Fair Exchange

What would the world be like if we ran economy in a fair exchange model? Without obscene dividends, abundance would come in the form of spreading wealth out, rather than up a hierarchical scale. How can we broadly, rather than hierarchically? The very nature of subconscious human thought revolves around an ego. Yet selflessness persists in our human nature, why is it not cultivated more? Considering the major religions require it as attribute most favored in paradise, how have we fallen so far into greed as a species? Fair seems such an idealistic word, but the inequality of our lives often tips fairness out of balance, and global perspective becomes a sort of curse. The nature of things assumes we already evolve in fairness, and judging something to be balanced is possible because we are all, as a species, operating under the same rules of engagement- but we’re not, so how do we make life fair?

I hear a lot about mindfulness, and being present, aware of our actions, and the consequences- this is all well and good, but then takes us fully into our own ego, revolving once more within, rather than without. Without might be a better goal- what can we, with so much, do without? It was always my fantasy as a child to become a Buddhist Monk- yes, a monk. My wise Mother pointed out I would have to take a vow of poverty and give up everything except a pair of sandals, my eating bowl, and a robe. She asked if I could give up everything like that and I knew I could not, and said as much. But the fantasy of simple living continues to this day, and with a lot of privilege, I have home/land, self employment, and thriving community. Also internet, personal vehicle, privet stock, and a full larder. What is of most value? My life? We’d all like to think so, but human life- especially quality of life, is robbed from most people- even the wealthiest, though money always helps, a lot in our current economic exchange.

What is life, but a struggle? Why? Because of scarcity- usually brought on through economic instability, due to global manipulation, and exploitation for personal gain. Those of us sitting at leisure reading this screen may have no direct action involved in the violence around us, but just by sitting here enjoying the internet, we’re advancing the economic violence across the world without too much direct imposition on ourselves- so we can reflect. In collage, I dove deeply into Montaigne, a French nobleman who locked himself away in a tower, waited on by his wife- hand and foot, while he expounded on vice, habit, and accursed gallstones. His writing on self was profound, to those privileged enough to read and sit with his lessons. Vice forms habit, and if I’m starting to sound like some fevered religious zealot- it’s not far from the truth. To live a life of quality and soundness, you have to be tenaciously present. Food, water, shelter, and mind have to be free and abundant. How many of us can claim this to be true- especially the mindset, but for so many, even the basic survival conditions of food, water, and shelter are far from present.

In North America, we hide it well, all our struggles, and then people break, reach for violence, and murder themselves with hate. The Nation is shocked- our thoughts and prayers are for ourselves. Think about when an Amazon package should be arriving and how much a co-pay at the pharmacy will be to keep the drugs coming. Think about our collective abandonment of education, the lifelong journey of learning, and what tomorrow’s children will be taught. Pray for a light at the end of this dark, winding tunnel. I walked one last summer, a dark, cold, damp tunnel- through a mountain in The Cascades. We knew there was another side, and eventually saw the light, but we also knew we would have to come back through this tunnel a second time, in our return. That could be part of human thinking, that life’s a line that starts at one end and goes to another, terminating at a certain point, never crossing back or coming around- you can see how Buddhism appealed at an early age. This linear thinking is an idealistic conception- great for certain survival situations, but if you can only go one way, you’re trapped in a predictable model of stagnation.

Nature, in all her wisdom, embraces a template for life. It’s more a grid, with species intricately woven into one another in a complex system as a whole. Predictability does embed its self deeply within this fabric- life must consume to thrive, when imbalance happens, nature corrects its self in time. The pendulum swings, never quite landing in the same place twice, yet bound within a landscape of finality. Her carrying capacity is vast, yet limited, and we as the human species have forgotten this simple truth. We’ll keep sending our thoughts and prayers, but not change our habits to aid in a better future. Or we will struggle, perhaps forced, by nature herself, to prevail in our evolution forward. Here in Western thought, it’s exactly that- the mind, which is our greatest hindrance or help, depending on how we use it. Sadly, through decades of criminal neglect, our thoughts are now prayed upon, and our lands are scabbed- cankers of consequences.

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