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Take a Breath And Consider the Addiction

posted Sep 25, 2014, 9:11 AM by Jesse Dow   [ updated Sep 25, 2014, 9:13 AM ]
As I write about this, I recognize that it is extremely difficult for any of us to access much clarity in this conversation. We have layers of relationship to money that sink to the very core of our being. I consider money to be an addiction in our culture. I consider both attraction and aversion-- hunger and hatred to be part of this addiction.

I am noticing, as I write this, that it is difficult for me to remain clear headed. The entire conversation is embroiled in an ancient fog. We likely lost clarity around this thousands of years ago. This fog has invaded our perception for so long that we have been unaware of its existence since ancient times.

In an effort to seek clarity, I'm imagining substituting our cultural money addiction with another-- say alcoholism. What happens when we substitute money for alcohol? I imagine living in a world where everybody is addicted to alcohol. We are all so addicted, in fact, that we have come to believe that we cannot survive without it. There is a general sense in the community that our measure of responsibility is directly connected to our ability to attain and effectively manage our use of alcohol. There are millions of people in the world who's entire job is to employ perfect accuracy to track exactly how much alcohol everybody obtains and consumes. Some people hunger all the time for alcohol, and use it as often as possible. For them, it is nearly their only source of happiness, and they believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that they cannot survive without it. Some people have discovered a balanced use of alcohol, and, on the whole, feel happy when they drink it. These people also still believe, without question, that they cannot survive without it. Some people abhor alcohol. They say that it is the root of all evil, and they seek to minimize their use of it due to deep radical hatred. 'Look at what it makes us do!' they say. Yet they see no way out, and they still believe, without question, that they cannot survive without it.

In fact, in this world, the only people who don't drink alcohol on a daily basis are completely isolated from the larger culture. The largest group of people who don't use alcohol are homeless. There are also people who live in cloistered spiritual communities, but even though the individuals don't drink alcohol, the only way that the communities continue to function is through the donation of alcohol to the larger community.

I am imagining that one day, somebody is sitting having a nice glass of wine, and suddenly has the thought: 'What if we actually don't need alcohol to survive?' This person isn't saying that alcohol is good or bad. She is only saying that it is not necessary.

One day, in passing, she mentions this idea to someone, and is met with a blank stare. Her friend stares at her for a moment, and then says, 'you're living in a fantasy,' and walks away.

What is it about money that has such a grip on us? Why does our breathing constrict the moment we hear the word? Why is it nearly impossible to even consider a world without money?

 We live in an unprecedented time right now. For the first time in history, our use of money is bringing us to the brink of extinction. For the first time in history, we are being forced to consider this possibility:

'What if we don't actually need money to survive?'

Let that door open inside you. It is the first step of a very beautiful journey.