Monday, January 24, 2011

The Way Of The Gift

Suppose you were given a gift, something that couldn't be depleted but would actually be increased or become more valuable each time it was used? Would you think it reasonable or just to demand compensation for the sharing of that gift? I'd say not. If any compensation is required, it is owed by, not to, the gift's recipient.

People with unusual talent are called "gifted", and that is exactly what they are: gifted. And yet talented people are taught to expect compensation. The more valuable their gift, the more compensation is demanded. This is very backwards. If talent had not been given to you, you couldn't earn it or buy it. It isn't evenly or fairly distributed. If you have it, you didn't do anything in advance to deserve it. The only way you could make yourself worthy of such a gift would be to share it as generously as possible. In short, the more you have been given, the more you should give.

Not only are gifted people conditioned to expect superfluous rewards, but those who are not gifted are penalised for their lack, as if they'd had some say in it. They're pretty much told, "Sorry buddy. You got passed over in the talent lottery, so now you've got to suck it up and pay a penalty for what you weren't given." It shouldn't be hard to see how this reversal of reason might lead to unnecessary scarcity. How would it be if we turned it around? If we all started giving as much as we could, instead of taking as much as we could, no one would want for anything. It would be a lot like a pot luck feast. I've been to several of those, and not a single one where there wasn't enough food. Even if some guests don't bring anything, it's always more than enough, and the host ends up wondering what to do with all the left-overs. Not only that, but the quality of the dishes is usually very high, since most people will bring what they do best.

I've heard a number of people complain that they participated in a gift economy and it failed because the contributions of those involved were unequal. It wasn't the unequal contributions that made it fail; it was the score-keeping. Gift economies don't work with score-keeping. Those who have more, give more: those who have less, give less. It is important to remember that the "more" that you have to give was itself a gift. Every valuable quality you possess was given to you, either by nature or circumstance. Keeping score is meaningless, harmful and petty. It's a poverty mind-set. If universal abundance is what we want, we have to let go of the compusion to keep score. (And yes, that does mean abolishing everybody's favorite score-keeping tool: money.) What is wealth really, if not the ability to give more than you take? Nature gives everything and asks for nothing. Is she poor?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love Me, Love My World

I was having lunch with my mother recently, and I was trying to explain to her how the control system operates and expose the criminal and unnecessary harm it does. When I'm talking to people who get all their information about the world from television, I present evidence that comes from mainstream sources such as Reuters or AP because they can't dismiss those sources as "Internet conspiracy theories". I thought I was starting to get through when she changed the subject. "Do you lose sleep over this stuff?", she said. "Yes. Some days I can't stop crying.", I replied. To which she responded, "Why do you let it upset you so much?" What sort of a question is that? It upsets me for the same reason that my being upset bothers her. If more of us let the crimes of the control system upset us, wouldn't we demand that it stop? How the hell did we become so morally insane that millions of our fellow humans being impoverished, enslaved, poisoned, and blown to bits is not a problem but being upset by it is?

What would you think of your doctor if every time you saw him about pain in your body, he simply wrote you a prescription for pain-killers and sent you home? What if he told you that there was no need to set a bone or treat an infection so long as the pain was gone? If you had any sense, you'd report him for malpractice and find another doctor. Pain isn't an illness; it's not a dysfunction; it's your body's way of letting you know that something is wrong. There is a very rare condition called congenital analgesia and it is extremely dangerous. Those who have this disorder can't feel pain. As a result, they may sustain life-threatening injuries and infections without noticing. Fortunately, most of us realise that physical pain is important, necessary, and perilous to ignore.

For some reason, emotional pain is not treated with the same respect. If you go to your doctor and tell him that you are in emotional pain, he will write you a prescription for an emotional pain-killer and send you home. Most psychiatrists apparently believe that emotional pain serves no purpose and that it's causes can be safely ignored. They will tell you in all seriousness that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. WTF!? That's the same as saying that physical pain is caused by electrical signals sent from nerve endings. Such an "explanation" takes no account of the injury that prompted the nerve endings to send the message. Chemical imbalance isn't a cause, it's a mechanism.

 Antidepressants were one of the worst inventions of all time. They are so widely used that everybody knows somebody who is taking them. And we are asked to believe that what we're seeing is an epidemic of chemical imbalance that has nothing to do with real world conditions. It's a brave new world, baby. Pretty soon we'll be free of unpleasant emotions altogether. Scientists are close to developing a vaccine for stress. Sounds great, doesn't it? Soon we'll be able to live utterly inauthentic and meaningless lives in nearly unlimited squalor and it won't bother us a bit. There'll be no need for TPTB to lie about their crimes anymore because we just won't care. And imagine the military applications; TPTB have.

 We need our emotions, all of them. We would lose our humanity without them. They are our moral compass. We need to be able to feel emotional pain. It lets us know that something is wrong and requires healing. There is a very rare condition called psychopathy and it is extremely dangerous. Those who have this disorder cannot feel emotional pain. As a result, they may inflict serious injury on others without emotional consequences. Is that really what we want for ourselves? Will we really trade empathy for comfort? I can only speak for myself, but my answer is NO! I don't care if I'm the only one, it's still NO! I understand that if empathy goes, love goes with it. Love is too valuable to lose, no matter what it costs. Love is worth more than life itself, because life isn't worth shit without love.

I wish people would stop saying or insinuating that there's something wrong with me because I feel this way. I'm not the one who is emotionally crippled. I am simultaneously aware of a higher metaphysical reality in which all is as it must be, but I arrived at that perspective through accepting the importance of all my experience, including the painful parts. It's a contradiction to say that "everything is perfect as it is", and then deny your authentic emotions their (perfect) place. Telling sensitive, empathic people that they shouldn't let the suffering of others bother them is invalidating. It adds injury to injury. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Many, if not most, of the people who read this blog know exactly what I'm talking about. I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. Your willingness to feel isn't weakness; it is strength. The world needs you just as you are. And I want to thank you for it from the bottom of my heart.
In Lak'ech.