An open space for global conversation
I am currently about half way through Charles Eisenstein's wonderfully thought-provoking book, Sacred Economics. We have, of course engaged on this terrain in other places within the Cafe, including this discussion thread tied to the Cafe Call last December on which Charles was our guest "conversation starter." I felt called to start a new conversation however, given that I am feeling so inspired not only to read but also to share this book.
If you are not familiar with Sacred Economics, you can still join the conversation based on your response to this brief and compelling video. You can also read the book online here (please consider a contribution back to Charles if you take advantage of this gift!).
I also am feeling called to explore further this idea of a "hosted" conversation. Here's what I wrote many months ago when this idea was first proposed:
Please note that this is a hosted discussion. We want to focus on dialogue and collective/creative thinking, not debate or the promotion of personal agendas. If the activity gets heavy, we will periodically ask people to step back or step up, to make sure the dialogue is balanced and there is space for all voices to be heard. We will also ask that side conversations that emerge be taken onto new discussion threads so that this core conversation remains focused and readable. Thank you in advance for your help with this, and if you are interested in hosting a discussion yourself, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to resume our experiment in this terrain, and perhaps stretch ourselves a bit more than the framing above implied. I want to try this in three ways, all of which might be serve to give this conversation that special and sacred quality of "aliveness:"
So... here goes!
My intention in convening this conversation is to see to what degree the ideas in this book can inspire and help us articulate a "Story of Now" and a "Story of Us" for the Cafe. Marshall Ganz describes the former as a story that can inform "the challenge this community now faces, the choices it must make, and the hope to which 'we' can aspire." And the "Story of Us" illuminates "what your constituency, community, organization has been called to: its shared purposes, goals and vision."
Some basic questions that we can explore are:
Yes, I shall be happy to do so.
Once again.... I consider this the basic unit of exchange between two sentient beings:
“I love you. I give this to you. “
“Thank you. I love you. And I give this to you”.
In any interchange when its context is love and connection, then contribution to the other is automatic. The result is satisfaction and an enhancement of the relationship. It could be called a win/win interchange.
By contrast, where each seeks an advantage over the other, the very context of that interchange is distrust and disconnection. Our daily commercial interchange has devolved to this status. In my view money is not the issue, for money is merely a convenient intermediate that tends to represent the culturally ‘agreed-upon-general-value’ of each of the interchange units. In a win/win interchange, that ‘general value’ has a secondary significance. By contrast, in a win/lose (zero sum game) interchange, that ‘general value’ becomes highly specific, even contested.
Money, per se, is neutral. It is the stories we have made up about it – the global stories, the cultural stories, our individual stories - that have shifted money from neutral to ‘loaded’. So let us not look to money as the culprit, but look into the mirror instead.
As Pogo might have said, “We have met the money crazies and it is us.”
What a rich and interesting thread this is so far! I began this as an experiment in what might be possible in an "asynchronous" (i.e. online text-based) conversation. I believed that setting an intention for something more than the typical forum thread might take us somewhere new. Again, here were the general distinctions I hoped we might bring to this conversation in order to create a quality of "aliveness:"
So, are you willing to continue the experiment? Can we move this discussion from the realm of "interesting" to the realm of "powerful?" As "host" of this conversation, I suggest we pause for some harvesting and synthesis to get a clearer picture of what might be emerging here, and also to acknowledge any "gifts" we have received thus far. Whether you have participated to date or not, I invite you to join us and help to bring out the collective wisdom of the whole.
Read through all the posts and share your list of things that struck, touched, moved, challenged or surprised you in the comments so far. Is there someone you would like to thank for their contribution? What have you learned? What question would you like to ask now? What is missing from the picture so far?
I'll offer my own list shortly...
No need to wait, Jerry! This is a group effort!
I will start by thanking YOU, though, for showing up with such enthusiasm, reading the whole book in a few days, and offering a perspective that is a bit different from the ones we most often hear, at least in some respects. I am touched that, being new to our community and coming from well outside the "occupy consciousness," you have stepped in and stepped up as one of us. This feels very valuable to me.
I was both moved and challenged by this post of yours.* I was moved by parts like this: "Let me move in the fullness of my being doing something that matters." And was challenged by this: "To the enemies of personal freedom I want to be the threat of death."
More in a bit...
Last night I was considering how the only two 'real' numbers are zero and one - the binary system of math. All other numbers, physics, and science are based on the infinite combinations and recombinations of these two numbers. Our entire digital realm is based on zero and one - two numbers with opposite energy and meanings. And zero can only be used to define absolute nothingness, or used to hold space. One is always generative. How very Tao.
Jim, the world of numbers is more rich than you are imagining. Some number cannot be expressed as a ratio of 2 integers. These are the irrational numbers, of which pi (the ratio between the cricumfrence of a circle and the diameter) is a member. Then there are imaginary numbers such as the square root of -3, for example, which is usually written as 3i, where i represents the square root of -1. Some numbers are complex, for example 5.7+333.7i, that is, this complex number has a real and imaginary part. There are probably others I'm not aware of.
Richard, we may be talking past each other. I recognize that, say, the deep relationship between the circumference and diameter of a circle is not understood by the simple 'off/on' nature of the binary system. For me, seeing life and the world from a Taoist perspective means seeing this 'off/on/ interplay everywhere. There is no teacher without a student. There is no foreground without background.
On this planet, where sentience takes the form of carbon/water-based biological creatures, we base our understanding of reality on science, which is based on numbers, as is geometry and fractals. We have, in this holographic reality that we share, a reliance on math so that we can find a commonality, just as we share an understanding of words to make sense of this experience we're sharing.