For the updates see the Examples section at the end of the post.
Why a focus on giving is the key to true peace and prosperity for all.
Heaven and Hell
Once there was a man who died and when he got to the other side an angel greeted him. Soon they stood in an elevator with only two buttons; One for hell and the other for heaven.
“Which one would you like to see first?” Asked the angel.
The man thought for a moment, “let’s check out hell first,” he said. The angel pressed the button, the elevator descended for what seemed like eternity but soon the doors opened to hell. What the man saw totally shocked him. In hell was this incredibly long table and on the table was the most incredible banquet he had ever seen! There were delicious looking meats, and fruits and dished that put earth meals completely to shame. But surrounding the table was an equally horrendous sight. Around the table were thousands of people all crying in complete agony. When the man looked closer he saw that the reason they were all crying was because the forks they had were longer than their arms and they couldn’t get the food into their mouths! “Get me out of here!” said the man, I can’t stand it! Take me to heaven! The angel obliged and soon the elevator was rising fast. Eventually it came to heaven, the bell rung and the doors opened. The man just stood there. He was too shocked to move. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. In front of him was the same table as in hell with the same delicious banquet. Then he saw something that made him smile and laugh with total amazement. “Of course!” he shouted. When he looked around the table he saw the same amount of people but this time instead of cries of agony he heard cries of joy. The people had the same overly long forks too. But here there was one important difference — they were serving each other.
The problem that must be solved
In the beginning man conquered man. If one group wanted something they just declared war, attacked and took it from another group. Eventually this balanced out and we reached a stalemate or global balance of power. Our current capitalistic economic system is the latest evolution of this type of thinking. The balance of power is still working itself out so that when two groups cannot easily conquer and dominate one another than they fall back into an uneasy truce and trade. But even in this uneasy peace the idea is still to attempt though “negotiations” and shrewd business tactics to gain the upper hand and “get” or “win” more than the other group.
Our society has fully embraced this way of thinking and now believes that if you give you will lose. That instead of giving you must take. So now we have a society where almost everyone is focused on taking, getting, capitalizing and taking advantage of everyone and everything around them. A society where almost everyone is constantly seeking more and more, with no real regard to the welfare of others, in a vain attempt to find peace and happiness. A society that values accumulating for the sake of accumulating. We have an economics of fear and scarcity and lack. It is based on the belief, no the reality of the belief, that there is not enough to go around and so that is our reality. Currently our corporations are the pinnacle of this belief system. They are the sum aggregate of everyone’s belief in lack.
Capitalism is based on this equation. Profit = sales- expenses. The idea as everyone knows is to reduce expenses as much as possible and increase sales as much as possible for maximum profit. Think about it in terms of expense being what is needed to produce the product or service to be sold or that expenses are what is needed to be given back to the world to produce the product or service. Another way of looking at it is that expenses are what is given. The capitalist wants to give the least amount he can to get as much as he can. And not just that, but to accumulate what he gets for the sake of accumulating. You have people and companies keeping score. Who has the most money? We don’t ask why? Why do we need this much money? It is just assumed that if you have more it’s better just by it’s very nature. So ten million is better than one million and one million is better than ten thousand etc. But, what we have to understand is that the accumulation of money without purpose is meaningless.
So people say, “Yeah, but if I had a billion dollars I could do so much good in the world.”
Well yes, that would be true but the question is, at what price? In fact, so much damage would have been caused by the unloving methods used to accumulate that sum as to far out weigh the philanthropical benefits of giving it away. To take money attained in an unloving manner and then to give it to a benevolent cause is insanity. The damage is already done. We call it “giving back” but why “take” in the first place? If we freely give our love in the beginning then there is nothing to give back. There will be no damage to repair.
We have created these machines, giant computers really, called corporations that now greedily consume everything in their path. Like a cancer on the planet, these machines will destroy us. Our corporations strip our plant of its natural resources and poison the environment. They, treat workers with disdain, virtually enslaving millions to lives of drudgery and death. Their cutthroat business tactics teach greed as the highest value. This is the price we pay, and to do this in the name of progress is wrong. This system cannot go on. If we understand the love energy dynamics involved we will see that what we have currently economically is a black hole. When what we need is a sun. What is a black hole? It is a negative sun, a star that is sucking in everything around it, even light. It is a taker, for the universe, a greedy capitalist. Where as a star, it is a lover. She gives of her light freely to the space around her asking nothing in return. Can you imagine the sun sending the earth a bill! A black hole, on the other hand, gives nothing and takes everything — the polar opposite. Unlike the sun, with a black hole, foreclosure and bankruptcy papers are always imminent! This analogy is not perfect but we get the idea. We want a system where we, and the institutions built from us are suns, givers of love, givers of life. Our corporations by their very nature are mechanizations of death. Their sole purpose is to suck the life out of everything they touch, yes, some of us do get something in return but in reality we all pay a price greater than any perceived benefit.
But as society we do not want to see this.
For example, look at the way many of our multinational corporations, of which we are all a part, operate in third world countries. They bribe corrupt government officials into giving them lucrative contracts that allow them to extract either natural resources or labor at grossly deflated prices. These resources are then processed in some form or fashion and then resold at a profit. The result is that many of the indigenous populations in these countries are in complete states of poverty while the multinational corporations their countries do business with post record profits. It’s still an adversarial relationship. It’s still conquering; only it’s done though the accepted practice of “global free market economics”.
The problem with this way of thinking is that the circle of love is broken. People are either afraid to give or they are afraid to receive because they don’t feel worthy. So what has happened is a serious short circuit. There are those who are directing as much energy as possible to themselves and the energy is not flowing out again. It’s just a straight line not a circle and it’s only flowing one way.
This cannot last, because capitalism is, by its very nature, ultimately about taking and conquering. It’s about giving the least to gain the most. And, therefore, it goes against the laws of love. It’s a system that constantly sells the lie that when it reaches its full efficiency everyone will be rich. That by working hard, everyone can be a millionaire. It’s a system that requires a permanent underclass, otherwise who will do the “low wage work”. It’s a system that requires us to prey on one another. To look at each other like meat to be hunted and consumed. It’s a system that requires us to look at each other constantly asking the question “What can I get from him?”
Therefore, in the long run it is not sustainable. If it continues in its current form and at it’s current pace it will break down like it has done during the great depressions, recessions and revolutions of the past. And, when it breaks down, not only will the societies that depend on it break down but, it’s also possible that the very life giving systems of our planet will break down too, threatening our very existence. (Did I hear someone say global warming.)
Capitalism has served us well, it has allowed us, with our competing selfish interests, to trade and interact with each other without killing each other. It works, to a limited degree, but we must not confuse the fact that capitalism works with the idea that it’s the only and best system for us, because it’s not. It is now time for us as a society to evolve and take our interactions to the next level, the level of love!
Right now one of the core beliefs in our society is that if we could only get more money, ideally a million dollars, than we will be happy and at peace and all of our problems would be solved. In other words, we have been taught that the way to heaven is to have a ton of money. This is simply not true. The way to heaven is to help one another with our gifts.
The other erroneous belief is that we have to work hard to make things happen. Struggle is only an indication of our separation from God, the true source of everything. When we work with God instead of against him we can accomplish much with no struggle.
The other erroneous belief is that we are separate from each other and it’s “everyman for himself”. Survival of the fittest. Winner takes all. That if we are to “make it,” we must lookout for ourselves and fight to the top of the hill. This is also wrong, no one got very far just by helping themselves. The societies that do progress in the long run are the ones where people help each other.
The other erroneous belief is that there is not enough to go around. This one is probably the most insidious as it causes us to turn against each other. The reality is there is plenty to go around but only if we learn to share our gifts with each other unconditionally.
So you have situations where even when people want to help they feel they cannot because “there is not enough” and if they do help they will lose what they do have. And then to make matters worse, there are those who take advantage of those with these beliefs to everyone’s detriment.
The root of all of these erroneous beliefs is a lack of understanding of the one true power in the universe and how it works… the power of love. Love goes in a circle. What goes out comes back. Every major religion talks about it. Give and you shall receive. Well this is literally true. Some believe that if they give only then will God reward them and others believe that if they give they will just get a good feeling of satisfaction. No, love is a much more potent power than that. When you give AND when you are willing to receive you complete the circle of love which is the circle of life. Look at life; all of it is a great circle of giving and receiving.
What love really is
Before we can talk about the economics of love we have to talk about what love really is. Love is way more than just the feeling you have towards your love ones. It is that and so much more. First of all love is the dynamic energy that is the fabric of the universe. It is the unifying energy that keeps everything together and everything working smoothly; From planets to machines, to systems, organizations, and people. Love is God. You are love, and your divinely inspired gifts are how you will express love into the world. Quality is love. Now the thing about love is that it follows some laws. Let’s call them the laws of love. One of the main ones is that love is a conscious living energy that wants to flow as unconditionally outward to help and heal as much as possible. That is it’s very essence. Love doesn’t need anything. Love wants to flow as freely as possible. When love flows as freely as possible this is called unconditional love, the most powerful type of love there is. Unfortunately, on an economic level, our society operates with conditional love. If we see our commercial transactions with one another as exchanges of love energy we can see that the conditions we place on these exchanges is a form of conditional love. This type of love is not as powerful as unconditional love, whether its personal relationships or business relationships.
Our gifts are our love to give
What we have to understand is that our gifts are our love expressed here on earth. So if your gift is art or music or engineering and if this is what you love to do than this is your love. Now the thing is, in our society, when we have a gift the next thing we tend to think about is how to make a living with it. And, since we live in a capitalistic society that is all about getting, we tend to think “Ok how can I get with my gift.” “How can I make a living.” “How can I make money.” We don’t tend to think “how can I serve.” Yet this is the crucial difference. Since these gifts are born of love and composed of love their purpose is to help make the world better. Their purpose is to serve. So having these gifts makes us angels of love. We are here to serve others with our gifts. Our joy will come from letting this love flow as freely as possible not from our acquisition of material goods. Now I am not saying that we should not receive money for our gifts and I am not saying that we should not have material things. In fact these things will come faster the more freely we share our gifts with the world. Let it flow. We can sell our gifts but there is a better way that is more in alignment with the quality and essence of love. What we want to do is to be in alignment with this energy that is flowing though us. Love wants to be free so we must let it out.
We must give our gifts away.
We are all one
We have to understand a basic law of the universe. Give and you shall receive. See the problem is we think we are disconnected from everyone else. So we feel that if we give to someone that we will lose something. But this is not true. See in truth we are all one. So in reality, true reality, if we give to another we are really giving to ourselves. The love will come back, it is the law, it has to. Now, there may be a delay and it may take time and it may come back in a different form and in a totally different way than we expect but the love that we put out will come back to us. This includes the love of our gift. So give it away and give it away as unconditionally as possible.
Ask for help
To ask is the best way, but is not required. To ask is in alignment with the laws of love. Give unconditionally and then ask for what you need, or better yet just trust. We already see this in our societies with churches and other charities and non-profits. They are the way showers for this new kind of economics. Usually we see the asking done in the form of asking for a donation and this is ok. We can also ask for a suggested donation. That’s ok too, as long as the product or service being given is given no matter if a donation is made or not. Even when someone makes a big deal about the donation such as the preacher who says “A hundred, who has a hundred, a fifty who has a fifty.” This is infinitely better than charging money at the door. Their gift has flowed out and now they are asking for what they need and providing a vehicle for love to return to them in the form of donations.
It may not look practical but this is because we have been living in our current system for so long. In the economics of love system we give because we want to not because of slick marketing. No more buying a music cd, only to get home and discover that you don’t like it and then not being able to return it. No more tricks, coercion, deceptive sales tactics. Just honest giving and receiving with feelings of gratitude returned back as love. It’s a new way and it requires trust and faith. We have to go out on an edge. But most of all it requires faith in our fellow human beings, a faith that says they are for the most part good, and not evil. Our world has everything it needs right now at this very moment for every man woman and child to live an abundant and successful life. But because of the fears most people have no one wants to share and when we do share our gifts it’s through our conditional economic system called capitalism or the free market.
A beautiful feast
Think of a family gathering. How is it organized? People call around and everyone agrees to bring something and it’s a beautiful feast, where everyone brings their love and shares their love. Now imagine if, instead of food, people brought all of their various gifts. And instead of a small family of 30 or 100 people it’s a family of thousands and millions. It’s no different. But no you say, someone would take advantage of the situation. Yes, some one might, but whenever one is sharing and there is plenty for all what is there to take advantage of? Try it? instead of charging a price for your product or service try giving it away free and asking for a donation instead. At first you might not appear to be getting rich monetarily but you will see the immediate results of others getting rich from your love. And, you will feel it because you will feel the love spreading out from you to others. It will come back to you. Just focus on giving. If you really get stuck ask for help. A loving circle of giving and loving is what we are trying to reveal here.
Freely share what you love to do
The love already exist inside each one of us but we just have the wrong configuration. Currently if our economy were like an electric circuit, it is very inefficient in it’s current configuration. With the economics of love it will be in its correct configuration and will work much more effectively. People will gravitate towards what they love to do, because no one will have to do what they don’t want to do. People will gladly share more because they will be doing what they love and by the very nature of that fact they will want to share their love as much as possible. So for example some one might love to garden and when they do the harvest people might come and ask for some of the bounty and they will be so glad to be able to share their creation with them. This is totally different than the way things are now where most people sweat and toil away in miserable professions that they hate or tolerate out of fear of survival. This is most of our plant. So of course in a situation like this people feel desperate. For example, if someone where to walk up and ask for some of the harvest from a farm where someone hates farming – You know, where the farmer had to toil long and hard and suffer a lot to bring about the crop. Or instead, where the farmer pays a bunch of poor desperate souls to toil long and hard and suffer to bring out the crop. Of course, in a cases like this, the farmer would feel resentful mad and angry . He might say something like, “No I can’t give you any! Don’t you know I had to work long and hard to make this food! Who are you to just walk in here and ask for it like that!” The farmer will feel that you have to do something just as hard as he did to earn the right to his work. Don’t we all feel like that sometimes? So this is the situation of our world, where we trade our misery and suffering. But, it need not be so. The economics of love can be a guide to a better world, a better way of living. The key here is love, and sharing and trust in God and in one another. Can we do that? Absolutely!
The Economics of Love
You might be thinking, “Oh, how can love have anything to do with money.” But if we really only knew what love is. It is a powerful energy that guides and supports the entire universe. The universe is made with the threads of love. It is everywhere. And we are part of it. It is God, and it is us. Now it is time for us to learn to use love wisely and to grown up as a society. We are so much more than we realize. We are capable of so much right now, but, as a society, we are caged in fear. We must break free of the fear.
Let’s look at the positive side of the ledger. The economics of love. Let’s look at the same equation. Profit = sales – expenses. It looks the same right but what you have to understand is the critical difference is attitude. An attitude of giving. Lets call this the service model. In the service model which most of our non-profits exemplify now. The goal of expense is no longer that which is given back to make the products. But now is that which is needed to give more. Because the goal of the service organization is to give. So even though this organization may take in money for it’s expense. The sole purpose of these expense is to serve others as much as is possible. What we don’t understand as a society is that this is the better way. Currently we think that non profits and charities are the exceptions; Holes in the system taking care of things that the free enterprise system just doesn’t seem capable of handling. What we don’t understand is that we have it backwards. This system, the non-profit service model is capable of handling all of our problems and more. It is the capitalist take all approach that will destroy our society and is causing the problems.
It is the attitude of giving that is the difference and it makes all the difference. Adam Smith really set us on the wrong course with his idea that people being as greedy as they can be, fighting and squabbling over so called scarce resources would produce the best out come. Yes it produces an outcome, short of all out war, but it is far from the best out come. There are better systems but unfortunately by time Adam smith came around the world was hopelessly heading down this dark economic road. What we have now is a system where no one really trust anyone else and where greed rules the day. It’s all about the winner taking all. Does this sound like anyway to live? No it isn’t. What if we had a family dinner but instead of a potluck we said that no one could sample anyone’s dish freely. They could only trade. It wouldn’t be a very fun dinner would it? This is the kind of family we have.
Lets talk about the bottom line. In a corporation or business the bottom line or profit is money. A business asks, “How much money did we accumulate? How much did we get? How much did we take?”
In the service model, although they too need money to operate they operate with a different bottom line. Let’s call it the high line. A line based on higher ideals, higher ideas, higher values, the high line of service. And, that line or profit is about how many people did we serve today, and how well did we serve them. It’s about, how much did we give, how much did we help. It is this attitude that is in alignment with the laws of love.
Love is all about service. Love needs nothing it just wants to go out into the world and help. That is it’s essence.
So let your love out, in the forms of your gifts and more, and we will all be so much richer for it.
We must heal the world with our love
There are serious problems in our world that we are not aware of and we need to awaken to these problems. Many of us are asleep and do not even realize what is going on. On the one hand we have to awaken to our true potential to dream but on the other hand we have to awaken to the true reality of the negative situations we are in on this planet and are also helping create, only then can we start to change it. A slave can’t be free until he realizes he is a slave. As long as we think that the world around us is “just the way it is” or that it is good or that there is nothing that we can do about it, we will continue to live in bondage. This is very difficult to deal with and to understand fully. All that need happen though, is that we change our thoughts about what is possible. This society of ours is just one possibility out of an infinite realm of possibilities; it can be changed for the better. But we have to realize that it is possible for it to change and that we can help effect that change. One of the keys to this is having a better vision of what the world can become and realizing that our gifts are the love that will bring that vision into reality.
Examples of The Economics of Love in Action:
Free-economy: Mark Boyle lives without money and touches on an economics of love economy he calls free-economy. Check out his Ted Video here:
Amanda Palmer: She explains it so well. She really really gets it.
“Pay what you want restaurant”
By Martina Fuchs
LONDON (Reuters) – A London restaurant has decided to do away with bills for the next month, asking customers to pay only what they want for meals in an unorthodox bid to beat the credit crunch.
The Little Bay restaurant in central London, one of four owned by restaurateur Peter Ilic, will present diners with absolutely nothing when they ask for the cheque during February, leaving it up to them to decide what the meal was worth.
“Anything between a penny and 50 pounds ($70) will make me happy, it’s entirely up to the customer to decide,” Ilic said on Tuesday, sounding confident about the prospects as he sat on a purple couch is his brightly colored, arty restaurant, known for its bistro-style Mediterranean cuisine.
“It just seemed the right thing to do with everyone under the cash and feeling pretty miserable,” he said.
Times have not been easy for London restaurants in recent months as the credit crisis and a deepening recession have hit everyone, from ordinary city workers to highly paid bankers.
Whereas once high-flying hedge-fund managers from the London financial district known as the City might seek out the most ostentatiously expensive lunch they could find — and top London restaurants would willingly oblige — now the order of the day is austerity and a decent, tasty bargain.
Ilic, a long-standing player in the London restaurant business, is well-known for his value gourmet food, but now he’s gone one step further and effectively cut prices to zero.
“We have seen so many more City folk coming into the restaurant lately, looking for a better value lunch,” he said, explaining what gave him the idea, similar to that used by major bands like Radiohead to sell their CDs.
If people like something, they’ll pay for it, the idea goes, and already Ilic has seen evidence that it works.
“Customers have already paid 20 percent more than the original price,” he said, confident that he will more than cover his expenses for the month. “People want to be polite and would be embarrassed not to pay enough.”
Not only is the deal pretty attractive for those who might decide to pay nothing, the food is pretty tempting too.
Starters include crab tartelette, foie gras terrine and goat cheese souffle, while main courses range from duck breast to steamed butter-fish and filet steak.
The only thing customers definitely have to pay for are their drinks. But for those really suffering in the credit crisis, the tap water is served free.
In many parts of the world, people are searching for alternatives to the cash economy. In Mali, one of the most cash poor nations in the world, “Dama” or the “Gift Economy” has been thriving for thousands of years. This system of exchange is not based on exchange or equivalence between the giver and the receiver, rather the receiver passes the gift on to someone else. The gift economy celebrates the value of life, putting human relationship over profit.
Seva, or service, is the selfless giving of oneself for the betterment of others and the world around. At Seva Cafe, the concept of service takes the form of a “pay it forward” restaurant, where every meal is cooked and served with love.
By William Spiritdancer