Sunday, November 13, 2011

Money is a Jealous God

We have made a god of money.

Money is a symbol of the agreement (we somehow) reached, that a number attached to some sign ($, £, €) accurately denotes the value of a thing. It is a ‘natural’ idea to us now, something we accept unquestioningly, but imagine explaining to a !Kung bushman that his loin cloth is ‘worth’ $50 on the ‘open market.’ What is a dollar? How much is one worth? What does it mean to measure the value of a thing with a simple number attached symbol? Can you even explain it to yourself? What is the dollar value of your right hand, to you? To the market? To me?

We have made of god of money, and we are not allowed to question that god.

In Hindu religious art, the eyes of the gods are whited out. We mortals cannot look at them and live. Money is like that. It is like the smell of your nose, there always, intimately familiar, and yet totally indescribable. After we have penetrated money’s mists and seen the vacuum that lies beyond them, we are changed. The old person ‘dies,’ the new one sees the world in a very different light.

What is the value of a loin cloth? What is $50? What information in “loin cloth” cannot be contained by the information “$50”? How about the following guess at the value of a loin cloth:

O snug second scrotum,
o status of my manhood,
o evidence of:
my skill with a blade,
to track all day then kill clean,
to skin and cure, to share the meat,
to make from what I have what I need!
How could I ever want another’s!?

That’s 47 words. Have I just valued the loin cloth at W47? Stupid question. What if I had put it to music? Or painted an image of my loin cloth on a cave wall? Words, music and images work together. They cooperate, expand on, go beyond. There is grammar, context, rhythm, style, rhyme, tone, colour, culture, etc. But $50 is always and only $50.

Why is it that the consensus required to create money—this ‘somehow’ agreement reached as if by magic, that $1 is always and only $1—is so powerful? To my mind it is precisely by magic we have concocted equivalence from its absence elsewhere in nature. If you can, try to name two things that grow or emerge from Universe, even two apples or grains of sand, that are exactly identical. Even two protons proceed through a different trajectory, have different ‘destinies.’ No two Decembers are identical, no two experienced seconds, or smiles, holidays, Mondays ... nothing. Everything is unique and in a constant state of flux. Only measuring-units such as inches, miles, meters and money posses this quality of perfect equivalence.

Why then have we made a jealous god of money, but not of inches or ounces?

The more of us capable of answering that question, in depth, the better chance humanity has at making it through the coming challenges.


RogerGLewis said...

Greta Blog really hits the spot thanks

Toby said...

Thank you, Roger, and you're welcome. I believe we're at the stage where we can begin crystallizing the criticism as the first solid building block of imagining and practicing genuine alternatives.

Malagodi said...

Because in our culture money is the representation of wealth and thus it is a surrogate of power?

In some cultures, cows are the representation (store) of wealth.

If inches were acres, then they would be the symbolic representation of 'real estate', which is the store of power in politics (how much territory do you control?)

And so forth.

Money may seem to be a jealous god, but it is not. It is quite flexible in that it represents the exchange of power between you and the whore of materialism. It is not the booty itself, just how you get at it.

Your proposal is a derivation of the Jewish biblical notion, a correct one, that "our God is a jealous god."

We in the West often (or almost always) confuse the Jewish theology with the Greek panoply. Jews do not employ deities, in fact they are quite vehemently against them. The Greek tradition, from which Christianity emerged, is replete with them. I often say that Christianity has simply taken the Jewish texts and transposed them onto Mount Olympus. Jesus might as well be Apollo, son of Zeus.

So when the Jews say "Our God is a jealous god" it is the same idea as when Jesus is reported to have said "You cannot serve both God and money" and "give to Caesar what is Caesar's". It simply means that you cannot have the two concurrent lovers, as they are incompatible.

Frank Powers said...

After we have penetrated money’s mists and seen the vacuum that lies beyond them, we are changed. The old person ‘dies,’ the new one sees the world in a very different light.

You are so very right, Toby. Excellent post indeed. And regarding the world: it seems insane, thoroughly possessed with a thing of no value, completely out of its mind, and right now appears to be happily preparing to commit suicide out of its fear to run out of inches, ehm, money, I mean.

Debra said...

Jesus said, if I remember : there where your treasure is, your heart will be also.
I like this post a lot.
One teeny weeny, itsy bitsy quibble.
The numbers game.
I am not sure at this point if our god is really money, or... the numbers.
After all, that dollar sign is always affixed to A NUMBER, right ??
Not good accusing "money" of the crimes of "numbers", IF THEY ARE THE CRIMES OF NUMBERS.
Or the crimes of EQUIVALENCY itself.

Debra said...

By the way, Toby, I really really appreciate your saloon.
The best part about it is that WE are not thinking in binary fashion.
I... THINK ?

Toby said...

"Because in our culture money is the representation of wealth and thus it is a surrogate of power?"

Is this a gauntlet I see before me, its challenge tossed at my foot? ;-)

I would add scarcity to that answer, and equivalence itself too (as Debbie hints at). 'Control' the money system (via scarcity of course, but also equivalence and hence measurement), and you 'control' access to wealth as well as the perception of what value is (wealth is literally impossible to measure precisely). 'Control' in single speech marks because it evolved with a mixture of innocence and cynicism, and has never really been total.

In Graeber's "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" a good case is made linking the origins of an explicit measure of value with both the slave trade and early justice ("an eye for an eye" and that sort of thing). Yet the entire reason for even embarking on a cultural journey (unconsciously or not) that might engender slaves, property, and markets has its roots in farming, and hence apportioned wealth, hence scarcity. It keeps on coming back to scarcity and the fearful protection of one's wealth from The Alien Other.

It would be very interesting to find out how units of measure emerged in human history, and what their cultural contexts are, the patterns thereof.

Of course money is very flexible and promiscuous from one angle, but I'm going to stick with jealous because of money's linkage with power. Power corrupts, absolute power... Until money is democratic it will inspire and contain all the worst aspects of idolatry, monopoly, fear, scarcity and hierarchy. Money will stop being a jealous god when we stop idolising it. I suspect what money becomes (should we survive), we would not call money today, certainly not in the mainstream.

And again with acres and inches, of what? Desert? Forest? Ocean? Tundra? Swamp? What about generosity as a source of wealth? The Piraha say, "I store my food in the belly of my brother." What we give is what we are, what we become. Be, don't have. Back to scarcity again. Faith in bounty engenders a cultural preference for being, not having. Money has so far been about having, and is a 'solution' to the problem of distributing scarce stuff to 'greedy' folk. And yet scarcity and property are in the mind. They are perceptions.

Interesting thoughts on Jesus as Apollo and the cultural roots of Christianity. I would say there's a touch of Dionysus in there too, and early Egyptian Ra, and perhaps a few others. Spring rebirth is strong throughout many myths. There's no such thing as a totally original idea. All things emerge from supporting contexts.

"You cannot serve both God and money." My feeling is that we should stop idolising God too. As I see it, there is nothing which is not God, nothing which is not nature, not Universe. And that includes you and me. Warts and all. It's not idolatry we want, it's wise humility. Or something along those lines.

Toby said...

Debbie, my thoughts tread those tracks too, but numbers are with us to stay. I love that the Piraha can't count above one. There isn't two of anything, so what function does any number above one serve? They are distortions, deceptions. Yet with them we can do things like communicate over the Internet and see the Earth from space. Where there's muck, there's brass. Let's not get binary about numbers!

Is infinity a number?

Toby said...

Hi FP! Indeed, money is a thing without value, yet how we value it! Partly of course this is its utility value, which is highly significant, but partly the illusion of value is what we are discussing here, and others are discussing elsewhere.

More power to those discussions, and the (hopefully) wise actions that flow from them!

Rupert Russell said...

A friend of mine, Rachel (super bright, left leaning, very well read and straight shooting ex prison governor who is now trying to muscle her way into a career in politics) and I argue a lot about the-why-and-the-where-for of things and why they are as they are. She is open-minded but errs on the side of optimism but disagrees with some of the fundamentals. I introduced her to 'The Spirit Level' back in '09 and she agreed with the conclusions therein, namely that it is, amongst other things, the gross inequalities that exists within our fractured society that are the cause of many ills. She works close enough to a few 'people' in the puppet business and made sure that they were made aware of the book.

Up until the last few weeks she still maintained a heartfelt belief in the system, the state. I got the impression that she still hoped, deep down, 'mom and dad' would find it in their tummies, that sparkle of humanity that remained and do the right thing. The news from Greece and Italy and an exchange we had over the weekend put pay to that. The horrible realisation that her slightly kooky, rim stalking, conspiracy theorist friend might actually be onto something had the effect along the lines of; Dorothy pulled back the curtain and the all wonder and magic of Oz evaporated in an instant, like a freep of air escaping from a pair of tired old buttocks. I must confess, I did feel rather smug; however, there are other things that I would choose to be right about.

Even my wife turned to me on Friday as we were watching Newsnight and asked - 'who do we owe all the money to?' I nearly chocked I tell ya. People, more and more of them can see the end of the tracks, the cliffs edge, the emperor’s rather ridiculous manhood, shrivelling in the cooling economic breeze. Still, it's better than going and not knowing why.

Toby said...

I think hardest of all is going to be abstaining from asking Mummy and Daddy if it's ok to rebel, to do things very differently, to check in with them regularly to see if everything is good so far. We have all been brought up that way, and it's a very hard habit to break.

Not that I'm advocating solipsism or rugged 'individualism.' The world does not revolve around you, or around me. It does not revolve around any single, fixed point. Even the sun is in motion, as are the galaxies. The hard path is learning a truly democratic, non-totalitarian (which would include the tyranny of the majority over the minority) socioeconomic and sociopolitical process. This we have to teach ourselves and learn as we go. The process would be the new mummy and daddy, but would be made of us and our wisdom.

And I went on too long again. How I love to pontificate.

Debra said...

Why knock on yourself, Toby ?
I didn't hear you pontificating.
(By the way... I hear "PONTIFF" in pontificating...but then i have nothing against the Pope...)
In the Dominique Meda book I have been reading about the end of work as a VALUE, she posits that it is necessary to DISENCHANT work in order for it to "work" for us.
This is where I become the devil's advocate.
Maybe... if we disenchant our symbolic systems MORE, we can re enchant... WHAT ?
Because disenchanting EVERYTHING is the melancholic's little dream.
But when you do that, you end up TAKING YOURSELF DOWN WITH THE SHIP.
I believe...
I am still taking my daily walks. Yesterday I saw the local heron, and split a couple of walnuts for the crows... (but there are too many of them... some of them NEED TO BE SHOT, like in the "good old days"..)

Debra said...

Question, Toby, can't you argue that the movement from a society where land is transmitted in HEREDITARY fashion, to a society where land is transmitted by monetary transaction represents a DEMOCRATISATION of the access to property ?
If this is true, then working towards the democratization of money will not necessarily answer our problems...
It is already... PRETTY DEMOCRATIZED, to the extent that the people who OWN IT (in large quantities...) do not need to QUALIFY in any way, shape, or form, to obtain it, and do not need to ANSWER to society for what they do with it. (Ideological/religious bankruptcy here).
I do not believe that power, or the concentration of power are responsible for the SHIT that emerges.
I believe that it is when power is ABUSED, or when the people who are entrusted with it feel no sense of responsibilty towards the charge they are entrusted with, that revolutions happen.
To that extent, trying to get rid of ANY AND ALL KINDS OF AUTHORITY is a little bit like pissing in a violin, to use a French expression.
Trying to control ABUSE OF POWER, is something different.
But... you need to have an ELITE (which will always emerge anyway) that feels RESPONSIBLE for those it represents, and does not CONDESCEND.
Those are very delicate nuances there, and ones that our simplistic society is having a hard time understanding at this time...

RogerGLewis said...

Debra the system of monetary creation ensures that the distribution of wealth is anything but democratic and fair. The issuers of debt by constricting the flow of money and the government by implementing taxation are very adept at disguising how choices are rationed as well as resources. In a fascist system of monopolistic dystopian control freakery the work of capatalism that started with the enclosures in the english civil war through to the Scottisdh Land Clearances and the Irish Potatoe famine the ELites continue to manipulate and abuse the needs of wider society for their own ends which do appear still to be founded in a strange sort of penis envy Dick Swinging contest. How many peasants did you drive into starvation today oh a couple of Hundred thousand, Kill any Babies or Blow any up, ( And they call themselves masters of the Universe.) A little Light reading on Primitive Accumulation ( Marx is really very good at this stuff) I recommend David Harvey for the roots of this crisis and Perleman for his great book The Invention of Capitalism. Chomsky for deconstructing the Fascist Imperiums rancid narrative.
Toby your insights are greatkly appreciated please jkeep sharing and don't hold back what you have to say is important and we all need to learn from people with your searching for truth attitude unlike this latest fascist bullshit excercise in pseudo thought.

50 thinkers? My arse.
50 false prophets of fascist dictatorship.

Debra said...

Roger, thanks for your comments, BUT...
I am a firm believer in a very complex universe.
That excludes as many forms of binary thinking as I can find. (Binary thinking can be seen at work in the US/THEM structure of exclusion.)
I highly recommend reading, not Marx, who is not my favorite bedfellow (!!!...), but Elisabeth Gaskell, in "North and South" for a nuanced take on the industrial revolution in the Midlands. Everybody GETS FLESHED OUT, even those much vilified capitalist OWNERS, and finger pointing becomes much harder to do.

Debra said...

As for penis envy...
I like this one a lot. Odd that you would bring this subject up, AS PENIS ENVY IS A PHENOMENON ATTRIBUTED TO WOMEN, not to the capitalistic owner's class. WHY SHOULD A MAN WITH A BIG DICK ENVY ANYBODY ELSE'S DICK ??
But a woman...
As it turns out, I happen to hold the extremely unpopular position that PENIS ENVY (i.e. rampant egalitarianism to be found in women's desire TO HAVE BIG DICKS), is a major problem in our society.
So many people wanting to have big dicks..
It's like we say in France : TOO MANY CHIEFS, NOT ENOUGH INDIANS.
But this observation gets skewed by the daily observation of the epidemic of voluntary servitude at work in our society..
How to account for the duality of penis envy and voluntary servitude ??
It's tough.

RogerGLewis said...

Hi Debra I'll take a look at Gaskell thanks for the recommendation. I am a very big fan of John Ruskin also maybe he too is too Binary for your sensibilities.
Theres not much complexity in understanding the current Fascist Regime its pretty straightforward conform or be destroyed. I also believe in an infinite and natural universe which we barely comprehend and barely know exists we ascribe to ourselves and humanity altogether to much significance in that wonder context. Meanwhile I do rather take exception to the present Hegemonic tyranny sure I might be a part of the whole mess and all of that surely problems and causes have to be identified to seek solutions?
Whats your answer to Tobys Infinity question ? is it a Number? it can't even be all numbers because with Infinity there can not be an everything.

Toby said...

Let's re-enchant! I always tell my kids that everything is a miracle, that everything is god.

As to democracy and the market as democratic process that is in fact the neoliberal position. They start with multiple untenable assumptions, one of which is that money is 'value free,' that it is impartial, amoral, blind, organic, etc. So they don't look at it any more deeply than that. Then their position is that the process of price discovery is 'democratic.' But they ignore power. And they ignore the combustible combination of power and private property, and Law, and dynasty, and state, etc., etc., etc. And that scarcity is not in fact a universal condition, but is in fact a perception. Not that perception is something that can be brushed aside of course...

Can money be democratic? I believe so, but certainly not in its current form. Indeed, should we manage to create a democratic money, one that is created directly by economic work for example, that decays and therefore does not grow of itself, but only as a direct response to trade, I imagine we might then have the kind of democratic market the neloliberals describe. However, much else would have to change for this to be possible/workable, for us to want such a system, it understand it, to be able to live alongside or within it 'harmoniously'. That is, there needs to be a change of consciousness too (not first, but "too").

But it is this "much else" which keeps me very flexible in my thinking, or in my expectations. Can we scale direct democracy up to avoid the tyranny of the majority? Can that actually work? If not--and we certainly cannot insist that it will--then there are two are other options I see (which aren't fascism/state communism). One is a moneyless resource-based economy with all the bells and whistles, which would not be democratic in a state/political sense, but rather at the level of very local organization; or, on the other hand, what I think of a primitivism. Back to the jungle, so to speak.

I doubt the primitive outcome very strongly, because we have acquired too much 'wisdom' these last few millennia, which can't just be unlearned. And the resource-based economy outcome requires such a shift in thinking I just don't see it happening. Hence merely the effort to create a democratic money system, and all the other work that effort and experimentation would entail, is the way to go. It would change our attitude to property too, but that's the subject of another post, coming soon. Money and property are deeply intertwined. Indeed, I suspect they are Siamese twins, much like market and state.

Ah, the oneness of it all.

RogerGLewis said...

Men suffer from Penis envy just as much as any woman ever did theres a saying In Sweden Big Car Small Dick.
Ego is the enemy of rational and compassionate thought many men are fixated however grand and sophisticated they may seem with whats below the Belt
the Human Ape is very much like the Baboon in that sense with respect to his primeval responses to hierarchical structures and constructs. Fascism is really rather a butch credo.

Toby said...

Thanks Roger.

I agree, the dick swinging contest stupidity has bedeviled humanity ever since pre-state chieftancies. But then, so have many other issues rooted in ignorance. And ignorance is at the foundation of everything we think we know. Without ignorance we would not strive to know. But where we are now as opposed to back then, at least potentially, is being forced to embrace that ignorance is the sand in the oyster but while also re-learning humility. Easy does it, so to speak. There's no need for the rat race, yesterday deadlines, growth Growth GROWTH nonsense, all of it riven with quasi-sociopathic and fully sociopathic 'experts' and 'elites' and high priests 'owning' knowledge and access to it. Ignorance is our saviour in that regard, simply because we're all ignorant in the end. A cliche I know, but a valuable one wielded wisely. (And yes, my comment is a kind of contradiction. But in a good way (hopefully).)

Toby said...

There's great strength in honest vulnerability. (Add-on to my most recent comment.)

Debra said...

I am sticking up this neat link, for once... ;-)

Hope it works.. check out the two comments. The one on top is mine (that's not my fault, that's open democracy... ;-) ) The below comment (not mine) is EXCELLENT, and very thought provoking, in my opinion.

Really, I don't have a problem with men having BIG DICKS (or even not big dicks...) what I have a problem with is EVERYBODY wanting to have/having a big dick... looks like some of us are not slaving away for filthy lucre here...
That's in another ballpark.

Debra said...

To the extent that infinity is one of the ATTRIBUTES of God, I seem to remember, infinity CAN NOT BE A NUMBER.
Because, a number is necessarily finite.
Anything you can COUNT, you can put.. BEHIND A BARRIER, or into an enclosure of some sorts...

Toby said...

Wonder article, wonderful woman, thought provoking comments (though I'm not for annihilating humanity through nuclear, if I've read the commenter's concluding paragraph correctly). Thanks for the link, Debbie.

Toby said...

I am not a mathematician, so my thoughts on the concept infinity are to be taken with that in mind.

Infinity is a number in the same way that ugliness is beautiful. We understand infinity as a not-number, number's inverted shadow, receding forever, positively or negatively, to go beyond all possible imagination. Yet it is number which lends us our concept of infinity, paints the scenery which gives infinity its backdrop, its context. Like "zero" I guess, which is as odd a concept as debt, but numbers help us 'understand.'

I am also not religious. But, to say infinity is an attribute of god, and to imply thereby that finite numbers are not, would be a contradiction, to fall into the trap you are seeking to avoid; Separation. For then there would be by definition Not-god, which is an impossibility in my view. If god is literally everything, as in "Universe", then god is also 'finity', includes enclosures, numbers, pettiness, greed etc. There is nothing which is not god. Numbers included. Humans too and all we do.

I came up with this little expression in German on Sunday while we were discussing a poem my daughter was to write for a school assignment:

Die Natur ist eine Einheit voller Einzelheiten.

Sounds nicely fluid in German, but I know most of you guys don't read German so I'll have to spew it out in English too:

"Nature is unity full of details." Einheit means oneness. Einzelheit means, in a way, uniqueness, or particularity. I like that German reveals that lexical connection. Out of unity comes particularity. Particularity engenders unity. I don't think it can be any other way.

Debra said...

Lol, Toby, you sound like more of a structural linguist than I do...
I think that if we hauled out those dictionaries : English, German, French, etc, we would find that the word "one" is very polysemic, and includes the idea of "unique" AT THE SAME TIME as it does "unity".
Is this why Tocqueville talked about the sullen masses under democracy ?
The more you string out the individual towards "unique", the more the OPPOSITE, "masses" is simultaneously present ?
I have been thinking about this in terms of how to create community, in other words, WHAT WILL FEDERATE PEOPLE INTO A COMMUNITY.
The larger the structures that we federate people into (globalization, for example), the MORE UNIVERSAL we make our federating ideas, perhaps the MORE we will exacerbate the isolated "unique" individual AT THE SAME TIME that that individual is part of the sullen masses ? (the anthill mentality ?)
In any case, I think that small, local PROJECTS with limited goals are perhaps easiest to give people a sense of community with their flesh and blood neighbor, and in my book, this is what we are missing.

Debra said...

The more I think, the more I observe, the more I am convinced that THE PLACE where the hurt is, is in our DAILY LIVES, and in our relationships with our neighbors IN THEM.
That means that the biggest revolution really needs to start with the UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL, and can really be as simple as... smiling, and saying a friendly hello in the street.
A revolution from THE BOTTOM UP, and outside of the grasp of ANY FORMAL INSTITUTION...

Toby said...

Well, Debbie, you are one of my teachers!

Anthill. There's a book out called "Honeybee Democracy" which is about the direct democracy used by bees. They are not at all anthill like, and the queen does what she's told by the democratic processes of the other bees. Here's a link. So, until I'm an expert on ants, I not going to assume that totalitarianism exists in nature except as attempted by humans and paternalism. We can project all we want. We remain ignorant and nature is diverse.

So, how do we scale direct democracy up? We learn from the rest of nature. And that takes time.

Toby said...

Yes, I agree that this 'starts' with the (so-called) individual. But I would add that the ideas and wisdom to begin change at the level of individual consciousnesses are 'out there' already in our cultural lexicon. The change is underway, is being resisted, is tender and fragile, but it is and can only be a group or collective phenomenon simply because nothing makes sense in isolation.

Toby said...

Oops, forgot the link to "Honeybee Democracy":

Debra said...

I read the review, the book looks interesting.
Maybe I am wrong about the ants..
Maybe there is more individuality in the ants than I am giving them credit for ?
I nevertheless fear that in a democratic society like the bees'/ants', I would be discarded as... "useless".
Do bees paint paintings on cave walls ?
Do they do USELESS things ??
If you watch "The Queen", you will see just how much power royalty REALLY HAS (compared to what we imagine it has...), and where that power comes from : the people.
Just like.. THE BEES...
Funny that we can't manage to see that...

Toby said...

I have that fear too. But 'useless' is not an absolute. There's no waste in nature. Paintings on walls are useless to the insects that crawl over them, but not to those humans who derive pleasure from them somehow. Money is a crap measure of value. We need a better system for enjoying each other's output, creativity, oddness, beauty, ugliness, etc. I believe we can put such a system together, but I also believe we can even fail to begin to try.

With honey bees the queen has no power. She's just an egg factory. Human queens on the other hand...

Debra said...

Funny, your last comment, Toby.
It reminds me of a discussion I had with one of my friends, of Catholic origin, about the incredible dissension between Catholics and Protestants on the subject of the status of Mary.
She had had a heated discussion with a Protestant woman about Mary.
The Protestant woman was shocked and scandalized that Mary had SO MUCH POWER in Catholic tradition, and that in the Protestant view, this power detracted and SUBTRACTED from Jesus' power.
And my Catholic friend retorted to her... "well, YOU want to make Mary into some kind of surrogate mother/egg carryer.
There's your QUEEN BEE debate, heh ?

Toby said...

That's a weirdly funny and mildly disturbing association. You should make movies. I not sure if that one would get made, but I'd pay money to see it! Titles?

Mary, Untouched Honey-Queen of God
Jesus Hive Superstar
The Jesus and Mary Comb
Honey Trinity

Debra said...

LOL. ;-)

RogerGLewis said...

Hi Toby,
I was having trouble sleeping and got to thinking about Markets and how God Like they are now treated . I Started the other day to write a poem based upon Paulo frieres Last work and the mango Tree Analogies. Pedagogy and Demagoguery I thought I'd take a look at my notes from the other day and also Googled Markets as a Jealous God and number one was a link back to this Blog of yours which I have re read will re read and also all of the comments.

It occurs to me that it isn't the Money that is the god so much as the Market going back to the idea of infinity and its counterpart the oneness and universality it is the Market that is God and the money is a token or sign maybe one of Debra's deities.
I have not seen a comment from you over at Golem xiv for a while I was going to head over there now. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Toby said...

That's right. Money is a veneer on a deeper perception, which is Separation I believe (as Charles Eisenstein point out). However, Separation is not an everyday symbol of control as money is, and is far harder to deify for that reason. As for the deification of markets, I would assert that's a level above money, a smoke screen over a smoke screen, although I agree with your point about infinity, which I understand as Perpetual Growth. The problem with Markets is that there is always exchange taking place, and value judgments being made, with or without money. We're exchanging ideas here, now, in a market called the blogosphere, which is a market subset of the internet, which is a subset of culture, which is a subset of humanity, and so on. The deification of The Market is a ruse to make it seem like money is democratic. Markets are democratic, but we can't enjoy the best they have to offer until we wise up and design a better money system, which can't happen until we wise up and begin building an alternate system.

And so on.

I'm not visiting other blogs to comment at the moment because I'm working at my teaching qualification, my writing, and trying to be a better father and husband. And getting enough sleep! It's quite a full plate.

RogerGLewis said...

On your writing I have just been reading your 'is money the problem essay'

opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you (Tangled up in Blue , Bob Dylan.)

came to mind probably my favourite verse in any song.

Keep the home fires burning

Toby said...

Thanks man, that really means a lot to me. I love that song.

As to Dylan, don't you think Idiot Wind is the best song for the period of our history?

"I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes
don’t look into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the
building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the
springtime turned
Slowly into Autumn

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves"