by Susana Piohtee
This article is intended to place the topic of monetary reform within a wider context, and to uncover some spiritual and psychological root causes of a cultural status quo that embraces – celebrates even – an economy fuelled by debt and human distress.
Between us we have the power to transform this senseless Life-threatening scenario into one that supports and enhances all Life on this planet.
In recent years our socio-economic system, and the high-profile role of money within it, has been challenged by groups and individuals who have awakened to its insanity and seen it for what it is; a peculiarly human dis-ease: the conscience-less self-destruction of a species that possesses the gift of consciousness.
Some years ago, during a period of ‘unemployment’, and as part of an unsuccessful attempt to set up my own business, I ran a series of workshops designed to explore the meaning of ‘good’ business.
It was a fascinating exercise. Most of the participants acknowledged the overall benefits of ethical business practise, yet they failed to see the inherent contradiction contained within the belief that ‘developing a competitive edge is crucial to commercial survival’.
Neither did they perceive of their business activities as truly ‘successful’ unless making a profit above and beyond that needed to sustain its optimal functioning.
My own suggestion that the only valid definition of ‘good business’ is “business that produces or distributes ‘good'” was, needless to say, considered the upshot of the quirky idealism of someone whose head was ‘in the clouds’.
It was only when I came across the writings of James Gibb Stuart that I began to feel less alone in my thinking.
For some time now, enlightened thinkers have combined inspiration with common sense and used their creativity to both draw public attention to the lamentable state of our economic affairs and to initiated potential remedies for the dis-ease. That this on-going work is slowly acquiring enough momentum to gain public notice is a real achievement.
However, if any of the ‘remedies’ are to prevent our tomorrows from being anything but a variation of our yesterdays, we must also begin to talk ’causes’ publicly.
The very valid questions now being posed about the structures and outcomes of our economic system will have to be complimented by more intimate questions about the nature of our values and our fundamental beliefs concerning the very purpose of human existence.
It is, ultimately, these beliefs, often unconscious, that determine our attitudes towards money – or any other exchange mechanism with which we might replace it – and our economy as a whole.
Any changes in the external, physical world brought about by monetary reform and/or alternative currency systems must be accompanied by inner transformation within the hearts and minds of a much wider public, than is presently the case.
For this transformation to come about, a profound shift in consciousness is required to think very differently, not just about the purpose of ‘money’, but also about the purpose of our individual lives in relation to the whole.
OUR CREATIVE POTENTIAL
As human beings we have such creative potential – way beyond our wildest dreams – yet most of us have not yet grasped the obvious: the necessity of using this creative potential co-operatively to the benefit of the whole, if we are not to self-destruct.
At the beginning of the 21st century our capacity to ‘care for the world’ has been amply proven; yet our addiction to the separatist ‘mine and yours’, ‘them and us’ thinking, inhibits the desire and thwarts the will to manifest this capacity.
This new way of thinking will take courage because it can only start by asking ourselves some tough questions, such as:
– Do I embrace the status quo in the belief that it really can provide me with the prosperity, peace of mind, acceptance and loving relationships that all human beings yearn for whether they acknowledge it or not? or
– Do I feel a victim of the status quo, forced to acquiesce and collude with a system that I find abhorrent yet feel powerless to change? or
– Do I feel enslaved by my beliefs?
Today’s increasingly litigious culture is conditioning us never to admit fault, but to place responsibility upon someone else.
Consequently we feel an understandable, though pointless, need to blame others – the banks, the global corporations, the Government, fat-cat CEOs, ‘bad’ countries, ‘terrorists’, the boss, the neighbour, the ‘other half’ – for the pickle we find ourselves in.
However, the act of blaming another not only exacerbates the ‘them and us’ thinking that has produced ‘haves and have-nots’ in the first place; it also diminishes our ability to bring about change, by its subliminal implication of powerlessness.
Conversely, accepting responsibility for contributing to the way something is, is an act of power, enabling us to take responsibility for initiating desired change.
But we have to desire the change! To desire change we have first to see through the core beliefs that have produced the myth that ‘money is scarce and without it nothing worthwhile can happen’.
So what are the fundamental beliefs that have enslaved us into this perversity of behaviour?
It is my contention that they are beliefs stemming from spiritual poverty, bankruptcy even, a ‘soulless’ existence, the symptoms of which are nagging feelings of always lacking something essential to our happiness, of ‘being incomplete’.
Such feelings have led us into disproportionately valuing that which is inherently valueless – money and its attendant consumer trappings – in the hope that ‘lotsa-money’ will make us feel whole.
What has actually happened is the perpetuating of a self-fulfilling prophesy that ‘money’, rather than the wise, compassionate and logical use of human intelligence and the Earth’s abundant resources, is required to unlock the door to prosperity.
Our credulity in the ‘power of money’ would be touching if it were not so dangerous.
So, what are the core beliefs about the purpose of our existence which imprison us in a state of spiritual poverty?
Maybe metaphor is useful here. Which of the following do we think best reflects the life of a human being:
– a bit of dust in the wind, blown meaninglessly hither and thither at the behest of a hostile gale; or
– a cancerous cell that is out of control, growing and growing and gobbling up all around it until it has eaten up the very source of its existence;
– the Life-form within a chrysalis that is being prepared and nurtured to emerge as a new and beautiful creature; or
– an individual strand that is being worked into a weaving of immense and glorious cosmic dimensions.
Our values and attitudes will be very different depending upon which of the metaphors we believe best illustrate the human state.
Identification with the first two metaphors will result in feelings of fear and powerlessness, so that notions of security, belonging and self-worth will be linked to ‘competing to win’, to grabbing hold of, and hanging on to, material wealth.
Identification with the second two metaphors allows for feelings of trust and wonder at being a contributing part of a ‘long term Divine plan’ in which our ‘Earth experience’ offers the opportunity for co-operating in the unfolding of a much greater evolutionary plan for humanity as a whole.
In economic terms, choosing to participate in a greater evolutionary plan would mean using our intelligence to devise systems that harness the exhilaration of competition to the purpose of co-operation – the two are not mutually exclusive.
Within such a system, ‘money’ would become just one of a variety of ‘facilitator currencies’ that would ‘continuously flow’ to wherever required in order to set in motion, and sustain, activities of genuine benefit to humanity and the planet.
LISTENING TO THE INNER AUTHORITY
Many of us shy away from examining how our core beliefs impact upon the economic status quo.
As soon as we begin to look closely we detect that the consequences of an examination might propel us way beyond our present comfort zone.
If we genuinely desire to prevent this human disease of self-destruction-by-insanity coming to fruition we must apply the remedy.
We have to locate within us the courage and commitment to do the personal work that will switch our allegiance from ‘outer’ authority to ‘inner’ authority.
Paradoxically, our desire to be in control is equalled by the comfort that most of us find in being told what to do. Consequently it is much easier to hear and trust the loud declarations and assertions of a multitude of external authorities – the teacher, the professional, the consultant, the ‘expert’ – than it is to hear and trust the quiet voice of inner authority.
Yet it is only by listening to this inner authority – the spirit or soul voice – that we will be able to move beyond this insanity of self-destruction into the peace to desire.
To continue to give credence to the ranks of ‘experts’ – devoid of common sense – who promote continuous economic growth as the only way ahead, is to maintain the status quo, enabling the few money-rich bullies of our world to continue to threaten, intimidate and cajole the money-poor majority into playing the destructive games of market forces and winner takes all.
However, once we become conscious of the ‘innocent child within’ – who, as illustrated in The Emperor’s New Clothes, has the ability to distinguish what is real and what is not real – we begin to see the money myth for the distortion of truth that it is.
Making contact with this childlike aspect of our selves is one of the keys to transformation. It is a part of us, living absolutely in the present, and full of wonder and joy at ‘what is’.
It has been our inattention to this inner voice of true conscience that has resulted in economic competition lurking like a malignant spider at the centre of a poisonous economic philosophy, whose web has successfully trapped countless unconscious millions into lives of stress, anxiety and fear.
OUR CHOICE: LOVE OR FEAR
Fear is what underpins this concept of brutal economic competition; stemming from a belief in ‘separateness’ and ‘scarcity’ in which survival is dependent upon taking something from or defeating another.
It consists of cycles of ‘attack and defend’ behaviours in which ‘others’ are perceived as dangerous, the enemy to be excluded and protected against. It produces short-term highs of exhilaration at the triumph of winning yet is accompanied by constant stress and anxiety.
The concept of co-operation, however, is underpinned by Love; stemming from a belief in unity and abundance, in which survival is assured by sharing.
Co-operative behaviour consists of cycles of giving and receiving in which others are experienced as beneficent, a part of self to be included and cared for. It produces peace of mind, fulfilment and deliverance from fear.
MONEY AS TRUE WELL’TH
So to conclude where we started, with money: Money can be good, as can any other mechanism for exchange; but only when used to fulfil the purpose of bringing about good.
To do this, it must be able to flow freely to wherever it is needed to alleviate suffering and hardship, and to bring prosperity and genuine well’th – as against false ‘wealth’.
It cannot fulfil this purpose whilst being used to line the pockets of the few at the expense of the many.
It cannot fulfil this purpose whilst being used to self-multiply through global money markets without contributing anything of real value to the world.
It cannot fulfil this purpose whilst being used to compound ignorance and fuel the flames of fear and hate.
Each one of us has, in our individual ways and as a result of our beliefs, allowed and even encouraged the establishment of this insane Life-threatening economic system.
Each one of us has the power of transformation within us.