There is enough food, water, energy and natural resources on the planet for every human being. There is just not enough money to pay for it. There never was, and there never will be. Together humanity is marching forward towards a new world, one of absolute equality for every human being, where the illusion known as money is discarded, swept aside for a true currency called love.” – Gary Mitchell Weinstein
In my last blog article, I attempted to show that humanity in general, and our Federation in particular, are manifesting symptoms of a struggle of which we know not, that has been going on for ages, which I characterized as being between the “Word of God” and the “word of Mammon.” I will expound on this concept some more as I try to formulate an answer to the question that was asked by Mr Washington Archibald, “Where do you go from here?” In the spirit of transparency and accountability, the answer presented itself this morning on my Facebook homepage in the form of the above-mentioned quote. As you may surmise, I will be making a comparison between two currencies: LOVE in the Kingdom of God, and MONEY in the Kingdom of Mammon. I am also indebted to Charles Eisenstein who has given me much food for thought, and who has primed my sensitivities to see clearly the way forward. I hope that the answer I provide will be satisfactory for Mr Archibald, but I know in the spirit of the Socratic method, that my answer is only the beginning and will eventually lead to more questions.
I will start with the definition given by Eisenstein below:
“Money is merely a social agreement, a story that assigns meaning and roles. The classical definition of money—a medium of exchange, a store of value, a unit of account—describes what money does, but not what it is. Physically, it is now next to nothing. Socially, it is next to everything: the primary agent for the coordination of human activity and the focusing of collective human intention.” – Eisenstein, Charles (2011-07-12). Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition (Kindle Locations 2445-2448). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.
Having digested this definition, I have to ask myself several questions.
1. Isn’t love another social agreement, another story that can also assign meaning and roles?
2. Can love, like money, be defined as a medium of exchange, a store of value, or a unit of account, and if so, how, and if not, why not?
3. Why isn’t love, like money, next to everything, and how can love displace money as the primary agent for the coordination of human activity and the focusing of collective human intention?
4. And finally, if like money, we cannot describe what love is, but only by what it does, how do we proceed?
Whom should we turn to for guidance? The Ancient Greek, of course, but with a minor twist, which would have major implications in helping us to transition from the Kingdom of Mammon to the Kingdom of God.
According to Wikipedia,
“In terms of interpersonal attraction, four forms of love have traditionally been distinguished, based on ancient Greek precedent: the love of kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storgē), the love of friendship (philía), the love of sexual and/or romantic desire (éros), and self-emptying or divine love (agápe)” – Wikipedia, accessed 27th May, 2013
Thus ancient Greek had four distinct words for love: storgē, philía, agápe, and éros. I hope you will come to appreciate in my exposition below that each of these can be viewed as “primary agents for the coordination of human activity and the focusing of collective human intention.” And in so doing, I hope that you will see more clearly that understanding the distinctions between these four loves make a world of difference. The thesis of the article is that the first three loves, storgē, philía, agápe, are genuine and should be nurtured and allowed to be given free reign to actualize their fullest potentials, but it is the last of these, éros, that is artificial or illusory, and should be reigned in as it has many properties that conspire with the money system and its complications. It is éros that has dominated our lives and is responsible for the mess we are in today, be it socially, economically, politically, environmentally and spiritually. When we are deficient in the first three loves, we become separated from our families, our communities and with nature and we suffer some form of psycho-socio-environmental dislocation, and we fill this void with the false fruits of éros, by glorifying and legalizing it via its representations in the money system and by the social, economic and political policies that sustain it. I can summarize the force of my argument by this saying:
Falling in love is a misnomer. We only fall in lust, but we grow to love the other. – Bichara Sahely.
Lust is a temptation that attracts someone or something, represents a desire, is romantic and is illusory. Love is something that is organic, requires time and investment, growth and maturity, and has three interconnected levels, starting from the connection between the individual and his immediate family, then from the family within the context of other families in the community, and finally, from each community and their relationships between each other and the life supporting networks of the environment which includes all the physiochemical and biological networks of our planet Mother Earth. It is the sense of gratitude towards and sense of responsibility for these three levels that helps us increase our connections within these three levels of interactions, which should help define and glorify love as a form of currency, as a medium of exchange (interpersonal interactions), a store of value (family values, community values, environmentalism), or a unit of account(ability), that would make the world go round. The medium of exchange now becomes our thoughts, feelings and our actions, which became codified as guides in the covenants of our Sacred Scriptures, and these should be the bedrock of our constitutions where it is stored and refined as we better and better appreciate the unity and interrelatedness and interbeingness of all things. Since our acts of love can reap dividends and multiply multifold by its ripple effects in our families, our communities and our planet, we should harmonize our money system with the first three TRUE loves and hence restore this balance, than with the last of these, a false type of love, for which it is codified and legalized and serves to undermine the values and wisdom of the first three. So to worship GOD is to align our thoughts, feelings and actions with the first three loves that sustains us, and to worship Mammon is to align our thoughts, feelings and actions with last and least of these which only serves to devalue the fruits of the first three.
This struggle is represented as a “Paradox of our Time”:
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,
But have less real communication;
We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall men but short characters;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window
But nothing in the room.
Eisenstein, Charles (2011-07-12). Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition (p. 125). North Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.
So to answer your question Mr Archibald, “Where do we go from here?”, I will have to say that the answer is simple. We should realize that all that glitters is not gold, and we should put more time and effort in investing in the relationships of our families, our communities, and the natural environment that nurtures us and sustains us which for me provide the bedrocks for the Kingdom of God. Just like Copernicus provided a revolution of our thinking when we realized that the sun was the center of our solar system, and not the earth with its epicycles upon epicycles to explain the natural motions of our planets; likewise, a centering of our worldview on the three genuine loves will bring us back into harmony with each other and nature, and prevent the epicycles upon epicycles of bondage in all of its forms, be it ideological, rhetoric and physical, from dominating us, and exiling us from our true nature of interconnectedness and interbeingingness. We will then get intimations of the sacredness of all things, and will once again re-enter into the Garden of Eden, arrive at the Promised Land, build the Kingdom of God, create a heaven here on earth, and finally, as our motto beckons us, to begin to put the Loves of our Country, Storgē, Philía, and Agápe, above the love of self, éros, be it individual or political party.
Although this may be self-evident, the hard work that follows is to realign and create policies, that is family focused, community supported, environmentally sustainable, and this should be the focus of the new dispensation that would help inaugurate the revolution enunciated some 50 years ago by John F. Kennedy.
“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” ― John F. Kennedy