Today’s focus is on enlightened and wise economic exchange. To create a manifesto from the collective wisdom that is shared.
Welcome to all, especially new faces.
Presenter: Evan Steiner: I started my career in the sustainability and environmental space. My inquiry has always been, “what is at the root of the ecological crisis? What’s causing that structurally?” I looked to see if it was business and corporations causing all the issues. I went and worked in the fields of social enterprise impact investment. The kind of business for good space. I saw that it was the same kind of economic ideology, just with a “doing good layer” kind of painted on top. But it still wasn’t getting at some of the deeper structural foundational issues. So, I was looking at the ecological crisis as epiphenomena, as something that’s emerging from a poorly structured economic system. I joined an organization called Whole Person Economy, which looks at the overlap between whole-person development and economics.
An aspect of Whole Person Economic has a branch called One Project. I am now focusing on grant making and partnerships to allocate resources to organizations, initiatives, and projects that are developing more holistic orientations to economics. We’re trying to explore fundamentally new models. In this space, some terms utilized are economic democracy, shared ownership, and decision-making in our economic structures. Groups are arising like Well Being Economy Alliance, focused on building network architecture and grassroots mobilization. The Solidarity Economy and mutual aid, which we saw a lot of through the pandemic. As many market structures start to deteriorate, there’s more sharing, mutual support, nonmarket exchange, and value exchange, so we look at those areas. We also do a lot around and in the “Commons,” such as the ecological commons and intellectual commons. The commons are an important and large area that’s being neglected and extracted because we’re not relating it as sacred. So those are some of the kinds of general areas, and we can go into more.
One of the things that I would say, and I think we all understand that the current structure is not tenable for much longer. The situation has occurred for various reasons involving energy, consumption, resources, the environment, and climate. So there are many indicators that the current structure will shift, and it could get significantly worse or better, but it’s probably going to be a lot of both.
An essential question for this group is, how do we understand where we are in that transition, and how are we shepherding it? I will highlight a few of the structural challenges of an economic system that is not tenable over the long term. There are quite a few different reasons, and I will point out a few. One of them is that it’s structured on infinite growth, on a finite material planet with insufficient resources to support it. So the economic system is eating itself and explicitly eating itself on an ecological basis. Much of that growth is embedded in the financial system, so much of what you will see as occurring as negative things that we would prefer not to happen, such as climate change. A lot of that is embedded in the financial system instead of the monetary system, and it’s kind of, you know, putting profit as central as the kind of the telos or the point of the economy is more profit. And that is not a well-structured economy, and it’s eventually self-terminating. So the directionality that is currently existing is not particularly healthy. Let’s look at the growth in the current structure; what are the causes of the growth, and what are the some of the structural roots? And in finance, for example, interest rates or discounted cash flow, specific structural aspects within the monetary system that if you don’t keep growing the economy, you will start defaulting on all the debt you created. There will be a crisis without growth. These kinds of structures are very deeply embedded and are very difficult to shift or change because they create a lot of benefits for people simultaneously. It’s propping things up as it is simultaneously collapsing.
I wanted to highlight economic exchange, a body of work out there called “World-systems analysis” by a gentleman named Emmanuel Wallerstein. There is a framework that I appreciate in his body of work that I wanted to share. This work is about the center, the semi-periphery, and the periphery. As individuals, if you think about it, you know, all of us are in the center. We are the center of the market system. We have access to a variety of fruits and vegetables at the market. We are at the top of the supply chain. If you go to the store and you buy whatever it is you need. We are the consumer.
In the semi-periphery, you have all the intermediaries. You have nations, middlemen, and financial systems. These people are dependent on the center to purchase, which makes these people dependent on the center. These people may be in an ok position or a very good position. It is not as ideal as people in the center. Then you have the periphery. These are the ones growing the produce, meat, products that are sold. The periphery group frequently finds themselves in very constrained environments and having a very poor experience. You can often find them embedded in structures that do not align with our ethics with our values. This lack of alignment brings to light another kind of structural challenge. The current economic system is designed to extract from the periphery and the semi-periphery and bring it to the center, but that extraction is just so damaging over time.
I just wanted to bring up this framework specifically as it is related to economic exchange. It’s really hard to think about economic change across that entire supply chain. It is hard to think about how you can have a liberating type of capacity so that people, on the periphery, that are not as seen and that are more at the edges and more in the fringes, the poor people, of the world that are being currently having a very poor experience and in the future with climate change and other issues are probably going to be having a significantly worse experience.
So how do we see honoring, having that be visible and part of our decision-making around economic exchange? So much of how we exchange right now has all of these secondary and tertiary impacts that we can never see or understand? We shut out and go blind to what is hidden from us because we would not purchase these things if we understood this. This part of the exchange needs to be significantly more visible.
The next thing that I wanted to share was just a bit about the role of the wisdom keeper in navigating this current time. I thought that’d be a good prompt for this group to understand the challenges we’re facing at the economic and social layer and in all of these different ways.
What is the role of the wisdom keeper? There are a few things that immediately came to mind. One of which, I mentioned, is this aspect of growth, and we’re in the growth paradigm. Many organizations and people are trying to move towards post-growth systems, moving beyond GDP. Unfortunately, they don’t get a whole lot of traction. It hasn’t kicked in yet that we’re replacing GDP, replacing growth, and even sustainable development goals and this kind of metrics that have growth embedded in it. So we’re having a very difficult time letting go of “growth” phraseology.
We need a much more multi-dimensional understanding of growth on the personal, cultural and ecological levels. I think the wisdom keepers understand a real inner growth that’s not based necessarily so much on consumption, and not on ego identification. So we need to be having a much more expanded understanding of growth, as it relates to the point of the entire economic system what an economic system should be structurally doing. It should be enabling the flourishing of the individual within society and a healthy planet.
Another thing that came to mind about wisdom keepers is enabling the transformative capacity. We’re in a phase where at the economic level, we have to make some massive significant changes, globally, energy systems, transportation systems material systems in a very accelerated timeframe. And the truth of the matter from my experience is, we’re probably not going to do that. It’s just not going to occur. We’re probably going to miss most of the Paris targets; we will probably miss most of the SDGs. So a lot of these things, that are becoming more popular, such as net-zero, I think you’ve heard that term, or conscious capitalism, there’s a lot of things which are structural bypasses of people trying to enable more kinds of incremental shifts, but the actual transformational capacity to make a much larger paradigmatic leap to another structure is very difficult in general. It’s very stunted right now for a lot of different reasons. But, I think understanding the transformational capacity of Western traditions and how that can be translated some more, both at the organizational and societal level, is increasingly important.
And then the last thing I’ll say on this topic is that a lot of my time is spent facing some very hard realities, and I find the more that I face the hard realities, the happier I am as a person. And the more present I am with life in the moment. And so it’s difficult to communicate around some of the real, you know, I’m sure many of you know we all have a sense of this around crises and collapses and things that are, you know, that we’re experiencing in different ways. And it’s a very difficult conversation to have in an uplifting way. So often, if people really start asking me about climate or ecological realities, it can come off as very dire or scary. It brings people into a place of anxiety or fear, and that’s not where I’m coming from, and that’s not my intention. We need to have that conversation from a place of love and appreciation, but it’s a very difficult conversation.
And so maybe the summary would be wisdom keepers have a unique ability to enable people to move through crisis and collapse within their own lives within, within organizations within societies, it’s going to be another kind of capacity, which is exceedingly important, and that we’re not particularly very, very skilled at the moment, so thanks for letting me go in lots of different directions, it’s hard for me to talk about this very succinctly because there’s so much content, but I hope that my share made sense and was helpful for the conversation.
Notes from Conversations:
Energy of Money
Money is an exchange medium. It is what ultimately gives us capacity.
Our current economic/financial system is based on consumption. Discussion on what a system based on contribution might look like.
In aboriginal cultures, there is no money, and they live happily. Life is not about wealth; it is about health, community. Contribution by community members was needed to survive. Another community that lives with a focus on community is the Kibbutz in Israel. Wealth is distributed by needs, not wants, and the community is about meeting those needs.
Most people live in scarcity, which can be reversed by people moving to curiosity, then capacity, and further on to generosity. Western society’s motivation is based on greed, power, and consumption, reflecting a fear of scarcity. This fear motivates people to seek what they feel they need and what they obtain or display causes others to view them as successful. The life force energy that money is, can be misdirected, especially when it is focused on status or stuff. Life experiences and individuals are where the value is.
What is the golden rule, and can we achieve this with peace within ourselves? When people learn to love themselves, they will not need money and stuff to provide a sense of identity. Our identity is sourced within ourselves and allows us to move from fear motivation, the cry to please love me, and the addiction to “stuff” to peace within ourselves and love. We learn to live filled with love and be able to live from a place of giving love. Scarcity mentality is destroying our planet, destroying our abilities to function in a psychologically safe and comfortable world. The need is to connect with the “big mind” of universal wisdom is at the forefront. To learn to come from a place of love and abundance, to share and give.
People need a clear understanding of success, value, self-esteem, and contribution from the perspective of being unlimited. If you’re living in a limiting culture, you will not know this perspective. We live in modern times where we can know everything that is known, through our cell phone or on a computer. The quick, free and ready availability of information will have a disruptive effect on our current educational system. Access to information leaves us in touch with the known universe but not with the unlimited universe and Nature. You can select the information or the direction of what it is that you want to follow? Technology may have the most significant potential for people to get to the point where they realize this current system is not working and the need for change.
Where is the culture in terms of realizing what is possible and that money will not do for you? Money is a secondary tool, but it’s not going to solve any problem, especially when it is a soul problem. We need to learn that the infinite game is not playing by the rules it’s playing WITH the rules. We say that it’s about a win, win, win. The query becomes how to make the world work for 100% of humanity without disadvantaging the natural world, including all sentient life aboard Spaceship Earth. Reference to work by Buckminster Fuller, who called it a world game. It becomes about stewardship. It is about creating new fair conscious rules.
This cultural change to one of contribution needs to start with the family and have the children grow with good self-esteem. Low self-esteem brings the tendency to buy and to overbuy to fill the need. To do this means giving the children time. It was expressed that if you give time and show children how to love themselves, they will be more satisfied with life and simpler things. Help the children realize they are their own self-validation, confirm and remind ourselves that what others think of us is not as significant as what we think of ourselves.
How do we deal with how marketing affects people’s thinking and minds? Again, there is an opportunity to infiltrate with a new ethos. Recognize the manipulation and help the masses realize that most marketing is based on consumption and the need to change to consider contribution.
Attendee expressed that there is a powerful positive pressure here that is being put on us to finally become honest about what being a human being really is. To take the opportunity to identify how the market has historically and especially over the past 100 years, manipulated us to believe in our insecurities. This is our opportunity to infiltrate the market with a new ethos that does not buy into anything that says we are not good enough, etc. We have the chance to bring in the value of every human being. Considering our current global state of COVID, we need to ponder if Nature has set up the perfect ecological crisis that will have society address it collectively on a worldwide level?
For humankind to connect, the transmission of subtle non-verbal communication is needed. An attendee learned that working with people from all over the world, in which English was not their first language, people still connected. He noted that music was made in the connection; this music transcended language. You know and understand among all of us. I think that whatever conversation we’re ever going to have about anything moving forward, I will remember that I’m here to make a special tone in the world. And that’s when the magic happens.
The need to influence others is great. The 100 Monkey effect and the Maharaja effect show us that if enough of the population starts to behave a certain way, it influences the rest of the people. Where is the focus? As Leaders, what is it that we want to bring forward? We need to hold ourselves personally responsible.
We within this group have an idea of our “why,” but much of humanity does not. A lot of society is in the dark and has incomplete knowledge. Humanity acts out of fear of the unknown,where much of the greed, power, and struggle exists. Understanding what money is, how it functions, its value without the gold standard, how it is just printed and manipulated has just amplified the greed, power, and struggle. Society has reached an addictive status because people don’t have peace within themselves and live in fear.
Definition of religion, to reconnect, to ourselves. The disparity in any society is due to a lack of principles in a godless civilization. Principles aren’t religion; they are systems of universal truth that are always true for all people, in all places, in all times.
Much of society’s neurobiology is from a place of lack and a place of fear. There is a need to bring our beings in alignment, reconnect to source wisdom, and bring that to ourselves. When we have that peace within ourselves, then we’re able to follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you do unto yourself, and to love your neighbor as yourself. It starts with you and your love for yourself. If you do not love yourself, you will not find peace. We need economics, which values peace more than war. It starts with the individual.
Here is a thought experiment and a challenge to those in this group.
What happens when you die? Do you go down the tunnel of light? Is there money in heaven? Do you need to pay for your coffee? The library? An attendee believes there may be a much more subtle energy system that is partly telepathic, an angelic sharing shame system, which is based on love. I want to challenge this group. Let’s download how they do it and bring it down onto this plane. How would this system work? Would it be based on earning energy based on love? It could be called Karmic Accounting.
Edward de Bono has books on creating an economy on a sharing system based on doing good and serving others.
A shared economy is created by giving and the power of giving. Circulating stuff, which keeps things from being discarded and has the opportunity for reuse. Another aspect of the sharing economy is to focus local. Visit our local markets, purchase from there. Buy and eat stuff that is in season. Purchasing as directly as possible will help support local business, for example, a book directly from the author, the farmer, or the local market. These are things we can help with by leading by example. Be involved locally. We were showing up within our communities. It starts at home, the family, the village in which we live.
Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
How do we prepare for an impending crisis? One of the ways that we can prepare is to know who we will go hang out with, organizations to combine people to build connections. Do you ally with the people you trusted before when there was an economic or global crisis? People that have integrity with money exchanges and give value before the crisis will do so after. So for me, whether there’s money or not, value exchange will always be there.
The training of youth is essential. They need to know and understand within themselves what is our personal enough point. I knew when I’d hit my enough point, and to have an honest discussion of what is truly enough, that will make your nervous system, your sense of being calm and happy for the rest of your life.
The other more profound piece of this is training people and helping them understand the difference between the wholeness of being versus trying to get whole. Attempting to be whole by purchasing stuff for our lives does not work. Having stuff to fill a need to be loved will always be unsatisfactory.
Going into debt to purchase life experiences that you haven’t earned yet in the present is a step into a position of being obligated to that debt which is a drain of life force. To understand the drain of extending the life force you do not have is to see how debt is an unnecessary burden to carry. My whole reality shifted when I realized my ego was feeding on the future, sucking my president dry. It is important to have people understand the dynamics of the unhealthy psychology spirituality of getting more and more in debt. When they understand it personally, this will transmit into the macro as well.
The beginning of our education is to understand that we are already interconnected and that money is not a force that goes from here to here and then stops. It keeps moving from payment from me to somebody else. Somebody else will use the money I give them, pay someone else and on it goes. We are all interconnected by the exchange of energy. And so every time we’re exchanging energy, ask yourself, how pure Is it, how full is it, where is it coming from? When we’re receiving this transmission of energy, how grateful are we? Are we giving a thank you, thank you, thank you for this meal restaurant or service? It’s the gratitude of the receiving and as we circulate this energy, how is the gratitude when we spend. Do we feel or think, “thank you for accepting, thank you for giving me an opportunity here, I spend happily on things.” Living this way will raise the lifeforce, not only for yourself, but for the planet.
Wisdom collectors can contribute by aiding society to move to being motivated by contribution.
There may be a void that causes a crisis amid COVID, be ready to help those affected by the crisis. A crisis is an opportunity to change.
A task of a wisdom keeper is share the shift that occurs with the realization that money guarantees nothing. Individuals are waking up and looking around to find those who can help them learn not to live in fear.
A wisdom keeper seeks to bring wisdom into positions of leadership. Living lives with the principles of wisdom so that they know right away if they are making progress or not. To know what is ethical and not ethical.
Wisdom keepers are available to train people to realize the value is in the offering and supporting of other people’s lifeforce energy. Money is a goddess. It’s a lifeforce, and none of us own it, and it’s fluid, and the feminine. It’s the river and the banks are holding the current in the sea, the currency. And so, by recognizing that currency is lifeforce CHI prana, that we get to activate it and serve it above and beyond our needs
Next Month's topic will be children and education, to focus on the whole dimensions of children. We’re going to ask all our child experts in education to come for our next session in a month.
Mama, Mama, why can’t they see, why can’t they see the magic in me.
I know I know I know it’s there, deep inside me somewhere.
I see the magic all night and all day, dreaming those dreams of a brighter way.
Mama, Mama, why the police after me, trying to lock up my magic and me.
You say that you love me say that you care.
You gave birth to a miracle. We were both there.
Mama, Mama, why can’t the teacher see,
Aren’t they supposed to bring the magic out of me?
I know, I know I know it’s there, waiting to show someone who will care.
Mama Mom Why can’t the preacher see I’m not bad. My spirit wants to be free.
Who will give me a glimpse of my soul,
See the magic in me and see me whole.
Mama, Mama, there’s nothing left for me. If I can’t see the magic in me,
Mama, Mama, somewhere here my plea, there’s magic. There’s magic.
There’s magic in me.
As I sit and cry over my homeboy, another brother who has died.
I see a vision through my tears, and there’s an inner voice that I hear
The voice is so loving all pain it heals, the vision so real, myself, it reveals,
I see the magic and miracle is real.
The magic is me, brother. Love is the deal, magic.