Finances are often a taboo topic in our culture, and I decided that since I’m not comfortable with money per se that I ought to spend some time with it educationally and intellectually to get stronger bearings on my own relationship to it. Confronting fears is healthy.
I’ve mentioned in a previous entry that a conscious economy (Ben Hewitt’s term) will replace the unconscious myth of separateness. Our current systems are doomed to fail. Continuous growth is no longer sustainable on our planet. 90% of what we make we throwaway (except there is no “away”…). We have serious survival reasons to adapt more sustainable practices, communities and mindsets. We must evolve or cease and desist, as it were.
Saved: How I Quit Worrying about Money and Became theRichest Guy in the World (Ben Hewitt) is a book that interests me greatly. Ben Hewitt is a writer that I keep up with books and blog-wise, and he has a straight-forward manner of addressing issues like food safety/autonomy, local movements, sustainable living, authentic living etc. I keep looking for that silver bullet idea in the book, that insight that would change everything. I don’t think there is one even though the gist is that we need to shift to a conscious economy since our current system poisons us and the Earth. The book does examine the lifestyle of someone living off of what we can’t imagine and living what he considers a rich life. But he’s detached from what most of us are still plugged into. (Next I’d like to read Sacred Economics:Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition.)
We need to have real value to offer the world regardless of inspired motives for change. Generally, our lives become compromises of ideals to live whichever we deem authentic or full. The main guy, Erik, depends on the generosity of many people. There’s nothing wrong with interdependence (since he obviously inspires and gives of himself in many ways), but many of the people assisting him in his detached life earn money from within our current system. So no one is truly detached. The cast-offs that he finds in dumpsters were also made in this system. So while Hewitt and his subject offer a wildly different perspective and way of living, I can’t imagine it working for EVERYONE. If everyone unplugged, there wouldn’t be sources to pad those tough choices (with autonomy still in place)--no wasted resources to find in dumpsters, no cars to borrow and what-not.
Ironically, that’s just the rub I found while reading Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! (Robert Kiyosaki),
a book that is supposed to give insight into generating more wealth. There is an unflinching idea that while he regrets the gap between the haves and have-nots, it’s due to an unenlightened, crowd-following, misinformed flock. I have some news for him: if the flock were hip to his jive, he wouldn’t have the microphone (or any song for that matter). Corporate maneuvers and “smarter” financial choices and loopholes still work out to cost people somewhere. Perhaps those externalized costs don’t keep him up at night, but I’m afraid my conscience does not escape them. To be sure, only a few can be rich the way he advocates being rich—letting money work for you, being smarter not working harder, being the great employer rather than the employee. Resources on our earth and people’s lives (via our time and efforts) are very real even if what our currency represents is _not_ given the eradication of the Gold Standard.
And yet I banter with myself. So often I feel connected to negative thoughts and judgments. I'm not sure I'll effect the world for good Marching AGAINST Monsanto and launching campaigns with the Badass Teacher's Association (both of which I'm generally a part). Those types of group (and the type of thinking that disregards our current financial system) are in essence negative or reactive. We educate the public in many instances; but once we/others have some education, what do we do with all that rancor?
What I did take away, still, was that mindsets about assets and liabilities vary for middle class and wealthy folks. That was an interesting notion to ponder, and ponder it I will. I don’t regret wanting to be more savvy with money. Wanting to be in the proper flow of wealth gives much to many; and as Wayne Dyer says, “you will never be sick enough to heal the sick.” Essentially guilt does not help people out of predicaments. But innovation, ah, the creative spirit: humans are amazing this way!
I’d like to go on record to say that I can’t imagine concrete socialism either. Given our current state of evolution, such ventures seem bound to fail. But what if humans are changing? What if we do manage to save our skins and really have a go at sustainable communities? Perhaps we will emerge different. What if people really tapped into their deepest Source and united?
Another thing worth noting is the importance of sales/marketing whatever special thing you have to offer. Too often we feel this is beneath us, but Kiyosaki points out that it's necessary to reach more people. I also took away the idea that your own learning and growth are ultimately more important than (a false sense, really, of) security. That’s pretty powerful, regardless of our views about systems, finance and the world’s progress. To keep learning in a huge variety of areas is essential for his view of success.
Good reads even if I was still left without a more concrete “solution” from either book.