Fiat Money and Faith in Your Government

June 16, 2011
Lincoln memorial cent, with the S mintmark of ...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are not currently alarmed about the state of the world, you are asleep. I am alarmed. It is making my life very difficult. I do not know which way to turn. Everything I learned as a kid was based on the old paradigm of consumption and acquisition.

I am developing new habits, but I am struggling. I have always hated the money system. It wasn’t until recently that I realized why. It makes us slaves. When a bank gives money, it just makes it up.

It makes an account and puts some digital blips in there and we call it money. They figure you are a good risk in paying that money back. Then they add interest. They do not give you the interest. They have never given anyone the interest on their mortgage and loan. This means that each person who must pay back the bank is competing for the original dollars the bank loaned and the interest that does not exist. This means everyone is competing for the same existing dollars to pay back what they borrowed and the interest. This means that it is physically impossible for every person to pay back their debt. There is not enough money in the system.

Money started as trade. I have something of value I can trade you for something you have of value. The national currency system only allows you to trade if you have money. It has nothing to do with your skills, other resources or abilities. The national currency system actually inhibits trade. Do you think the banks are going to care about this? They want everyone scrabbling after the meager bucks, so they can make their interest off other people’s efforts. In the current national money system there will always be losers, there simply isn’t enough money to go around.

This pisses me off. Nature takes as much as it gives back. It does not stockpile resources and it never charges interest. Nature is the ultimate authority. The systems of humans were developed to benefit human. Not all humans, but specifically the ones in power. They are the ones making the systems and designing them to satisfy their own greed. Our government is a greed machine. If we are all paying taxes, then why are they closing the parks and cutting programs that actually help the people? Because our money is being siphoned off into the pockets of the very rich.

The disparity between rich and poor is becoming painfully obvious. As far as I can see the biggest obstacle to  freedom for the average citizen is housing costs. People are enslaved to the money system to pay either the bank or a landlord or the tax collector in order to have a place to keep their body warm and safe on the planet. The fact that you can even own land is absurd. The land belongs to Mama Earth and all her creatures.

Humans developed the real estate system out of greed. Now we are all slaves to it. Why  a person cannot exist anywhere they like free of charge has never made sense to me. We are on this earth and by virtue of our birth it is our birthright to have a place on it. I will be beholden to no greedy man, and, yes, the systems were developed mostly by men.

The type of money system we have is fiat money. This is money with no inherent value. It is arbitrarily set. Since Nixon, the dollar is no longer backed by gold. Wiki puts it this way ” fiat money is based solely on faith in the government issuing the money.”  The value of your money is equal to your faith in the government.  Awake yet?

Self-discovery through discovery of place.

December 27, 2010

Welcome. Point Reyes Discovery is an exploration of self-discovery thorugh discovery of place. Whenever we venture outward, we inevitably venture inward because no matter where you go, there you are. You cannot take a vacation from yourself.

Self-discovery is an avenue to true happiness. The deeper you go into the heart of yourself, the deeper you go into the heart of truth. A change of place can lead to a change in perspective, especially if you are open to new possiblities and ways of being.

Personal needs spur us into action. If we are hungry, we seek food. If we are lonely, we seek company. If we are cold we seek shelter. Identifying universal human needs clarifies what is universally important.

Many of the activities we undertake these days are destructive to the planet. We all know that, yet we may not know how to stop the destruction or understand our own role in it. If we identify the needs underlying our actions, we begin to understand what it is that we are seeking. Once we know what we are seeking, we can begin to question our means of attaining it.

For example, have you ever found yourself racing toward the mall or sitting mindlessly shopping on the internet? These activities are instigated by some kind of need. The question is what is that need. Are you going to the mall because your bedroom lamp is blown out and you need new light bulbs or are you going because of a vague sense of restlessness and unfulfillment?

Inquire into the unfulfillment. Perhaps you need connection, comfort, inspiration or recognition. Is going shopping likely to fulfill these needs?  Our society has programmed us to think that it can. Capitalism sends us shopping to fulfull a variety of needs, most of them unfulfillable by material goods.

Commitments for the New Year

December 27, 2010
Happy New Year

Image by tipiro via Flickr

New Years is in a few days. I’ve thought about what the world needs at this point to right itself and what I can do to help.

The world needs for members of the human race to shake off the stupor of a media induced need to over consume.

The world needs for each person to take control of his or her own actions and take responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

The world needs for humans to recognize their power to create and destroy.

The world needs for humans to realize that electronics and cheap fast food are not a birth right.

The world needs for humans to realize that we are the problem, therefore, we are also the solution.

If you feel like you are living on a runaway train, you are. Our culture has created an unsustainable status quo that the rest of the world is trying to emulate. The result will be death of our planet. More habitat will be lost. More toxins will be produced and expelled into the environment. More trash will pile up. We will lose more species. Nature will lose so much of herself that she will forget how she used to be. We will never be able to get back to what we once had.

Technology is feeding on nature. If we think more technology can get us out of this situation, we are mistaken. More technology means more consumption of natural resources which means more death of the very system that sustains all life on the planet. The answer is to realize we are on a runaway train. If we do not figure out a way to jump off or stop it, we will crash and die. This is the inevitable result of our current course.

You can start this very minute to make a difference. Stop what you are doing and ask yourself if you have all of your basic needs fulfilled. The answer for every single person on the planet will be no! Our basic need for survival is being undermined. We do not feel safe. If you think that this kind of global insecurity will not have repercussions, you are mistaken. People are reacting to this fear. They are looking for ways to fulfill their need for security in an insecure world. The problem is, they are looking to fulfill their need by consuming. They look to money as a means of security, but no amount of money is going to save you from polluted air, water and food. Money will  not you bring you peace of mind. Money and goods will only accelerate the runaway train on its current trajectory.

If you do not feel healthy, peaceful, hopeful and connected, what can you do to create that frame of mind? The first part is a not doing. Quell your impulse to reach out to buy one more gadget. Quell your impulse to put more food and drink in your mouth. Quell you impulse to blame someone else for the state of your life and the condition of this planet. Once you have quelled your culturally programmed impulses, you can begin to take true action. Think about what you really want in your life, what you are truly missing.  Now do one small action with complete awareness of what you are doing and what you hope for the result to be. It can be a very small action. The most important part is that you be aware of the need you are trying to fulfill and how the action that you are consciously undertaking is going to help you fulfill that need.

Even if you spend your time in a state of not doing, you are doing the planet a great service. It is better to not do, than to do mindlessly. Acting mindlessly is what has gotten us and our planet into this trouble. Give everyone a break and do nothing for a while, maybe a long while.

Finding Grey Whale in Tomales Bay

December 27, 2010
Gray whale - Eschrichtius robustus - at Scammo...

Image via Wikipedia

We found the whale. I called a friend to see if he wanted to go to find the whale with me and my son. We drove to Lawson’s Landing and walked out on the pier. Families were making a day of catching crab and drinking beer. They  had seen the whale earlier. I was a little worried we had missed it.

Upon discussion, we decided to walk toward the point to look for said whale in a sheltered bay where he might be feeding. We began to walk. After a while my friend with the bionoculars said “There he is!” I did not see him, but I heard him, his low breath as he exhaled and blew water from his head.

After ten minutes of walking and looking, I finally caught a glimpse of a fin, then a tail coming out of the water. He was staying pretty much in the same spot. My son eyed a steep dune. I gave the go ahead and he trudged up and to the top. My friend went next and finally I made it. It was the perfect spot to hang out with whale. We sat in the winter sun and listened and looked for over an hour.

It started to get cold as the sun dipped, so we headed back across the beach picking up trash along the way. Whoever reads this, please pick up any plastic you see at the beach. A turtle, bird or fish might eat it and die. What we as humans are doing to the animals is a crime against nature. Really it is a crime against ourselves, since we are part of nature. It’s time to wake up and take responsibility.

Hoping for whale in Point Reyes.

December 16, 2010
Gray whale - Eschrichtius robustus - at Scammo...

Image via Wikipedia

My friend Brett called me this morning at 8:15. He said “Where are you?” “At home”, I said.

 I was still in bed, though not asleep. My four year old had come in for a little snuggle and he wanted to play with his basket of plastic animals.

When I heard the cell phone I jumped out of bed to answer it, knowing about the plans to see the whale.

I rushed in to my boy to say “We have to hurry.” He doesn’t like to be hurried. I had 45 minutes to get me showered, dressed and ready and him fed, clothed and dropped of at school (which can take 20 minutes of solid kisses, hugs and goodbyes). Somehow I did it.

I showed up at the meeting place 5 minutes early. Brett was no where in sight. I called his cell phone to say I was heading to Marshall and would meet him there. I decided to make a quick trip around town to look for him and sure enough there he was packing up the van.

We jumped in and drove to the meeting place in Marshall. Our plan was to take out the motor boat to find the grey whale who had been hanging around the last couple of weeks. We got to the site and there was a lot of hub bub with tying kayaks to a trailer and getting all the necessary gear for 7 or so people to kayak.

I was getting the feeling that I might end up kayaking instead of going in the motor boat. This was ok except for the fact that last week I had taken a roll in the winter frigid waters of Tomales Bay and was a little gun shy.

I told John, the owner of the motor boat, I thought I was going in the motor boat. He said “You have two arms right?” I told him about being scared because of the roll and he said something about getting back on the horse and I explained that I was afraid of getting on the back of a whale.

Anyway, I was willing to go.

I packed up an extra spray skirt and vest and found a mismatched pair of soggy gloves and waited for the motor boat to get hitched to the van.

I talked with Pam, the other owner of the kayaking company, about banking and smart meters and the reality of the situation dawned on me. The motor boat was not working. They were running water through it and trying to jump the battery with one of the cars, which struck me as dangerous.

Towns of rural West Marin in Marin County. Poi...

Image via Wikipedia

There were other people waiting for us and the gear at a site further up the bay and time was passing. The wind was starting to pick-up and my enthusiasm was waning. I ended-up getting a ride with Pam back to Point Reyes Station.

On the way, we stopped for clam chowder at the Marshall Store and talked with the guy working there who used to work as a guide for the kayaking company. We enjoyed a painting of a salmon done on the back of an old wooden pallet. The story goes that half was painted by the store owner’s daughter and half by the owner’s son.

An interesting testament to cooperation. 

They gave us some good garlic bread packed up in foil and we headed off to drop Brett stuff off in  Point Reyes. He had decided to bike back and we thought he might need his stuff for a birding outing later that day. We ran into him a little way down the road. He had stopped to take a picture for his brother of the hottie chica on the oyster farm’s sign. 

He didn’t need his stuff right away, so we headed back north with a plan to try to see that whale from the Lawson’s Landing Pier. Turns out they don’t sell gas in Tomales, so we wouldn’t make it. We turned again and headed to the kayaking offices in Point Reyes Station.

We sat on the cement outside the front window taking in some sun and anticipating the oncoming storm. Finally, I went home. I stopped at the store to talk to my boy’s dad and work out about picking him up from school and went home to check my e-mail and take a nap.

Winter is pressing down especially hard and the sky is now gray. The storm will be here soon. I have a Spanish class tonight and I am glad to have a chance to see my cute teacher. I hope the whale is ok. I feel kind of relieved that we were not hunting him down and annoying him with a motor boat. He can wallow in the shallows in peace.

I wonder what a storm is like for a whale.

Simple Life

July 6, 2010

A simple satisfying life can be developed through attention to the four relationships. Within these four relationships we find the secrets to unshakeable happiness.

As humans we have four jobs. They are as follows:

1) Take care of our bodies and the earth by extension of the reasoning the health of our bodies is contingent upon the health of the earth.

2) Get to know yourself. This means take time to learn the contents of your thoughts through meditation or some other practice. Mental hygiene is essential for clear communication and right action.

3) Learn to communicate effectively with others and develop compassion.

4) Care for your material possessions and your relationships with them. This means make sure that you are in control of your possessions and that they serve a positive purpose as opposed to them controlling you. By extension, this will help take the burden of pollution from the natural world.

Simple, not easy.

Four Relationships

July 6, 2010

Experience is made up of four relationships. They are:

1) Your relationship with nature. This is an energetic relationship. Nature is the source of your chi. You maintain it through keeping your body open and flexible so the chi can move through it and by what goes into your body meaning: food, air and water.

2) Your relationship with yourself. This is the inner dialogue that keeps you company day-to-day.

3) Your relationships with others. This can be people, animals or plants.

4) Your relationship with the inanimate material world. This is stuff fabricated by humans as well as material objects found in nature.

These four relationships are interrelated. Any moment of experience can be dissected to reveal characteristic of each of the four relationships.

Use awareness of these relationships to order your experience and your life.

Tarot Suit of Wands as Life-Energy and Motivation

June 10, 2010

I have made for myself the year-long project of writing about one Tarot card per week. Spring is for wands and vitality, summer for cups and love, fall for pentacles and money and winter for swords and happiness.

I am coming to the end of the Wands section and wanted to summarize. The wands are about motivation and how it shapes your use of energy.

In my interpretation, the wands represent life-energy. They represent the fire element. Fire is literally the life burning within. The life burning within us originates in nature and the cosmic system. We are essentially conduits of the Source energy.

When we act we are employing our life energy towards some objective. This objective may be conscious or subconscious.

The goal in working with the Tarot is to bring these objective into conscious awareness. When we are conscious of our objectives, we are effective in using our energy to achieve our goals.

Our source of energy begins in the ace of wands. It is a physical beginning of any action. It is the ushering forth of the life force. It flows through us and has infinite potential for expression.

As we move through the wands we see some of the forces (motivations) that shape our use of life energy.

The two of wands symbolizes the effect of choice on the use of energy. There is always a point of delay when a conscious decision must be made regarding the use of energy. When actions are initiated by unconscious motivations, there is no delay. Energy is expended and often squandered toward goals that do not serve conscious objectives.

Conscious motivation carries power. It requires a clarification of values. You must decide what is worth doing.

The three of wands shows progress toward a conscious goal. You can take a moment to stand back and watch the events you set in motion. You have consciously invested your life-energy and the investment is paying-off. You are still standing alone, but you have begun to include others in your objectives.

You are at the ready to resume action as needed to carry the project to completion.

The four of wands shows a consolidation of energy in celebration with others. All are coming together toward a common goal. The coming together is significant. It takes a lot of energy to bring people and resources together to pursue a common goal.

This stage of success must be noted and celebrated. It will create the foundation for efforts into the next stage of development.

The five of wands indicates change and conflict because of engagement with others. You have come through the consolidation phase and must deal with motivations and desires introduced by others in the project. This is a natural part of any collaborative effort.

The most important point is to stay engaged in the process. Collaboration is not about winning, it is about growing. You can accomplish so much more through collaboration.

The six of wands represents stability and success. The project was initiated by you, but the victory of achievement is shared by all. You are the frontrunner, but without your team of collaborators, you would not have this victorious celebration of achieving stable success. You collaborators willingly share your victory.

The seven of wands signifies your ability to stand your ground even when there is opposition. If you have consciously chosen your objectives and they continue to align with your values, you can withstand opposition.

Even though your efforts are collaborative you can still stand on your own and defend your objectives because you believe in them.

The eight of wands, like all the eights, is a card of strength. The wands in this card are unfettered, but this is not a beginning. Eight of wands shows you are going up-in-the-air from a position of strength. You are in a position to take a break from obligations and use your energy in a new way.

This might mean a vacation, but not just any vacation. This is likely to be the summer of your life. You are well established, strong and solid. You are motivated by your success to take some time out and enjoy it.

The nine of wands shows a figure battered by experience. He is reflecting on his past actions and evaluating their worth. This reflection comes near the end of a project cycle. The objective has been reached, lessons have been learned, but life does not stop.

In order to move forward with the greatest strength, past performance must be evaluated.

The ten of wands show completion of the project cycle. As is the nature of life, other projects are beginning as this one is completing. To avoid being overburdened, you must delegate some of the work. Your mature projects are easier to delegate, because they have already fulfilled their purpose.

Even if you have created a successful money-making machine, your passion is likely inspired by a new idea. Honor natural cycles; release obligations that no longer serve your most important objectives.

The underlying cycle in any process is the same. It is governed by the forces underlying number sequences. One is a beginning, two is a choice, three is creation, four is consolidation, five is change, six is stability, seven is perseverance, eight is strength, nine is reflection and ten is completion.

What’s wonderful about analyzing the cycle is recognizing the opportunities to celebrate throughout. Also, it is interesting to note that the process does end with a celebration. After the party of the eight, there is the inevitable clean-up and initiation of a new project.

Go here for the original write-ups on the meaning of each Tarot card.

Where is Food in the Tarot?

October 24, 2009

I asked the question where is food in the tarot and I got these five cards:

9pentacles  pagecups  3pentacles  2pentacles  5pentacles

Of course getting 4 out of five as pentacles makes perfect sense, since pentacles represent the physical world and food is absolutely basic to our existence as material beings. Interesting there are no Major Arcana cards. And there is that one cups card, the Page.

9pentacles The nine of pentacles is emblematic of the Slow Food movement. See the snail in the foreground? This elegant lady is obviously enjoying and at home in her environment. You get the sense that her people have been on the land for centuries and that she enjoys a rich life built on simple pleasures cultivated into artful living. The grapes are lush and ripe, the trees are green, the sun shines, she has cultivated wild nature through the falcon. She clearly has everything she needs.

According to Arthur Waite’s The Pictorial key to the Tarot the divinatory meanings of this card are: prudence, safety, success, accomplishment, certitude and discernment. These are qualities necessary to the production and enjoyment of slow food.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_Food following are some of the objectives of the Slow Food Movement.

Objectives

The Slow Food movement incorporates a series of objectives within its mission, including:

pagecups Here is the page of cups looking at a fish in his cup. Cups are symbolic of love, communication and relationships. Is the page going to eat this fish? He looks more like he is studying it. One of Wait’s divinatory meanings is “a message.” It does look like this fish is delivering a message to the young student. What could he be saying? I imagine he is saying something like:

“Hi. I know you were probably looking for water in this cup and instead you found me. Well, I want you to know that I am the water. Without the water, I cease to exist. If you want to continue to enjoy us for your dinner, you must take care of the water. If you do not, your cup will run dry. Now give me a kiss and put me back in the water. I’m late for a class.”

The health of the animals (including us) is a testament to the health of our water, air and soil. We are all one. I heard Jeanette Armstrong in a talk about indigenous wisdom versus systems theory. She said her people would never consider the salmon without also considering the river. The Western way of thought is to reduce experience to individual, unrelated concepts. This strips our perception of inherent interrelatedness. Next time you think of a salmon, look at the image in your mind. Is it a dead salmon on a plate or is it a live, healthy salmon jumping up the sunlight waters of a running river? The former imagined salmon is contingent upon the latter imagined salmon. Try changing your mental image and see how you feel. I rejoice in the jumping salmon.

3pentacles The three of pentacle doesn’t show anything living other than humans. They are using their collective efforts to erect a cathedral, which is a symbol of our highest spiritual aspiration, so you would think this was effort well spent. To my mind, something is missing, something that would enliven this work. It is love of nature. This card implies love for God since they are building a cathedral, but what about love of life and the animate material world? I’m all for taking the roof off this building, laying in some soil and inviting the townsfolk to garden and eat in living monument to our creator. Our Western tradition of philosophical separation of mind, body and spirit has run its course. It’s time to reclaim the body of the world and realize our highest spiritual aspirations through caring for our physical selves and our earth, this means, among other things, enjoying good, slow food.

2pentacles The two of pentacles shows a guy dancing and juggling with the shape of the waves mirroring his motion. This card speaks to the dynamic nature of the natural world. In order to enjoy life one must become accustomed to its unpredictability. We are most alive when we are in the flow. Our bodies do this dance every moment we are alive as does the rest of the natural world. There is the water again. I get the feeling this guy is following the advice of the fish from the Page’s cup.

5pentaclesThe five of pentacles is a continuation of the idea in the three of pentacles. Here is a couple of broken down bodies struggling with Nature as the monolithic church shines behind them. The church is of no help to them in this moment of physical suffering. Take care of your body. It is your cathedral. Do not suffer in the name of the spirit. That is an old, silly habit. Skip church this week and tend your garden. You will find what you need.

 

The Story of Stuff

October 22, 2009

I went to the Bioneer’s Conference last week. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many like-minded people. There was a woman there named Annie Leonard. She talked about her 20-minute video called the “Story of Stuff.”

SOS_BUTTON

I just finished watching it on youtube. It’s animated and packs a lot of information into a very simple format. It details the process our consumer goods currently go through. First, materials are extracted from Earth. Next goods are produced. Third, they are distributed. Fourth, they are consumed (i.e. purchased). And finally they are disposed of. Here is my tarot interpretation of this process and the concepts in the video. I do this interpretation to employ the tarot as a map for finding our way from the past, through the present and into a flourishing future. Goodness knows we need all the help we can get to find our way out of this mess.

Extraction

3empress I have chosen the Empress to represent extraction. When we go in and extract non-renewable natural resources, we are hacking at the body of our sacred Mother. We are removing chunks of flesh, blood, sometimes entire limbs. How can our Mother continue to live if we do this? The Empress represents natural life and fertility. If she remains healthy, she will continue to be fertile and provide us with everything we need. It is truly crazy that we are hacking her up and expecting her to continue to provide for us. She will not stop providing for us out of spite. She will still love us, but she will be rendered incapable of expressing her love for us and for life by the loss of her own vitality. Her death is our death. I am not mincing words here because what we are doing is truly crazy.

Production

8pentacles I have chosen the eight of pentacles to represent production. Here a young man sits in quiet absorption practicing his craft. This image represents the original meaning of work. We produce something with our own hands and perfect our craft as we perfect ourselves. Work is an integral part of expressing and realizing the potential of our creative gifts as humans. The production Annie is talking about looks nothing like this. Production is done largely by machines. Once you put production under the control of machines it goes beyond the human scale. Humans producing goods yield products at the rate that human can actually use them. Machines over produce leading us to over consumption. We have been over producing and over consuming up to this point because we can. We have been so enamored with our creative ability we have not stopped until now to consider the consequence.

Distribution

4pentacles I have chosen the four of pentacles to represent distribution. This man sits holding tightly to his money against an urban background. It represents the idea of holding on to money and valuing money for money sake. This is what drives the retail industry. The merchants selling the goods are working to make money. They are not thinking about the steps that have lead up to the production of the goods. They want only to skim their profit off the top as they distribute as many goods to as many consumers as possible. Because they are detached from the production system, they do not take responsibility for the causes and effects of their activities. This greed for money for money sake is so ingrained in our Capitalist mentality, it is considered seditious to question it. And question it, Annie does.

Consumption

15devil I have chosen the Devil to represent consumption. The Devil represents attachment to the material world and to the material aspects of being human. Advertisers work to cultivate our obsession with our physical appearance and the idea that what we physically own represents our value as beings. This is a media inspired illusion targeted at our basest fears and drives. As you can see, the lovers are trapped. The devil stands between them. Love and awakening to the spiritual aspects of life threaten the Devil’s hold. He therefore keeps the lovers in chains and remains supreme in his material dominion. Advertisers are working in cahoots with this Devil to keep us away from each other and on the consumption track.

Disposal

 20judgement I have chosen judgement to represent disposal. This judgement represents standing before your maker and reviewing the whole of your life to see how you have spent it. A great pile of trash is what we have to look back on. It is a sad reminder of misguided effort, naked greed and short sightedness. As we stand surrounded by trash trying to justify ourselves, we know that the truth of our lives is in what we manifest. Now that the blinders are off, let us stop trying to justify what we have done. There is no time for justification, guilt or recrimination. We need to get to work to clean up the trash and build a social system that provides for humans and all living creatures – system that is imbued in love, sparkles with vitality, supports our loving Mother and development of our highest human potential.

This is what that world looks like:

21world

This is the final card in the Major Arcana series. It is the integration of all aspects of our humanity. The result is universal consciousness. To get there we now need to “turn up the volume” as Annie says, on our message.

Break the tower of illusion:

16tower

Face the truth:

17star

Deal with reality no matter how scary it might be:

18moon

Emerge empowered by becoming fully conscious:

19sun

Hear the call and answer it:

20judgement

A map indeed. Let’s get to work. Click this link Story of Stuff to find a page on Annie’s web site with links to organizations involved in solving problems at every stage in the process. Thank you Annie!