Thursday, November 10, 2016

Troubled by Money? Practice Simple Living because it is Silent Rebellion

(Daniel Suelo, man who quit money)

Among the divine creations, only human beings think of money. It has become a part of our behaviour. We are not tired of talking about money as if money is something that makes us breath or alive. Today we are a country that thinks only about money. Human beings have created and nurtured a society that cannot function without money hence there is no point in repudiating the role of money in our existence. But what if this becomes an obsession? That means, we have defined our lives with money; life is something lived with money. We have almost taken it for granted that life is about purchasing things and satisfying our desires. The demonitization declared by India’s Prime Minister for a few hours at least has made people think about their currencies are mere valueless pieces of paper. Caught into the vicious system that can only function with money, people in India have already found ways to make a profit out of the demonitized currencies. Corruption is not about hoarding undeclared currencies or taking bribes. But it is about the concept of money.

Is it possible to live without money or rather is it possible to live with money that is just required for buying the basics? It is possible and many people have proved that it is possible. One could stay completely out of the monetary system provided they are ready to live on scavenging and using public facilities. When someone like Daniel Suelo proved that he could live out the monetary system, it was not just an act of parsimonious living but a way to challenge the government by not paying tax at all. However, Suelo is forced to use the government systems like public booths and internet, library and so on at times so he inadvertently enters into the system that he has been trying to challenge. But moving out of the system completely would be a sort of fundamentalism. In that case, one can make entries, exits and re-entries with the system without yielding to the diktats of it. In India there are so many Sadhus and Sannyasis practice such kind of life. Buddhism that propagated the idea of begging also entered the system minimally and used only just what they wanted to survive. Manusmriti, the much criticised text of Hinduism, written around 2500 years back also underlines the Spartan life style to be followed by the sages and scholars whose protection and nurturance, it says should be the responsibility of the state.

What has gone wrong then? When we have an alternative life style which is the most harmonious life style with the nature, why have we moved away from that and become slaves to the monetary systems artificially created by the feudal establishments and the governments? This is where we have to understand the value of human lives outside the monetary systems. The government, military and business conglomerates have created such a vicious trap for the unsuspecting human beings who from their birth to death toil indirectly to feed the systems with various kinds of taxes. Nature has abundance of materials and food for nurturing all the beings on the earth. It is free for all. But when the system comes into being, where feudal and governmental establishments take the role of directors, what the nature has given us for free becomes the sole property of these establishments. That’s why we have to pay even for the drinking water. The times are not far when we would be paying for a packet of fresh air. A total rebellion against this is impossible because the systems are evolved after a long time of experimentations, mutations and structural adjustments till it became fool proof in profit making as we see today. In that case, minimal life is the only way to prevent the system from making us the slaves of money.

Most of us have lost hope to lead such a life of freedom outside the system. But let me say that it is not yet time to feel despair and disheartened. If we wish to thwart the system and shrug off the shackles that it has forced us to wear by making each of us enter into the monetary system as if it was our nature, there is a way to do that. We just need to start living parsimoniously. Question will be flying thick and fast. What are we going to do with our cars, our airconditioners, water purifiers and so many other luxury things? I am not saying that a parsimonious life does not mean leaving all the creature comforts behind. Most of us have misinterpreted creature comfort as hoarding materials excess so that we could consume excessively or use it in future. So when we go to the shopping malls, we buy more than what we need. We buy things just because they are there and the makers of it tell us that its consumption would make us better human beings. We are worried about the sizes of our cars so in the next festival season we exchange it for a bigger one. We do the same thing with our mobile phones and everything. We keep on buying.

Stop buying one day. The economic system of a country would collapse. In fact it would not collapse but it would be interpreted as the collapse of the economy because with the abstinence of the consumers from the market would collapse the profit structures of the people who run all kinds of business. That means, when we consume less we make certain silent rebellions not only against our habits but also against the systems that have produced those habits. Once we make such silent rebellions, we move much closer to the nature. But the people who live in urban areas would ask whether it is possible to live such parsimonious life there because everyone or everything is connected to the market and the products that one consumes in the market including the services such as health and education. I would say, these are just compulsions that we have mistaken for habit or necessity. We could cut down everything and we could develop a state of mind which would elevate our own selves before our own eyes. We would not feel small before those voracious consumers who pack their trolleys with five bottles of soft drinks and a lot of chips. We could feel better and superior when we stop hoarding consumables and feeling simple.

I have heard people talking about their images in the eyes of the others including the neighbours. This is one of the most false concepts the society has developed for keeping people in the leash. By creating this false image about one’s own worth by consuming maximum people try to live up to the imaginary perceptions of the other people. We try to even satisfy the possible perceptions of the strangers whom we happen to meet in the public places. From the very beginning itself human beings are indoctrinated by the system to become its slaves. It often comes in the form of education and only by developing a counter education pattern one could unlearn all what has been learned in the schools. To achieve this counter learning one has to read and write, see and watch, develop an affinity for creative lives. When one’s creativity comes out through careful nurturing, one gets satisfaction in such creativity and one wouldn’t feel the need to satisfy oneself by consuming more and more. To develop this creativity one has to primarily shun the desires created by the market and the illusionary demands made on you by the system. There is no point in lamenting on being the victims of the system. The system could be defeated by living differently. But the decision has to come from within. If one is incapable of taking such decision would suffer from the system while thinking that the system is taking care of them.

(all images from net and for illustrative purpose only)

No comments: