(from 'Earth People' Volume 1 Number 4)
I have read and heard all sorts of arguments justifying the use of money or an economic system in our human society. One argument equates money, business and economy with the universal laws of abundance. And I have seen one advertisement costing 100’s of dollars saying: “Wealth and Spirituality are not mutually exclusive.” Yes spirituality is now being marketed as: “The Rapidly Growing Multi-billion Dollar Personal Growth Industry.”
I have even heard very wise and spiritual people say to me that this current economic system is the current ‘reality’ of our world society, and that you must be a part of it to change it.
While my understanding of life and quantum physics indicates that there is a measure of truth in all the arguments I’ve heard, I must remind you of two facts.
Firstly, it is this money, and the economy based principle that has helped to create the greed within our social system and therefore the rape and destruction of our Mother Earth and our own minds.
"So where does evil get it’s power? It comes from us. It crawls and creeps into our brains. We twist our own minds. We take that sacred knowledge and use it to fashion a gun. Then we call that knowledge power. So there is all this traffic between our ears, and that is where the evil comes from."
By Wallace Black Elk
Secondly and most importantly, money is a tool, and as with all tools, it is supposed to serve humanity, as I’m sure it did for a good many years, and as humanity we have a lot to be grateful for the knowledge we have gained via the use of money, but...
On this subject Joseph Campbell refers to “The Machine” saying that "the first time anyone made a tool, taking a stone and chipping it to make an axe, is the beginning of a machine, the turning of outer nature into your service." But then he says that there comes a time when the machine begins to dictate to you how you are going to live.
This is where money and our economic system are today. Where the system, the machine of this economic system, is now dictating to man that we spend 36+ hrs per week working, and 90% of our consciousness on where the money is going to come from and where it is going to go to.
I can’t help thinking of Pink Floyd’s two songs: ‘Money’ (it’s a crime), and ‘Welcome to the Machine’.
Joseph Campbell says that the universal truths that can be found in any of the mythological stories and ancient metaphors can still work to guide and inform society. And that one of the best examples of these truths being clothed in modern metaphors is the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, where Darth Vader represents the machine and addresses the problem of: “Is the machine, and the state is the machine, is the machine going to crush humanity, or serve humanity. And humanity comes not from the machine, but from the heart.”
Chogyam Trungpa in ‘Shambhala – The Sacred Path of the Warrior’ says this about money and wealth:
“If people are poor, they want to take money or resources away from those who have more. And if people are wealthy, in the sense of having money, then they want to hold on to what they have, because they think that giving up some of their money will make them impoverished. With that mentality on both sides, it is difficult to imagine any fundamental change, taking place. Or if it does take place, it is based on tremendous hatred and violence…
“Of course, if you are starving, then what you want is food. In fact, food is what you need. [Not money. Ed.]… People with money have been willing to sacrifice thousands of human lives to hold on to their wealth, and on the other side, people in need have been willing to massacre their fellows for a grain of rice, a hope for a penny in their pocket…
“But the real meaning of wealth is knowing how to create a gold like situation in your life.”
And he says that this wealth comes from putting your own energy and effort into caring for your world. And by doing the mundane and sometimes dirty jobs for yourself, which not only saves you money but is also more dignified. It is this dignity that makes one wealthy. In light of this, I can now see that I am and have always been one of the wealthiest people on the planet. This is because I usually clean, fix, maintain, tune, service, improvise or go without all my things quite happily, although sometimes I do so with a little grumble of complaint, as I’m not perfect.
The great ceremonial chief of the Teton Sioux, and holy man Frank Fools Crow (1890-1989) in dialog with author Thomas E. Mails in the book ‘Fools Crow – Power and Wisdom’ discusses his abilities to lure whatever he needs thus:
“How about money.” [Thomas asks]
“You can lure what you need, but that fancy new car you drive, you had to get that with your natural power. Spiritual power is for other things… My luring is always done for something for my people…”
“Some television evangelists,” [Thomas said] “claim that God blesses people who give generously to their cause. What do you think about this?”
“I have heard about that, and what they mean is, give generously to them.” Fools Crow commented with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. [Thomas added] “Lots of people have told me that with my curing powers I could become a very rich man by demanding high payments. But that is not what Wakan-tanka [God] wants me to do, and the power is His anyway. He has made it clear that being rich does not bring happiness, and that it takes people’s mind away from Him. Some time during their work (Ministry) the evangelists will pay a big price for this misuse of power. No one abuses the things of Wakan-tanka and gets away with it forever.”
Crowfoot, a Blackfoot Chief who was born in 1821, in what is now the province of Alberta Canada, was quoted as saying the following in; ‘From the Heart – Voices of the Native Americans’:
“Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not ever perish by flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals. We cannot sell the lives of men and animals. It was put here for us by the Great Spirit and we cannot sell it because it does not belong to us. You can count your money and burn it without the nod of a buffalo’s head, but only the Great Spirit can count the grains of sand and the blades of grass on the plains. As a present to you, we will give you anything we have that you can take with you; but the land never.”
In April of 1890, in his dying hours, his last words were of life, as quoted in ‘Touch the Earth – A Self-portrait of Indian Existence’, Compiled by T.C. McLuhan.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
So money has served man’s life, but it has now well and truly gone past its use by date in this throw away society and it is time we threw it away and began a new social system based on love, compassion and the connectedness of all things. But I’m always open for debate.
It has since occurred to me that this new social system I just mentioned will have to be what was the original system, which I believe predated not only the money system, but also the barter system. I believe that when humans roamed the earth in a sacred, yet primitive way (we may have been those semi Neanderthals that painted the cave temples some 32,000 years ago) we recognised the God in the others that we met by giving them an unconditional gift of whatever we could, but these others did the same and thus a later version of this Unconditional Gift Giving System evolved into the barter system. And then when the greed crept in that system evolved into the money system.