“... The danger has always been that the rituals, the static patterns are mistaken for what they merely represent and are allowed to destroy the Dynamic Quality they were originally intended to preserve ...”
Robert Pirsig

Lila

On Demurrage (negative interest) – Reply to Albert Wenger

n

This post is a long comment on Albert Wenger’s post about Money as Commons (and if both our sites were powered with IndieWeb abilities then I would have been able to comment on his site and have the comment automatically posted in my own site).

Demurrage in Nature – Decay

If I was a grain farmer and I was left with unused / unsold stocks it would be a natural imperative for me to find something to do with the grains because they will eventually spoil. This is the natural state of everything. Plants, animals, people, buildings, societies, radioactive materials, ideas … everything decays.

Flow needs Debt (not money)

If I were that farmer with spare grains, instead of waiting for them to spoil I could, for example, bake breads. But there is only so much bread I can eat, so I could give that bread to my friends and family and sometime in the future, they could repay me with something they have and I need. There would be a standing debt between us.

Modern economics is founded on a story. It says that originally one farmer traded with another farmer 30 chickens for a cow. Introducing money supposedly made that transaction easier because sometimes a cow farmer needed a chicken without having a spare cow to trade.

According to David Graeber in Debt: The First 5000 years, this narrative is false and unsupported by anthropological findings. Ancient transactions, he suggests, were rarely so definite and atomic when I had spare grains (in summer or fall) I gave some to my neighbor to feed his pig and later in the year (in winter) when he butchered the pig he could repay me in meat. A key element in this transaction was the debt that remained. That debt was the foundation of a relationship between the two farmers. Such a constant flow of debts created community.

In our modern times, when I walk into a store, pick up and item and pay a cashier for it, the transaction is completed. I do not owe anybody anything and nobody owes me anything … and we’ve gotten used to that … and we like it. But with that we also lose the social fabric that connects us. We don’t owe anybody anything and nobody owes us anything. We do not need to relate.

It is interesting to note that dominant and popular technologies are in alignment with this trend. If the interaction with a cashier is low on the “relationship” scale then what will an Amazonian future (with no cashier or drones descending with produce out of the sky) look like? It seems that the more standardized/efficient/automated we get the more relationship we drain out of our lives and consciousness.

Money Defies Decay

All money (as we currently know it) is created carrying interest (the interest itself not created!). Interest demand growth. If I get a loan for $1000, it is because who ever is loaning me that money expects me to pay back $1050 … and we have the growth imperative. But more importantly, we have created money that opposes decay … and as money intermediates almost everything … there is an inherent conflict between how money works and how everything else works … and so we find ourselves living in a world where money requires infinite growth from a physically finite world (see climate change).

We’ve been forcing our money ideology onto the world for some time now, but the world seems to be pushing back … and interest rates around the world are hovering around zero (and growth seems to be headed in a similar direction).

Obstacles Preventing Flow

It seems to me that the way negative interest is currently being introduced is as an external force applied to a system that isn’t flowing well. It is like attaching a powerful pump to a o clogged system and hoping that, by sheer force, it will unclog the system and cause flow.

This approach seems to be denying that, if to use the metaphor of flow, there are obstacles that are preventing flow – these obstacles are like entangled and knotted arteries. Their entanglement is locked in tightly because they are holding up against massive pressures already. To enable better flow the obstacles to flow must be removed (or at least improved). Applying more pressure will not remove the obstacles, but force the flow to find other bypasses … or to rupture.

It may very well be that some of the obstacles to good money flow are in our money creation and banking systems. But there are subtle (can be easy to overlook) obstacles embedded inside each and every one of us. It isn’t gong to be enough to change the mechanics of money (such as negative interest). We are also going to have to address personal and social change. If we are to experience flow again we will need to reconnect with each other, to experience relationships, to relearn community.

If we come at this with a forceful mechanistic approach (the illusion that this is a system which we can control by pushing some buttons). If we focus on changing one thing (such as negative interest) we will be doing ourselves a double-injustice. The first is simple and direct – it won’t work, it won’t produce the results we expect it to. The second is is more subtle, more deep and more dangerous … we will falsely conclude that “negative interest” does not work and recovering from that will be even more difficult.

What about Venture Capital

I raise this point as a question/reflection to Albert because I believe that if we are to truly relate to these changes (as more than theoretical ideas) we need to look closely at our own reality and see where they effect our lives, our work, our livelihood, our beliefs.

  • How do the current models of venture capital relate to all this?
  • What aspects of venture capital are aligned with flow and what aspects are aligned with the extractive nature of interest-bearing-money?
  • Can venture capital be of better service and better aligned with economies and societies of flow

 

Posted in AltEco, Business, Community, Intake, Money, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Has the IMF realized austerity doesn’t work?

n

“Sometimes an ideology is so brilliantly propagated that observers might not even notice it’s an ideology. In the corridors of power and in mainstream discussion, it ceases to be questioned. Then it goes catastrophically wrong. And it begins to seen again for the ideology it is. It becomes questioned again. And, if they are smart, leaders hear this and start to self-correct. This is where we’ve got to with neoliberalism, austerity, and rising inequality. Except for the self-correct part. Right now, instead of self-correction, we’re seeing many mainstream politicians unable to shift away from dead economics, and what seems in too many countries like the start of social breakdown. Change is well overdue. Who can prompt leaders to drop the old economic nostrums that are causing so much harm?

Enter the IMF with a sledgehammer … Today the IMF will launch a new report … Packed with detailed quantitative analysis it demonstrates that much of what elites have been advancing as unquestioned economics is demonstrably harmful both to economic growth and to public wellbeing …

Lives and livelihoods are being lost because those who design policies are following a damaging model. And now, in countries around the world, the lack of action in inequality is leading to a resurgence of xenophobic nationalism and the far right. Broken economics is breaking society. But too many leaders still seem trapped in the belief that there is no alternative. So let them know that today the IMF – yes, the IMF – has comprehensively set out why that broken economics must be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

source

Posted in AltEco, Intellect Run Amok, Money, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Lecture Summary of Samkhya Philosophy

n

I came across this PDF which is someone’s lecture notes on Samkhya.

I don’t know who wrote it, I found it here, I found it good enough to read through and store in my own archives.

I am still looking for a more integrative experience of Samkhya, something less bullet-list, more whole story.

Posted in Samkhya Karika, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Life goes on … even under Stalin

n

Good reminder now that Trump is …

source

Posted in Intake, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

My Periodontitis … and Trump!?

n

For years my Israeli dentist has treated me for Periodontitis – a gum disease. The disease, as he explained to me is not curable, only manageable and could be hereditary (my mother also has it). The treatment involved a yearly cleaning called “deep-scale” which means getting in and cleaning the spaces between the gums and the teeth. Because my gums are sensitive it can only be done with local anesthesia. My Israeli dentist is a friend and a deeply caring person and yet the treatment is not a pleasant one.

After moving to Romania I kept up the treatment during my almost-yearly visits to Israel because I did not find a Romanian dentist to carry on the treatment. Until last year, through Iulia, I finally did meet one. I explained the situation to him and he agreed that periodontitis is indeed not curable, only manageable. However he did not agree that I have it. In fact, he said that my gums were perfectly healthy.

I am guessing that many people have experienced differing opinions when consulting with different doctors. But such complete contradiction? Now add to that my personal experience. For years, both in Israel and Romania, I felt that the sensitivity of my gums was related to my general sense of well-being. When I wasn’t feeling well (emotionally, energetically, physically) my gums tended to bleed more. When I was feeling better my gums bled lss (or did not bleed at all). In my recent years in Romania (which implies drastic changes in lifestyle) my gums stopped bleeding.

Lets make things more interesting … I just came back from a short (one week) visit to Israel. It was a purposeful visit (around Yoga studies) and while there I was in a relatively safe and predictable bubble. Yet it was a difficult visit for me. There is a lot of disturbance in the air … a volatile energy … a lot of anger, frustration, difficulty, negativity. I had numerous head-aches. I felt drained and tired a lot of the time. My stomach was bloated …. and … my gums started bleeding again. I didn’t visit my Israeli dentist this time … but if I did would he have again diagnosed me with Periodontitis?

What does this say about our modalities of thinking? What does it say about empirical science (both dentists are trained in similar empirical sciences)? What does it say about our understanding of disease and illness AND treatment and healing? What does it say about our ability to diagnose and predict? What does it say about our understanding of contexts and conditions?? What does it say about thought as an act of creation – did I have an “incurable disease” because my dentist believed I did and convinced me of it?

What do we really know? … and most importantly (and brings us to Trump) … what don’t we know? …. unknowns …

“The world comes to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would like to think all fit together somehow, but that in fact never do. There are always some pieces like platypi that don’t fit … we can ignore [them] … give them silly explanations … or we can take the whole puzzle apart and try other ways of assembling it that will include more of them”

Robert Pirsig – Lila: An Inquiry into Values

Most of what I’ve seen about trump is reactionary and prophetic. Whether from conservative or progressive thinking … on almost any subject … people seem to be craving a way to predict what is going to happen. In that approach is a subtle trap … people are assuming that we are acting primarily in a mechanistic world of knowns … that if we identify and measure all the parameters and put them into some kind of black box it will yield a result (I’m just realizing how this seems to coincide with the rise of AI). This thinking, by definition, does not take into consideration unknowns.

I believe that unknowns are present almost all the time and that they have a bigger role in the unfolding of our world then we give them credit for (primarily because our mental models are not trained to handle unknowns). But now is a special time … knows are declining and unknowns are rising. And yet we forget to take them into consideration (how to approach this is beyond the scope of this post … but I would point in the direction of spiritual practices and creative arts in which unknowns are a key ingredient).

My life in recent years has gifted me a fair share of unknowns, so I have become slightly more accustomed to them. But these days I find myself almost seeking unknowns. When I look at the world through what is known the world looks sad and grim. But when I remember that there are so many unknowns in the air … then the world looks more … unknown … and less grim.

I thought that I was living in a world where Periodontitis can’t be cured and Trump could not become president. “Unknown” doesn’t mean we live in a world where Periodontitis can be cured and Trump can be … undone.

Unknown means that we don’t really know what Periodontitis is nor what a world with a president Trump looks like. It means there are possibilities we can’t imagine yet … let alone comprehend. This makes me feel lighter, softer and more spacious.

P.S.

I would like to say something about conditions. We of a western mentality tend to believe we can assert an extensive degree of control over the world. I, in reflecting on my life experiences of recent years, have come to believe that while I may be able to assert some control, I have much less of it then I would have liked to believe. I have wrestled with and come around to embracing the idea that the conditions in which I am immersed have much more effect on me than do my own actions. The upside of that is that I focus most of my energy and actions on changing my living conditions! I believe that the changed conditions of both being away from Israel (and all that that implies) and being here in Romanian ( and *oh my god* everything that that implies) was key to changes that, amongst other things, manifested as heathy gums.

I believe time will tell a similar story about Trump. I believe that president Trump is much less significant then the conditions of the society he is presiding over. Individual healthy, economy, ecology, social fabric, international relations, militarization … all these and more are issues that matter much more.

 

Posted in About, Expanding, inside, Myself | You are welcome to add your comment