The story of independence/dependence is one of contention in my moneyless life.
I sit between competing worldviews and internal voices. Below are two pieces of writing created at different times in the last few months.
Does the truth lie somewhere in between?
I’m feeling bad. I have been too dependent on others for the last several weeks and it’s getting hard to keep the guilt at bay. I also notice I’m slipping – not being as careful in my consumption (of other people’s resources) as usual. I have not been using money, but I have also been living too well by the good graces of my friends and family. I’ve found a new home, but for now, while I wait for the final stars to align, I try to deal with these feelings of guilt.
I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do – talking so openly about my shortcomings – but I want to be authentic. This reliance on others is one of the tricky parts of doing what I’m doing.
Yes, I am helping people out. No, they don’t mind me being around and using their electricity, water and sharing in their food. I DO mind though.
I would do the same for anyone else myself, of course, but there’s something in this situation that troubles me. I claim to be living without money; therefore, I must take care not to transfer the ‘money’ issue onto others.
Can I resolve this inner turmoil? It’s human to doubt and feel guilt – to question oneself.
I read the words above and remember what is real. I remember why I am trying to do what I am trying to do. I am not getting it ‘right’ all the time – I am learning as I go. I am doing better than I was before. That needs to be enough for now.
In our Western culture, my value is mostly derived from how I contribute financially. The erroneous idea, drummed into me all my life, that I must strive to be self contained, not ‘bludge’ off others, meet my own needs, is damaging to me, humanity as a whole and our beloved planet.
I am meant to be reliant on others. Others are meant to be reliant on me. I am interdependent. We are all part of one big whole – dependent at all times on the beautiful web of life.
This false sense of independence we are taught to value in the West is supported by the use of money. Money gives the appearance of a kind of independence. It seems as though we can just go out and buy what we need and separate ourselves from any need to rely on others.
Money simply creates distance from the source of the things we consume, but we are still completely dependent on all the things that go into every product – the people who work to bring that thing to life and the planet for providing the necessary resources.
Money simply blinds us to the bigger picture of consumption.
For most of human existence we have lived collaboratively, in groups, helping one another out and caring – often without the use of money.
This collaborative life is still running concurrently with our money-oriented lives. It exists on the periphery of ‘normal’ life. Our moneyless collaborations are sidelined, given barely a second thought, as we continue striving to achieve ‘independence’.