In re-reading this article I have found it difficult to understand what exactly it is that I was trying to get at, It certainly is not one of my better efforts, but if it is read as a collection of general thoughts and observations it may make a little more sense, I do seem to recall that when I was writing it, I was struggling to try and find the thread that tied it all together. Quite possible what I was trying to do here was to remove the religion of money from my thinking. At the end of the day, it was still part of my journey so I will leave it up here. As with all of these articles make of it what you will.
In writing these articles, I feel that it is necessary to state that I write from the point of view of my own experience, knowledge, and understanding, such as it is. Though this the case, certain influences are brought to bear on my thoughts. Many of these influences are featured in the works I have collected in the archive section of this website. It is also necessary to point out that many the of these works have their detractors and these detractors tend to be one of the main influences on the process of thought that becomes these articles. I say this because I do not believe that it is right or correct to claim someone else’s work as your own, however, at the same time, this kind of plagiarism is a natural and often unknowing and unintended consequence of thought. “There is nothing new under the sun”.
The World is a Racket
To be more accurate, the world of human interaction is a racket. The world of human interaction does not exist in our experience without the dynamic of money. The influence of money is the corrupting factor. Money is simply paper with pictures on, we could go into how money is created and fractional reserve banking (see the Zeitgeist trilogy featured in The Archive) but that is not the point of this article and is not required to understand that the only thing which gives money (paper with pictures on) any value at all is faith. Faith placed in the monetary institutions such as banking and government to enforce the value of money and faith placed in the fact that we are told that this paper with pictures on has value and we must strive to obtain it so that we can use it for own purposes not least of all survival.
Survival is the imperative for an increasing amount of people in these times, in order to survive one must be able to pay money. In order to obtain the money to survive, we are constantly asked to do things that we would not be likely to do in any other circumstance. This constant attack can bring about many compromises in both our energy and integrity, it also brings about false ideas about worth, productiveness, happiness, responsibility, gender roles, and many other areas of our inner constitution.
The reason that I say “the world of human interaction is a racket” is that, in order to survive, we must all drink from the same cup, and strive toward the accumulation of money. If I am selling you a product, I may well be aware of a cheaper and better product for your purposes that you can get elsewhere, but if I were to tell you about this item, I risk losing the sale, if selling this product is my living, I am, in effect, taking food out of my own mouth by informing you about this better product. Similarly, if ask for or accept your charity, how can you ever know that I will use the money you gave me, for what I said I needed it for.
Chipping away at each other in these ways is, at the same time, chipping away at ourselves in the sense of our morality. My point is this, How can you be entirely moral when you are forced to survive in a system that is immoral?
You cannot. All you can do is present what you have for the consideration of others and do your best to survive. So, if you have chosen, as your life’s work, the job of researching and circulating alternative information, you must find a way to make pay so that you can survive long enough to do it. This is done, in this field, by selling books, tickets, advertising, dietary supplements, and subscriptions. The other model of monetisation is to go the route of donations.
Both of these methods have their appeals and their flaws but what they both have in common is that they are the imperfect solution to a problem that cannot presently be surmounted, the world is a racket, below a certain amount of wealth the racket is obtaining money, above that amount the racket is the perpetuation of the racket (the maintenance of advantage). One can only judge another person by the correlation of their words and actions based on our own integrity and principles.
The world is a racket for those with below a certain amount of wealth because they must strive, every day, to bring in enough money to survive and for those above that amount of wealth, they must perpetuate the racket to maintain their advantage over those who they hold that advantage.
The Final Push to this Article,
The first part of this article is based on a thought that has been swirling around in my mind for some time now, but what gave me the final push to write this article was a lecture by Manly P. Hall, specifically, Lecture 2 in the Archive. He says that giving does not exist without the giver, meaning that to just give money to something is a hollow action because the “giver” is not giving anything of him or herself, he related this to the charitable giving and a good example of this is when you drop your change in a collection bucket.
How dropping metal and paper in a bucket can be considered giving is quite silly when you think about it. Many times when I have given money in this way it has been because I did not want the hassle of dealing with the odd penny and the charity box was an easier way to dispose of that penny than putting it in my pocket, quite often I have no idea who I have even donated to. Another viewpoint on this is short term feeling of righteousness you can feel when making a slightly bigger donation of money which still does not require you to really give anything, “buying absolution”, you are still relying on someone else to get their hands dirty and you still have no idea what these people are doing with your money. Now, I am not saying that there aren’t sincere motives for charity or that charitable giving does no good at all, I am, however, seeking to demonstrate how the giving of money is a hollow action. There are many examples of the fact that giving someone your time is far more productive than giving them money, such as parenting.
If you have managed to follow my rather kak-handed method of trying to establish an idea that is already pretty well understood, then you will be hoping I get to point pretty soon. The final push that caused my to write this article was the thought that if giving does not exist without the giver, how does this relate to taking payment? Throughout my life many people have called me lazy, If I had a pound for every person that told me that I did not know the value of hard work, I would be a rich man. To be fair I can and have been very lazy at times in my life, but I have also worked extremely hard at other times and often gone way beyond the call of duty. This contradiction in my behaviour has led me to conclude that the only thing I am not prepared to work hard for is money.
Hard work, in my opinion, is work that requires you to give of yourself, If you are not giving of yourself then the work is merely physically or mentally hard and laborious. When you do put yourself into your work, the difficulty takes on the extra dimension of being something which you care about, this can lead you to take criticisms of your work very personally which makes you more inclined to take more time to create the work and spend a great deal more time thinking about the work.
This summation of what constitutes hard work then leads to two further questions:
1. Is work (other than the necessary day to day work of living) that does not fit this summation worth doing at all?
2. Is money an adequate compensation for doing work that does fit this summation.
Your time is your life, what you give your time to, you give your life to, so the context is all important, In the context of wider society the work of a cleaner, for example, is very important but to the individual cleaner, the job is most likely a mundane grind that they only do for money so in general, the answer to the first question is no. There will always be, however, people that do take a pride in their work but it may also be argued that in taking a pride in your work you are putting into it, an element of yourself. This is one of the reasons why I say “in general, no”.
The answer to the second question is more complex because when a person puts him or herself into their work they often find that the work is its own reward both in its fruits and its process. If you were to paint a picture for a commission and you were to invest a great deal of time on this painting, let’s say the painting was challenging for you and you overcame these challenges and produced something that was genuinely good and that you were very happy with. Would “Cheers, here’s your cheque, piss off” be a satisfactory outcome for you? In the short term perhaps, but the abiding feeling from this experience would most likely be that you hated working for someone who didn’t appreciate your efforts regardless of how much they paid.
Money cannot adequately compensate you for this type of work because this type of work is the process of personal growth and is its own compensation. If you have the inclination, you will do this type of work regardless of whether any payment is in the equation.
I suppose what I am talking about, in reality, is the internalised religion of money the idea that things can be bought owned and possessed. When this way of thinking applies to people and their work, you have a recipe for disaster. Money is a reality of life but money is also an idea and as an idea, it is talismanic, bringing with is other ideas such as hierarchy, ownership, and false authority. The work of personal growth cannot be bought with money, it is bought with time and effort so financial payment is every bit as hollow a gesture as the charitable giving of money in the sense that it is, indeed, giving without the giver.
The world is indeed, a racket.