something wrong.  The only other organism that I can think of that "thinks" this way is cancer (if you can call it thinking).  It runs on the principle of exponential growth. 

Look at cancer, economy, human population, and even CO2 levels in the climate: they all grow exponentially.  They coincide together.   There is a correlation.



















With overpopulation of both humans and animals comes pandemics.  Big populations of
animals and humans living together breeds pandemics.  In addition to this overpopulation of animals in factory farms is the excessive use of antibiotics and antiseptics, as also happens in hospitals.  These extremely sterile environments, of course, weed out the weaker microbes and the
strongest survive by the laws of natural selection.  We're creating super-germs.

We're creating not only pandemics but super-germ pandemics.  It's inevitable that we will see more
pandemics as time goes, because we are the petri dish of pandemics.

7 comments:

  1. Dear Daniel.

    For years now I´ve been incredibly inspired by you and folks such as Mark Boyle for living the new story, not just talking about it. But at the same time I have struggled with how to live a life of lusty abundance, not merely survival on the margins of a rotting civilization. I dumpster dived, and grew sick of eating the products of industrial agriculture and processed ersatz that constituted 90% of what is marketed and wasted by this society. I lived in squats and as a volunteer on other people´s lands, but grew weary of the constant insecurity and compromise necessary continue living in these arrangements. I didn´t want to waste my life struggling to survive within the system, and ended up wasting my life struggling to survive outside the system instead! I always suspected that the key to true abundance, beyond mere survival, lay in other people, in community, but nowhere found this outside some transitory zones, such as the Rainbow gatherings in Europe (not sure you have this in the states -- it´s similar to Burning Man but with no entrance fee, each camp lasts a full month, and everything is clandestine since no permission is secured for occupying the land) which, while beautiful in their way, hardly represent a sustainable way to live.

    So it was with wonder and joy that I discovered the amazing work of Ethan Hughes and his friends, who indeed seem to be living the new story in community, and sharing their lives with the whole world. I wonder if you have ever connected with them?

    "My guest for this episode is Ethan Hughes and we talk about Permaculture and Radical Possibilities. Ethan lives on a electricity and petrol free homestead covering 110 acres. Our conversation was conducted over one of the few pieces of technology at the site, a landline telephone located in a space that is separated from the rest of the living area. Ethan, his wife, and the others who share the homestead with them operate on a gift economy. The short and quick way to explain this is that they give gifts freely and have others give gifts in return, though not necessarily on a one to one or quid pro quo basis, which we clarify more fully in the interview. Though it initially sounded impossible to me, they are able to do this and support 9 full time adults and 2 children on the site, while still receiving over 1500 guests through their space for tours and classes."
    (https://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/2012/ethanhughes/)

    Anyway, thank you for all you´ve done and continue to do. Your eloquence and grounding in the historical thought of ancient and indigenous worldviews struck a chord in me, being an African of indigenous and ancestry and from a Muslim background, that continues to resonate and grow in amplitude to this day.

    All the best,
    Siddiq Khan

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Siddiq. Believe me, I've been thinking on these very things you talk about. I myself enjoy living in the cracks, but that's not for everybody. I was just starting to brainstorm and plan on really finding ways to start moneyless community, so anybody could do it (with families, etc) but then a curve ball was thrown at me and I had to start caretaking my aging parents 5 years ago.

      Yes, I know about Ethan Hughes and even talked with him on the phone. He had invited me to join him, but my plans to do so got stifled. I hear his Possibility Alliance community has moved or (is moving?) to Maine from Missouri. They're off the grid so it's hard to keep track.

      Oh, yeah, Mark Sundeen also wrote about Ethan Hughes' community in "The Unsettlers". Mark wrote that book after he wrote the book about me to start addressing all the questions he got about how people could live moneyless or near moneyless in community.

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  2. Thanks Daniel, good that you´re in touch with those guys. I did enjoy living in the cracks -- it was a transformative experience that showed me that it was really possible to live without money, rather than just read admiringly about other people who do it, such as yourself. But I did start runnning up against limitations that got me questioning what sort of marginal life I wanted, and the cost-benefit analysis of going all-out straight away, or a more gradual approach of moving in that direction. Obviously there is no superiority one way or another. These are just choices each of us has to decide on for ourselves based on our preferences and values. But I would not be able to live with and care for my own mom (she can take care of herself for now, but in future) if I kept living the sort of life I did, nor would I want to live with and care for children (I don´t have any now, but would like to). Hughes, on the other hand, describes how his place developed into an inter-generational community where grandparents, friends and neighbours look after each other and each other´s children. In my experience like even those who enjoy living in the cracks would benefit a lot from being able to move through these spaces from time to time (just as such spaces would benefit from such travellers -- in a somewhat similar way as the relationship between hermits and monastaries).

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    1. I hear you. Obviously, now caretaking my mom, I can no longer live in the cracks - case in point confirming what you say.

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  3. Greetings. I have been on a bit of an intellectual journey of late and I find you are one of the few people in the public eye that have arrived at the same or similar conclusions as myself concerning money. I am a Christian and through a lot of thinking about the implications of Christianity I have by turns moved from being a run of the mill conservative to a right wing libertarian (when I concluded that imposing morality by force was contrary to Christian doctrine) to an anarchocapitalist (when I realized that the state was not just something Christians shouldn't use for furthering the Kingdom of God but was itself a kind of false god) and now finally to disbelieving in both the state and money (which I realized is predicated on the willingness to initiate force to retain possession and is therefore necessarily a creature of the state).
    The ideas raised here and in your other blog about the domestication of animals are something I am currently working through myself. In Genesis we are told that man is given dominion over the earth. This happens before the fall and is usually assumed to mean that we have the authority to use the planet as we see fit. However I noticed a pattern recently: God causes the earth to bring forth the fish, birds, plants, animals, creeping things, and lastly mankind. Mankind therefore is the youngest brother of all the other life forms (earth being the mother) and is subsequently given special status among his siblings and mother. This again happens with Isaac and Ishmael and with Jacob and Esau, and again with Joseph and his brothers. In all these cases the younger is prefered over the elder. But this dominion, if understood to be like that of the head of a family instead of a license to use and abuse, confers on us responsibility for its care. If we would be the greatest of the creatures we must make ourselves the servants of all the others. I think part of the reason for the old testament sacrificial system was to show us that in making domestic animals our servants we had inadvertently made them more of the image of God than ourselves. A man perhaps could be a priest and be holy in performing the sacrifice but that holiness was a product of the sacrifice (on the part of the animal) not a product of the the man being a priest. This of course culminates in Christianity in Jesus (as man and God) demonstrating to us the way of servanthood becoming our sacrifice and calling us to likewise become living sacrifices, not because we owe it but because there is no other way to live and truly be "alive". God is the owner of all things and the only one to whom anything can be owed. But if we ourselves are His and can make nothing of ourselves, how could we expect to pay the enormous debt conferred on us by His creation of us? We could not, but He does not expect us to. By virtue of His forgiveness of this debt however we are made to love Him and do for Him far more and far more freely than what could have been accomplished if He had kept us in His debt.

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    1. And another quick thought on the image of God being predicated on servanthood: if all things brought forth from the earth are considered to be siblings, plants would at first seem to be the greatest among them, being given as food for all the others. But what does God make man? A gardener: a servant even to plants.

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  4. I only just found you, have always thought to live tbe way you do. Think the same. It will take time to digest your blog, thanks for writing it

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