A Repost: “Act of Love”
He who trims himself to suit everybody will soon whittle himself away. Raymond Hull
Perhaps we should instead build upon ourselves with acts of love, in the hopes that others will be motivated to suit us.
I wrote back, & playfully challenged him to “Quickly! Name 7 acts of love”. His immediate response was this lovely little list:
Engaging our Passions
The reason I find this response so astonishing, & so — dare I say it? — spiritually gratifying, is because his website, The Alternate Economy, is obviously dealing with economics, ‘the Dismal Science‘. And, evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the current recession & every political gasbag, talk about “the economy” is seemingly fraught with confrontational & adversarial positions. People, if they have any knowledge of economics at all, tend to divide into different schools of thought, & commence to argue. The topic of “economics” is seen by many as abstruse & arcane, as bleak & blustering, as dreary & drab ………. in short, dismal. I think it’s safe to say that few people find much hope in economics, not much spirituality, or even very much of anything that directly relates to their own daily lives. Econ just is not felt to be very approachable. I mean, how touchy-feely does the ‘Empress of the Social Sciences’ inspire YOU to be?!?
Here’s the thing though: The economy IS veryvery spiritual, in the sense that it depends upon the beliefs, hopes & personal myths of individuals & businesses, & their willingness or reluctance to exchange with each other. The word ‘economy’ comes from the Greek ‘oikos’, which means ‘household.’ EVERYbody lives in a household, in one form or another, & so it is true: Economics is intimately attached to every aspect of our lives. And it is our attitudes toward & our beliefs about money, finances, wealth, sharing, etc that creates what we call The Economy. As if it is outside of ourselves. As if we have nothing to do with it.
The truth of it, though, is that the economy, economics, more than many facets of life, reflects the play of consciousness of all the entities within it. It mirrors back to its constituents what they most believe. So, when fear & uncertainty are the prevailing emotions ……..?? What do they tell us about ourselves? They tell us that we have given up our personal power to those who will use it against us …… & that we need to continue to do this because “they” are the ones who will take care of us in the long run. These emotions make us collectively feel we need to hold onto our own, to defend ourselves & what we have from those who would take it …….. & that some elements of society will always have muchmuch more than everybody else. And they tell us that hope …… & love ………. & connectedness have no place in our shared, public life …….. when, really, these are the very qualities that will get us out of the current national/global financial crisis. It is love, hope, interconnection, generosity, caretaking of each other that are the answers to the existential lamentation: “Why do I have so much, but I feel so empty?”
Which brings me back to The Alternate Economy. These creative folks (full disclosure: myself, recently included) propose an economy of generosity, one NOT based on profit at all costs, which promotes & rewards greed. This alternate economy will instead promote & reward sharing, & people doing productive work they love. It involves chartering a bank, & democratically deciding which projects & businesses to fund. It promises to be participatory, & not predatory. Wait, you say. An economy based on taking care of each other? An economic life which values generosity above greed?! YES! And THAT is an economy I want mirrored back to me — one that reflects the highest, & noblest aspirations of the human soul, rather than the consciousness of ‘only the strongest, most mercenary survive’.
This excerpt from The Alternate Economy’s Mission Statement reveals where my personal aspirations most clearly intersect with this grand, yet humble social construct:
The first step to making this change is by changing our expectations of life. The first step is achieving personal balance.
This, indeed, is both the beginning of greater mindfulness, & one of its end results. Mindfulness belongs in every facet of life, it is a WAY of life — just as an economy is! Bringing a mindful attitude into any endeavor will transform it, & the relationship the do-er has with it. And, frankly, my darlings, isn’t a transformation of The Way Things Are just what we are all most hungering for?!? We can all agree, I believe, that the curtain needs to come down on the current theater of zero-sum greed. The Alternate Economy just may be the new opening act ……………
- What’s Your Economic IQ? (lewrockwell.com)
- Easy Economics: A Visual Guide to What You Need to Know (bargaineering.com)
- Generosity economy (sashadichter.wordpress.com)
- Creative catastrophising (craiganthonyryan.wordpress.com)