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Rajiv
03-27-10, 01:03 PM
Came across a good article at Linux Today

Editor's Note: What is There Besides Money? (http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2010-03-26-030-35-OP-CY&tbovrmode=1#talkback_area)


This modern world values money above all else, which is a limited and stifling measure of real value, and it has a corrosive effect on nearly everything it touches. So what is there besides money?

There are few things that have the impact of watching friends live on a monthly income not much higher than my mortgage payment. In my little corner of the US we barely notice a nationwide recession, because it's always a recession here. Unemployment is always in double-digits, and family-wage jobs are scarce. Families get by on $24,000 per year, or less, with both parents working.

Observing how people get by on so little money is a real education. I spent a good chunk of my misspent youth being dirt-poor, so this is familiar territory. There is a thriving barter economy that values many forms of non-money exchanges. People do household and yard chores for each other, watch kids, fix things that most folks would throw away, drive neighbors to doctor appointments three hours away, teach skills, share knowledge...you name it, the local economy is divese far beyond a money exchange. You can even bank favors and save them up for a future need.

My county lives and dies by volunteer labor. If we didn't have so many generous, far-sighted volunteers filling key positions we'd be in sorry shape. The fire departments are all volunteer, and they are required to have the same training and skills as big-city paid departments. Search and rescue, sheriff's reserves, home health care and hospice, and on and on and on...all of these jobs that are ordinarily paid positions are capably filled by skilled, committed unpaid volunteers.

Sound familiar? It is true that a lot of FOSS development is paid, but a sizable amount is still done by unpaid volunteers. The value of diverse, open development and distribution should speak for itself, given its long and successful history, and yet one of the biggest unanswered questions is how can a person make a living from FOSS? Those folks who are quickest with answers like "give away the code, sell service and support" are people who have jobs with paychecks, and have never tried it.

This mirrors similar dilemmas in other parts of society. In the US we have the double-whammy of the dollar is king, but there isn't all that much correlation between skills and paychecks. If it doesn't earn money it's not worth anything. And so we have an extreme imbalance in valuing citizen's contributions to society. The more you look, the more unpaid or poorly-paid contributors you find: musicians, stay-at-home parents, artists, actors, musicians, philosophers, researchers, dog doo picker-uppers, mentors, parenting coaches, citizen journalists, community organizers, book exchange, community gardens, computer geeks, and on and and on...what does it all count for? Little more than a warm glow, because there are no mechanisms to translate these contributions into some way of contributing to making a living, or banking these wonderful contributions against future need. This is a huge shortcoming in a supposedly advanced society.

Even worse, it leads to dangerously skewed values. I don't need to remind anyone of all the abuses perpetrated in the name of chasing the dollar, do I? Or rant against idiotic billionaire worship? Whether it's a Gates or a Shuttleworth, admiring someone because they are able to amass a huge fortune is the dopiest form of idolatry.

I wish I were wise enough to figure out and propose something concrete, at least as it could be applied to FOSS. Because I think it is dangerous to rely too much on corporate support, advertiser support, or allegedly benevolent billionaires. That's not the core value of FOSS anyway; FOSS is meant to give power and control to individuals, and to provide a strong mechanism for enabling cooperation, not to abdicate responsibility to the very entities that are already making a big hash of the world.

Bright ideas, anyone?

cjppjc
03-28-10, 06:21 PM
http://www.personaltransformation.com/Needleman.html


Transformation: What challenges have you faced in learning to be a businessman with a spiritual life?

Needleman: It’s not easy! The challenge has been—and I’m still trying to meet it—first of all, to really try to not compromise what I wish to say in my writing and in my teaching, and at the same time keep my eye on the material realities of life: to be a good business person, but to not sell out my thoughts in any way. There’s a great saying in the Islamic tradition, "Trust in Allah but tie your camel first to the hitching post." The challenge is how to tie my camel enough—earn enough—to feel like I’m grounded in the physical world, but hold my work to a standard I can recognize. At the inner, more subtle level, it’s not always easy to discern the real reasons for doing something. I like money. I don’t love it, but I do like what money can do. I think it’s something we all need to recognize. The other challenge is, can you use money as an instrument for the spiritual search?

Transformation: How does one do that?

Needleman: First by creating the space in your life for doing things which are absolutely unmotivated by money, which has to do with self-knowledge and spiritual work and serving others in the way they need. There are things we need to do which are totally untouched by money, but in order to do them, we need money! We need to earn money in order to engage in the kind of spiritual search and the kinds of activities that money can’t buy.

Transformation: You raised a question in your book: "In a culture dominated by money and by the principle of personal gain, could there arise a wholly realistic way of giving and serving beyond the cliches of altruism and hidden fears for our own safety or the opinions of others?" How do you answer that question?

Needleman: One way is how we give our attention and care to other people. To do that for its own sake, and not for the sake of personal gain, is possible. When you sacrifice your self interests for the good of the other person, a joy and a sense of meaning that nothing else can give you appears. To be deeply human with another person—it doesn’t matter what the context—brings a current of life into the interaction. We are born to give. Deep down in our essence, love is our nature, and I believe that we have to touch even when we’re making our money and scoring our points.

Transformation: You wrote in "Money and the Meaning of Life," "The money question is so strong not because money is ultimately real but because our experiences with it have become—for most of us—the most vivid and intense experiences of our lives." What is the way out of this tyranny of "money’s seemingly ultimate reality?"

Needleman: The inner world—the world of self-knowledge, the world of self-exploration—can be immensely more vivid than the world of money, of another quality. But most of us, unfortunately, have a very dull inner world. Therefore, the outer world, the world of money, seems more real. Our society has not helped us cultivate a real inner life.

marvenger
03-29-10, 12:56 AM
http://www.personaltransformation.com/Needleman.html

Needleman: The inner world—the world of self-knowledge, the world of self-exploration—can be immensely more vivid than the world of money, of another quality. But most of us, unfortunately, have a very dull inner world. Therefore, the outer world, the world of money, seems more real. Our society has not helped us cultivate a real inner life.

That is very true, but again very hard to do without money. Hence a Buddhist monk is not a Buddhist monk unless lay people bring him his food. At least there's a strong attempt to do this openly and honestly, a trade of material needs for spiritual work, unlike most other religions that rely heavily on obsfucation for their their bread.

cjppjc
03-29-10, 09:06 AM
Of course it's hard. It is supposed to be hard.:)

marvenger
03-29-10, 06:37 PM
if that was the makers goal he did a bloody a good job. i'm attracted to spiritual descriptions where people describe searching as knocking on the door from the outside looking for a way in but then realise they've been knocking on the door from the inside and they were already there. like there is no goal, only what there is, and its incredibly beautiful. Takes a kind of work or focus, that's also kind of effortless but you have to remember to do it, to comprehend and be with what there is though.

What has all this got to do with material needs? Hmmm well i think if the goal is to realise there is no goal and only to understand what there is, which fully understood isn't intellectual its a real connection, then there's infinite varieties physical, human potential, agency, unintended consequences etc things to understand and you don't need much material needs to maintain this work.. so don't worry too much if you can't get the material needs to do this and starve to death it was probably beyond your control anyway :)

cjppjc
03-29-10, 10:33 PM
if that was the makers goal he did a bloody a good job.


but you have to remember to do it, to comprehend and be with what there is though.




Needleman: One way is how we give our attention and care to other people.

Needleman is purposefully using the word attention. It goes well with what you said about having to remember.

The greatest man I ever knew used to always say "I need a way to remember." And he had a way. It took him a large part of his life to develop it. Maybe we can use the money experience as a way to remember who I am. And of course it is hard, I just don't know if that was the makers goal.:)

Money is how the ego manifest itself these days. I don't know how it did before. But the goal of remembering myself is a timeless effort to silence the ego.

marvenger
03-29-10, 10:54 PM
I've got an almost pathological aversion to money, but I'm also fascinated by it, the power it has to shape people and the world. I'm sure my aversion to it has a lot to do with ego too, nothings going to shape me kind of thing. Got to be more indifferent and accepting of it, generate it and use it when its good. its just such a contradictory bloody thing. I find it amazing that to go out and create surplus in some production enterprise, where you create high quality long lasting ACE1A stuff is actually detrimental to self. Money perpetuates a lot of bullshit.

cjppjc
03-30-10, 12:05 AM
I'm sure my aversion to it has a lot to do with ego too, nothings going to shape me kind of thing.

Yes, and if you can remember to remember yourself when you notice this aversion, to just be there, it is a powerful feeling. You can stop your ego for a moment.

marvenger
03-30-10, 01:11 AM
watching yourself watch. great stuff and man we've really managed to get off topic again :)

cjppjc
03-30-10, 09:15 PM
watching yourself watch. great stuff and man we've really managed to get off topic again :)

The title of the thread is What is There Besides Money? We are just having a conversation. You'll notice no one else comments. Maybe it is an uncomfortable subject. Or maybe we are the only ones interested. Or maybe many here don't think there is anything else :D

marvenger
03-30-10, 10:53 PM
I'm very familiar with the sound of crickets. I must think one day someone will be interested in my musings. No matter if not, I just like musing :). I think maybe people are too afraid of where the logic of their musings go, they have to be adult about things. Maybe there's logic problems in my musings, I try to lay them out so people can cut them down, and people like doing that here, and yet still no one does it. What does that mean?

cjppjc
03-30-10, 11:21 PM
I'm very familiar with the sound of crickets. I must think one day someone will be interested in my musings. No matter if not, I just like musing :). I think maybe people are too afraid of where the logic of their musings go, they have to be adult about things. Maybe there's logic problems in my musings, I try to lay them out so people can cut them down, and people like doing that here, and yet still no one does it. What does that mean?

I wouldn't worry about that. It's hard to cut down these kind of ideas. The sound of crickets may just mean that most people here would rather stick to money and politics. I find our conversations a welcome change from the depressing postings here. My post count has dropped as the depression deepens here.

marvenger
03-30-10, 11:46 PM
I know but not just talking about money and politics can really change the way you look at things. Its interesting, way more interesting than cocoon of money and politics, so its kind of depressing just checking out everyone absorbed in their cocoon.

ggirod
03-31-10, 12:28 AM
What is There Besides Money?


There is social interaction, sharing joys and sorrows with ones neighbors and getting the pleasure of helping them unselfishly.
There is good food that you or your neighbors grew and you prepared just to your liking for yourself/family/friends.
There is family who are an endless source of happiness, sadness, consternation, and complexity.
There is passion as expressed through arts, crafts, hobbies, and life itself. Best when shared but neat in its own right too.
There is love - also best when shared
There is security that comes much more from being competent to live whatever your means than by extending your means to meet your avarice.
There is meaning which comes from creating something that others appreciate, use, and get pleasure from. (open source is a great example)
There is interaction with the plants and animals in your surroundings. They are there to teach you things if you but watch and listen.
There is the satisfaction that comes of looking in the mirror and realizing that the person you are seeing is an OK guy who is better today than he was yesterday.


Instead of quoting a religious source, I will quote a source of wisdom. From the Gospel of Thomas (a good part of which was not included in the Bible):

113. His [Jesus'] disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

What is there besides money? There is heaven, if only you will look around.

Rajiv
03-31-10, 01:37 AM
I was rather enjoying the conversation between you and Marvenger. In a way you have drifted from the topic, but in another way you haven't.

The question that was posed by the article really was -- how do we compensate the people who contribute to the society at large, through volunteer (not for pecuniary benefit) work, and keep their body and soul together. Is there an obligation on part of the people who are the recipients of their beneficience to make sure that these people are taken care of and survive, and live, and are made to feel that they are valued.

Does the society at large owe them a debt? If so, how are they to be compensated (even though they may be doing the work from the goodness of their heart.)

And talking of Jacob Needleman, there were these conversations between Needleman and Krishnamurti

<iframe src="http://www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/awakening-of-intelligence/" border="0" frameborder="0" height="600" width="800"></iframe>

cjppjc
03-31-10, 07:47 AM
I have that book. It's wonderful. I've envied Needleman for his access to some of the greatest thinkers in the world. Krishnamurti is a great read, but an impossible goal.

cjppjc
03-31-10, 07:50 AM
Instead of quoting a religious source, I will quote a source of wisdom. From the Gospel of Thomas (a good part of which was not included in the Bible):


What is there besides money? There is heaven, if only you will look around.


Marvenger wrote:

i'm attracted to spiritual descriptions where people describe searching as knocking on the door from the outside looking for a way in but then realise they've been knocking on the door from the inside and they were already there. like there is no goal, only what there is, and its incredibly beautiful. Takes a kind of work or focus, that's also kind of effortless but you have to remember to do it, to comprehend and be with what there is though.


Could this be any closer to that?

ggirod
03-31-10, 11:00 AM
Could this be any closer to that?The great truths are expressed in many ways, in many cultures and contexts, by many wise people. That is my favorite indicator for a great truth.

To answer one of Rajiv's questions
The question that was posed by the article really was -- how do we compensate the people who contribute to the society at large, through volunteer (not for pecuniary benefit) work, and keep their body and soul together. Is there an obligation on part of the people who are the recipients of their beneficience to make sure that these people are taken care of and survive, and live, and are made to feel that they are valued.
I would point to a few means.
Rural school teachers, (often posts were restricted to single women) even into the early 20th century, were provided room and board in local homes at little or no cost so they could focus on their teaching.

The problem is solved for the religious by orders of volunteers who are supported at minimal levels by the church (nuns and brothers, for example) and who dedicate their lives to service in various ways.

Artists were supported in Europe/Britain by wealthy benefactors who provided them lodging in return for their enlightening and enriching company. Later, Edsel Ford supported Diego Rivera (http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=187) to produce an astounding work. That degree of "class" is unfortunately much too rare in modern society.

The bottom line today seems that most volunteers have to have a day job to keep body and soul together and then do what they can after their work is done. That someone contributes after supporting himself is probably a good indicator of passion, but it is also a loss to society which might benefit more from full time effort. Passion seems to be measured in willingness to accept restrictions in one's life (cloisters, monestaries, etc) or willingness to go beyond economic support to contribute. Passion expressed in vigor producing what one produces seems to be the one thing seldom supported. I guess if there were another way to determine who was "worthy" there might be more volunteers supported. Then again, if they want to work for free, why not let them?:rolleyes:

Addendum: I forgot to include my favorite example of the new wave in creative expression. Cory Doctorow (http://craphound.com/) is an established writer who now frequently publishes his works under a Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) license and gives away the eBook versions. When people can read his works for free he finds he still makes his money on the traditional dead trees versions. Now he is extending his free and open information evangelism to all sorts of craftspeople by his promotion of the Makers movement (http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=makers+movement) and its emphasis on local production and consumption with individual creativity and open sharing of techniques and methods.

Sometimes I think the society will ultimately split into two groups; the first segment is a group of people who seek the common good, make whatever they make, put their community first, and help support each other. Gardeners, skilled craftsmen, repairmen, seamstresses, teachers, and all the other skills that made up the communities of a century or two ago will be the focus of that group. The other segment will focus fully on the economy, pay Wall Street their large tithe, seek and gather money, and compete for the available wealth. They will continue the profligate consumption that is such a hallmark of life today. The disconnect between the two segments of society will widen until the second segment is almost insignificant to the first. Wall Street's tithe will not apply to those who share among themselves and what we think of as the economy will be something that people interact with when it cannot be avoided (for example, taxes). I am on my way to joining the first group, if I can. I will probably never aspire to success in the second group, in any case.

Rajiv
03-31-10, 11:43 AM
Aetius (http://itulip.com/forums/member.php?u=33078) had a very good series of articles on his site giving a historical perspective into how we got into the current mess -- they are well worth a read -- keep in mind what he says about the Shaena Project at the bottom of the articles

Are There No Prisons - Are There No Workhouses (http://screambucket.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=329:are-there-no-prisons-are-there-no-workhouses&catid=56:f-a)