Archive for the 'Resilient Community' Category

Grow And Diffuse

I had a dream – it was Post Apocalypse. Few of us were left. People were talking about preventing starvation by gathering supplies from what was left. I told them that gathering remnant supplies was insufficient, soon we will run out of supplies to gather. We need to think about replenishing supplies. We need to plan to grow sufficient crops to feed our people, repicably, year after year.

But then it became clear that no one in our group knows how to grow food. I tell them life is resilient. I tell them we need to find seeds and plant them. I tell them we need to find food already growing in the earth. Finally everyone is on board, and the group disperses.

Then I was walking the perimeter of our camp, and I found explosive charges in the ground. Some were inert, already detonated, but some were still live charges. Very dangerous, these could kill people. I set about attempting to safely detonate the charges, one by one. It occurred to me that while human beings exist, there will always be someone making bombs, planting charges, that could explode in dangerous moments. Growing food is not enough. There also needs to be a cultural process for defusing charges before people get violent or get killed. Both are necessary in order to sustain a healthy population.

(Charges does not only refer to physical explosive devices. The word “charge” is also used to describe emotional states, as in, “It’s an emotionally charged subject.” The dream clearly points to addressing the aspect of human nature that innocently (and sometimes not so innocently) generates charges against other, charged subjects and charged situations.

At the end of the dream, someone else joined me. I was asked why I was doing this, if most vital thing to do now is to grow food. I replied, “what is the value of sustaining our population if we wind up getting our legs blown off by live charges anyway?” I explained that this function (diffusing the charges) is also necessary if we don’t want to blow ourselves up just walking around in our day-to-day life. I said that if there is no process among our individuals to diffuse charges, soon there are no safe places to walk without getting blown up.

I then taught the other how to safely diffuse the charges with me, and the two of us set about to our work.

Incidentally, I believe the best practice here is culturally practiced needs-conscious empathy for self, needs-consciousness empathy for other, and mediation based in needs consciousness and restorative justice.

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Alternative to “Bad Shadow Government Illuminati” Narrative

I have lots of friends campaigning against “shadow government” or against “the Illuminati” or against “the reptilians” or “the bankers” or “the powers that be”.

I am very educated to these narratives. I get it. And –

I would like to propose a more generative perspective.

After human beings were created, a point came where we were provided the space to be “self-governing” (self, meaning, “the local human population governing itself”).

Of course, at that time not all individuals were prepared – or psychologically equipped – for this task. Some people have longer cognitive lines than others. Some people have more agentic inclinations than others. So, necessarily, a small number of the “locals” took control, and started a not-so-complex chess game of politics, governing behind the scenes, currency and currency manipulations, etc… The masses, for centuries, have been the pieces on this chess board, moved by debt obligations, moved by fear and threats, moved by political maneuvering and moved by spin.

However, necessarily, we are now reaching a time in human history and human development where more and more of the chess pieces (the humans on the planet) are waking up, seeing the larger context of the chess board, and saying, “Wait a minute Chess Players – You’re not the boss of me!” More and more of us are growing up and emotionally maturing enough to learn that we (the masses) can govern ourselves.

As a human race, true “self governance” is not about a small group controlling the rest. True “self governance” is about each one of us, each individual, waking up to be able to govern ourselves.

Part of that is learning how to do “power with” instead of “power over”. The chess players did “power over” the rest. The people collaborating in open-source projects, collaborating on the Internet, and collaborating on crowd-sourcing, community resiliency, restorative justice and permaculture are all people embodying their learning how to do “power with”.

People doing “power with” realize that we are interconnected, and only going to thrive when we work together with each other and with the system as a whole. People who do “power over” think of themselves as separate, and everyone else and everything else as Enemy to be conquered and controlled.

History is teaching us that Power Over is a tragic strategy that falls apart in the long run. Power With allows us to adaptively generate solution on-the-fly – dynamic steering.

While we embody “us/them” villanization – when we push against a government figure, or a batch of “Illuminati”, or against a batch of “reptilians”, we continue to perpetuate the pawn mentality by playing into the victim triangle. The oppressed rise to become the new oppressors.

Only when we stand in our own sovereignty – and educate ourselves – can we evolve to our fullest capacity and our birth right – fully actualizing our capacities.

Standing in our sovereignty, for me, isn’t about pushing against the old structures. For me, the sovereign is visibile in us when we come together to create new systems that render the old systems obsolete – effortlessly and naturally.

So while I appreciate the attempt to “educate” that innocently moves people to villanize our government or our history or our shadow government or our ancient ancestors, I don’t subscribe to the villanizing, us/them behaviors.

I want to live more emotionally mature, more grown-up, and more productive than that.

Rather, I recognize that we are capable of waking each other up to our true capacities by moving forward into new structures.

That is who I am. I am a culture creator. I am a stand for the new structures. I am a creative being interested in contributing to the new systems (which will naturally and effortlessly obsolete the old).

So I propose that we put our energies into the Now and the Future and create the self-governing, system-awake, wholistic structures and environments that we want. This is a far, far more productive use of our energies than rehearsing the hatred of the old systems we are pushing against.

In hopes of inspiring your generative action to create forward,
Maya

 

Radical Abundance – A Draft Proposal For You

While I could re-write this to make the sentences simpler, I want to post this draft anyway for those who would enjoy reading it as it is.

Blessings,
Maya

I just watched this video, proposing a kind of Radical Abudance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHMvknT_uk4

Basically, in light of the internet culture of peer-to-peer sharing, the speaker criticizes currency-monopolies. It’s not just the FIAT system he criticizes; it’s not the only currency monopoly out there. He also criticizes (for example) Google indexing, which monopolizes page listings and public site visibility. He also criticizes abuses of the “free” distribution approach (the reaction to monopoly), because in some cases individual labor is not respected, acknowledged or rewarded.

He proposes instead that we learn to respect and value labor, and learn to exchange value for value.

Now I find value-exchange an interesting line of inquiry because it helps to –

1.) free us from monopoly controlled interests (ex: money loaned at interest)
2.) allow us the community-building and relationship-building (community strengthening) opportunity of peer-to-peer sharing
3.) triple the bottom line while it helps everyone to grow more abundant – fluid resources and fluid relationships not only meet needs, but also result in overall sense of well-being, safety, cooperation, resiliency and interconnectedness for all involved, instead of the current climate of self-defensive agendas, hoarding, career fear and corporate distrust.

In short, the speaker proposes value-exchange, respect for labor and local currencies over monopoly-owned currencies.

However, learning to exchange value for value also comes with its challenges. Specifically, this paradigm challenges us to come up with reliable ways of determining value. Barter is notorious for abuse. How do I determine how many eggs equal a goat in value? What happens when Chris gives Sam a pound of food for one egg, but last week only gave me 1/2 a pound of food for one egg? Time banking is no better. What do I do when I gave an hour of good lawn-mowing to a neighbor, who in exchange gave me an hour of shoddy house painting that I had to re-do? Exchange paradigms continually suffer the “fairness” issue. One benefit of symbolic currency is that it gives the illusion of fairness. Prices are set externally, and we agree to the value or not through our purchasing. How might we stabilize value-exchange without resorting to a symbolic currency?

Finally, any form of exchange lends itself to scarcity and manipulation problems. What happens when demand overrides supply, as in the case of a drought year where crop production is low? What happens when a negotiator lies or otherwise manipulates a negotiation to inflate – or deflate – the value of a good or service? Given the subjective, emotional nature of value perception, how do we reject emotional manipulation and real or false scarcity-propaganda so that we maintain a pure system rooted in a consciousness of abundance?

Personally, the only system I’ve ever seen that transcends the negative issues inherent with the “exchange” paradigm is the system of pure gift economy.

In gift economy, people give for the sake of giving, in a culture rich with abundant giving. Some systems create the culture by crediting givers with points that make their generosity transparent, which results in social capital; individuals are seen in terms of their generosity. (For more info about gift economy here’s a Gift Economy FAQ, which I wrote while attempting to launch a gift economy cooperative.)

Gift economy breeds generosity of spirit, fluid resources, relationship development, and better yet – it frees us from the whole argument inherent with “exchange” and “fairness”. I give out of my joy, not because it is a fair exchange. When enough people give, what goes around comes around and there’s plenty for everyone – fluidly and with ease. The focus shifts from fairness to generosity. Takers are made transparent and if needed rejected from communities for not playing in the spirit of the community (the spirit of gift economy is to Gift, and every gift and every gifter is valued).

Gift economy, therefore, also entirely avoids the complicated abuses and manipulations rooted in scarcity stories. Individuals can respond to requests, therefore each new request creates an opportunity for a newly abundant offer, product or service.

There are numerous other benefits to gift economy. When asked to gift, some people are met with the self-limiting, self-belittling blindness that says, “I have nothing to give.” This response reveals a crisis of imagination and self-acknowledgement rather than a lack of resources. Everyone has things to give. Hugs. Time to give someone companionship they need. Care. Creative projects. Love. What do you love to do but tell yourself you don’t have time or energy to do? When we live from our loves, we find a tremendous abundance of energy.

When the illusion of personal lack is addressed, the person is liberated into resourcefulness and into the truth that, “I am an abundant being with lots to give.” For us to move into a culture of abundance, we each need to realize our personal abundance.

Personal abundance is a gift that keeps giving. When we discover the abundance we each have to give, we each discover the truthful experience that, “I am of value to my community.” This is a radical departure from the corporate-propagated fear-inducing slogan, “You are replaceable. Do what you’re told or we will find someone who will.” Realizing personal abundance is empowering and liberating.

Gift economy also strengthens personal responsibility. For gift economy to meet needs, individuals are tasked to make clear requests around their needs and to learn that 10,000 strategies can feed any given need. These realizations, in turn, define and facilitate the consciousness of abundance.

With all of the value a gift economy delivers, especially in the age of open-sourcing and internet peer-to-peer sharing, the movement to gift economy is a natural next step. We just need to emotionally support the late adopters who fearfully depend on the status quo and feel threatened by change. Through the heart-opening impact of this support, they too will feel moved to gift others.

In short, gift economy is the gift that keeps giving.

So how might we, in our daily lives and business practices, integrate actions that foster a consciousness of giving, and evolve away from the fear of scarcity that leads to the “have to get for me and mine” mentality?

If half the people in our country took 1 action each week in gifting, it would transform our planet.

What could you do to discover in yourself and give in order to foster radical abundance?

Temp FAQ for GlobalGiftEconomy.org

UPDATE: As of Dec 2012, GlobalGiftEconomy.org still needs cooperative collaboration. I can’t do it alone. If you’d like to collaborate on it, please email me at mayagayam at gmail.

ORIGNAL POST FOLLOWS:

As you may or may not know, last week or so I started inviting ecstatic friends to join me in launching an online gift economy hub, and progress is going wonderfully! For more information (or to be included in the conversation) you can click “Like!” on our Facebook Page or you can see the temporary design template at GlobalGiftEconomy.org .

Meanwhile several people have said, “Tell me more.”

So I’m posting this temporary FAQ page until the actual page on the site is created by our group.

Hope you enjoy!
M

Gift Economy FAQ 
(Written by Maya GailTaylor.  2012 Creative Commons License - Edited or Unedited copies of this FAQ may be distributed provided that you acknowledge my contribution and include a link back to GlobalGiftEconomy.org)

What is Gift Economy?

Gift Economy is a supplement to our monetary-based economy; for more and more of us it's a living alternative.  In a gift economy, each one of us practices gifting.  Often.  Monthly.  Weekly.  Daily.

So you mean I give away everything I have?

No, you gift from your extra, and you give from your joy.  Receiving is the mate to gifting.  Sometimes, you might ask for things you need or want to receive.

So basically it's an exchange?

No, actually. Gift Economy creates an infinite and richly abundant network of circulating goods, services and time available for whoever needs it.

The simple 1-to-1 of exchange, barter, or time-banking is limited in reach and can sometimes result in resentment when one person feels they received less value than they gave.

In a Gift Economy, most of us give more than we need to receive (ex: one gift weekly, no matter how big or small).  This creates a wide network - like the Internet - that explodes to a level of circulation and abundance that we couldn't possibly think up, plan or make happen.

Also, unlike a standard monetary economy, Gift Economy produces an upward spiral of freedom.  People sharing Gift Economy get to live what they love and give from their excitement instead of working what they "have to do" to gain income.

People are lazy, they won't do that. This won't work.

Actually, proof that people are not lazy is all around you.

Take the Internet for example.  If you need some information or need to find something to buy, you go to the 'Net and you find far, far more sources than you ever could have needed.  Most of those pages were generated in innumerable hours of effort by people who - UNpaid! - were working from their joy, their interest, and their loves.  The result is an overwhelming abundance that provides more than you or any one person could ever need.

This same paradigm is now showing up in all walks of life - in open source technology, in the Creative Commons, in the TED Talks, in time banking, in the Occupy movement, in Freeware, FreeCycle, CouchSurfing, Meetup-groups, local Gift Economy Gifting Circles, KickStarter, cooperatives, the list goes on and on.

More and more of society is realizing this truth:

When we each live from what we enjoy, we are all highly productive, eager, contributing members of society.

Gift Economy already is working.  There just hasn't been an online hub like this one until now.

Wait, so I have to come up with something to give every week?

You never "have to" do anything - do because you enjoy it.  Weekly gifting helps the network work, so we request it.  But gift monthly if you prefer.  Or gift Daily if you prefer.

Gifting is easy and fun - simply gift from your extra, and gift from your love.  We all have lots to offer.  You have far more to offer than you may realize.  Just act out of your joy, your sense of play, your delight, or your "calling".

Still stuck?  On GlobalGiftEconomy.org you will find a list of gifting ideas.  Or gift in response to a request that someone else posted that moves you.  Or look at the stories and celebrations written by folks who have gifted or received and find ideas there.  Also, when you're a member of GlobalGiftEconomy.org, you'll also have access to weekly gifting "challenges" and ideas;  "Missions, should you choose to accept them."  You could even make a game between you and your friends to see who can complete the weekly challenge first. 🙂

Isn't this like Marxism or Socialism or Communism?  Look at Russia - those systems don't work.

Nope.  This is different, and it already is working, you just aren't a part of it yet.

In Gift Economy, private ownership is not lost, you are still free to own whatever you own.  Next, unlike other systems, this is not imposed by some government decision - you get to join in if you "get it" and participate, and if you don't want to you get to choose something else you prefer, like the cash-based economy.  Next, you don't gift because someone "needs" it and you're obligated or because it's "for the good of all", you gift because you love it, you feel great about it, because you can gift, and because you want to.  External demand or urgency is discouraging.  Doing what you love is fun and full of delight.  Unlike the cash-based economy, this environment gives you the opportunity to live from your delight instead of "have to"s.  This increases gifting and perpetually adds more resources to the system.  Just think of how energized you are when you're doing things you like to do.

What do you mean "Gifting Is Fun"?  

It just is.  We get to show off our talents. We get to connect with other amazing people who are heart-ful, playful and talented. We get to contribute and feel valuable.  We get to feel wanted and needed. We get to be celebrated and appreciated for our gifts. We get the pleasure of joy when we receive a gift we need. We also get to see others' joy when they get what they need. This is called compersion.  Gifting is fun because it's coming out of play, no strings attached, no obligations, no demands.

But if someone else takes a gift that I want, that's less for me.

I hear you're afraid there'll be less for you, but that's not how it actually works.  Try this coat on, "It's possible that what I think, is what I get.  I'm willing to try a new way of thinking.  It's possible that there is a reality that I have not experienced yet because I didn't believe it was possible yet."

In the Gift Economy reality, more for others is more for me.  Just gift regularly, then when you need something, ask for what you need and want.

In a Gift Economy environment, we realize that:

- The more we each give from our calling (give from our love), the more everyone has.
- The more everyone else has, the more they have to give, thus the more I get to benefit.  Gift Economy benefits me, directly.
- We all live in a naturally infinite, abundant world.  When lots of us choose regular action (gifting out of joy), the natural outcome is plenty for everyone - abundance.

Just ask.

Well then, I guess I'll just sit back, take gifts and sponge off the system.

Yeah, that's not going to work.  In Gift Economy we look out for each other; we also look out for the whole body.  The way we take care of the whole body is through transparency.  You get seen and celebrated for your gifting.  You also get seen if you're taking lots more than you give.

This transparency means that if your take-to-give ratio starts to grow bigger than your give-to-receive ratio, it'll show up on your profile, and people will be less inclined to give to you.  If you gift often, that shows too; we get to see you and celebrate and acknowledge you for your generosity, and your social capital grows.  If you're a leech, we see it and your social capital dies.  As your social capital dies, your ability to harvest off others' joy will die too.  Eventually, if your ratio is in the negative long enough, you will be bumped out of the system, in the same way anti-bodies bump a virus out of a healthy body.  This isn't a Take-Economy, it's a Gift-Economy.

We welcome those who contribute to the health of the whole, and we do not support those who contribute to the decline of the whole.

Wait, does that mean my bedridden Grandmother / friend / neighbor can't participate?

Of course they can participate.  Anyone who can take gifts from the community has something they can give too.  Knowledge, expertise, time, companionship by phone to someone else and writing are just a few ideas.

What if I want to retire and still take gifts?  Will I get bumped from the system?  

That depends on what social capital you've built as you start taking more support.  Even retirees have a lot to give.  If you've built a social capital that's high enough, you can receive gifts you need even if you retire or take time off. All the more reason to jump in and start gifting today!

What about old age?  What if I get Alzheimer's or something and become physically and mentally unable to gift?  Will I get bumped from the system?

For old-age security, remember that community-building and building social capital takes time, and what you put in matters.  All the more reason to jump in and start gifting today!  Meanwhile, it's also likely that you already have some support from your friends and family; others can ask for support on your behalf, and your family and friends can still provide immediate help to you as they did before your Gift Economy participation.

I'm still afraid this won't support me and my family the way what I do now supports us.

Actually, unlike current US economy failures where social security is dying, pensions are giving way to lay-offs, the top 1% benefit off the work of the many, and hoarding that means that 1% of the world's population lets 95% of the worlds resources sit around stagnating and collecting dust, Gift Economy produces true "social security" and resource circulation.

Once you're in the know, these truths become self-evident:

- The more others get what they need, the more they can give, thus the more of a safety net I have when I need something.  
- Like children, when others get what they need, they are naturally more benevolent and giving, and disinclined to harm life; this reduces crime.  
- When we all look out for each other we all benefit.  
- When there is so much abundance that everyone is taken care of - I get taken care of too.

These dynamics don't surface in a society of scarcity, labor demands and blackmail ("Do it or I'll fire you and find someone who will."), wages that do not cover the cost of living, and the despair, disenfranchisement and distrust that comes from a culture where, "each person looks out for himself".

Where the cash-and-credit economy fails by indebting its members to interest-based obligations that compound over time, benefitting the few while demanding servitude from the many, Gift Economy involves no debt, increases community trust, obsoletes obligation-based power-over structures, and produces true social security, community bonding, individual freedom of choice, freedom from fear instead of hoarding in fear, and it supports Life thriving - abundance for all.

If you're still unsure, do a bit of both.  Gift for the fun of it, and see how it goes.

Well I guess that answers my questions.

Great!  Then you're welcome to join in the fun and help us create a new world experience - a world that works for everyone, full of easy access to the resources we need to live as we wish.

How do I get started?

We're inviting ecstatic participants to help launch an online Gift Economy hub at GlobalGiftEconomy.org.  As of May 25, 2012, the URL has been online just one week. At the end of the month we're doing a conference call toward full site launch.  During that call we'll talk more about GlobalGiftEconomy.org and offer folks specific launch and gifting opportunities.  Once the site launches, everyone will be welcome to join.

To be included in conference call and launch invitations, please click "Like" on the page at http://facebook.com/GlobalGiftEconomy and we'll connect!

Still not quite clear? You can learn more about Gift Economy at these links:

Charles Eisenstein’s Brief Overview
So natural, A 6-yr Old Explains It
Another culture’s success – Mali’s Example
How Gift Economy Builds Connection and Community – Charles Eisenstein
37 Ways To Join The Gift Economy

Other Great Gift Economy Websites and Links

http://www.justfortheloveofit.org/home
http://www.wwoof.org/
http://www.ilovefreegle.org/ – see also, Freecycle in your city in Yahoo Groups
More Gift Economy Websites
Time Banking
CouchSurfers – see also – http://www.couchsurfing.org/
Women’s Share – see also here.
– Kick Starter – http://kickstarter.com
Dream Connect Global – Sharing support to help each others’ dreams come true.

Templates for Local In-Person Groups doing Gift Economy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ5Jr2bYS4I
– Charles Eisenstein – http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/to-build-community-an-economy-of-gifts

Ecstatic Participation – Are You Game?

I’m looking for 100 ecstatic participants to help steward and launch a global gift economy hub online. Game? Know someone who might be? Invitations will be sent out from www.facebook.com/GlobalGiftEconomy .

To be included in the conversation and launch, just “Like” the page.  Group conference calls coming soon!

You can also see the template I designed a few days ago, which is now posted at http://GlobalGiftEconomy.org

Blessings,  Maya

What is Restorative Justice?

So you’d like to learn more about restorative justice?

Here are some definitions and links we hope help:

Restorative Justice – Definitions:

  • Restorative justice is an approach to justice where offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and “to repair the harm they’ve done- by apologizing, returning stolen money, or (for example) doing community service”. … – Wikipedia
  • A cost-effective criminal justice approach that is based on reconciliation, restoration, healing and rehabilitation. Restorative justice refers to a movement promoting humane, transformative and cost-effective alternatives to our current punitive, failed and costly system of mass incarceration. – Ella Baker Center
  • Any of several forms of justice that attempts to repair the harm done to the victim, sometimes by making the offender make restitution – Wiktionary
  • Restorative justice emphasizes the way in which crimes hurt relationships between people who live in a community. Crime is seen as something done against a victim and a community—not simply as a violation against the state. … – Center for Community Corrections

When it’s based on a core-values conversation, RJ is incredibly powerful.

More On Restorative Justice – Links

For more information, do a Google search or see:

Communities That Work 2012

In addition to my last post, which focused on interiors, here’s a breath of what supports resilient community exteriors:

“Rebuilding local agriculture and food production, localizing energy production, rethinking healthcare, rediscovering local building materials in the context of zero energy building, rethinking how we manage waste, all build resilience and offer the potential of an extraordinary renaissance – economic, cultural and spiritual.” Rob Hopkins – The Transition Handbook


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