Our Fall From Grace: Our Departure From Gratis: The Beginning of Money

ShuarNow that the missionaries, teachers, and doctors come,
more of our babies live; we have longer lives.
But we're threatened with starvation.
We can't always feed our families by hunting--
too many people, too little game.
We must get down on our knees and beg for hand-outs.

This is not the Achuar way.
The White Man is making us his slave.
While he didn't defeat us with weapons,
he's done so with books and medicines.

  --Achuar elder
[ p. 143,
Spirit of the Shuar: Wisdom from the Last Unconquered People of the Amazon,
John Perkins
, Shakaim Mariano Shakai Ijisam Chumpi, Ehud C. Sperling, & Mariano Shakai Ijisam Chumpi]

Sitting Bull
The life of white men is slavery. 
They are prisoners in towns and farms.
The life my people want is a life of freedom. 

I have seen nothing that a white man has,
houses or railways or or clothing or food,
that is as good as the right to move in the open country,
and live in our own fashion.
Why has our blood been shed by your soldiers?

[Sitting Bull drew a square on the ground with his thumbnail]
There!  Your soldiers made a mark like that in our country,
and said that we must live there.
They fed us well, and sent their doctors to heal our sick.
They said that we should live  without having to work.
But they told us that we  must go only so far in that direction.
They gave us meat, but they took away our liberty.
The white man had many things that we wanted,
but we could see that they did not have the one thing we liked best--freedom.
I would rather live in a tipi and go without meat when game is scarce
than give up my privileges as a free Indian,
even though I could have all that white men have.

 --Sitting Bull (Tatanka Yotanka), told to Journalist James Creel in 1882


Examining the Univeral Myth of Stealing Fire From Heaven

"The sun never says to the earth,
'You owe me.'
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky."
-- Hafiz

This state of hopeless debt & anxiety - where did it come from?  What happened that we live in total imbalance, inequality, inequity, iniquity?  Why is the natural world in balance and we are not?  What happened to separate us from nature around us and our own natures within us?
As you can glean from this website, I'm a mythology & religion buff.  I like to gather the separated witnesses of the world and compare their testimonies.  When their testimonies match, I have found the truth. 

"The Original Affluent Society"

It was long a common misconception, and still is among many modern people, that primitive humans were in a constant struggle for survival, having little leisure time.  For example, it was thought that both the Hadza in Tanzania and the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa lived in abject poverty, constantly laboring to stay alive.  After all, both today's Hadza (See A Culture Living Abundantly Without Money Today) and the Bushmen (until recently) have lived in some of the harshest environments on earth, being pushed onto the most inhospitable lands by surrounding trade and agricultural cultures.  Until recently, the Bushmen have lived in scorching desert with no surface water much of the year, with no possessions except their bows and arrows and their loincloths.  And they practiced gift economy
Then anthropologists went in to study the Hadza and the Bushmen and common misconceptions were shattered.  Anthropologists were astonished to find that these cultures spent most their time in leisure!  This was also found to be the case with hunting-and-gathering societies around the world.  As Jared Diamond points out: 
It turns out that these people have plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard than their farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted each week to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen, 14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, when asked why he hadn’t emulated neighboring tribes by adopting agriculture, replied, “Why should we, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world?” 
I would go even further and point out that when money and accumulation of possessions are not in the picture, the difference between work and play also vanishes, so even this idea of working just 20 hours a week becomes a moot point! 
Because of this discovery of how little hunter-gatherers had to work, and how much abundance they actually had, the anthropologist, Marshal Sahlins, first promoted the idea in 1966 that hunter-gatherers were "the original affluent society."

Mammon Does Not Serve Us, We Serve Mammon!

In our modern culture, we believe our money and our possessions free us from mundane work, giving us more leisure time, when in fact the very opposite happens.  All you need to do is look around.  We spend most our time maintaining our money and our possessions!  We don't even have time to sit down and eat a proper meal!  The fast food industry thrives on this fact.  Our money and possessions, those things we created to be our servants, become our masters.  We have become slaves to money and possessions.  Money and things would be good if they served us.  But we serve them.  We are slaves to mammon.  Mammon does not serve us as it should.
When you are not slaving all the time for possessions you have more time to serve other people, you have time for your neighbor.  On top of this, there are less needy people, less people you have to serve, when you are in a society not enslaved to money and stuff.  Thus, you are not overwhelmed by the impossible neediness that exists in our culture.  Who can find a social worker in our culture who is not burned out after a couple years of working?  I know: I was a social worker "do-gooder".  Babylon will accuse you of being a lazy mooch, because Babylon thinks that if you are not a slave you are not productive.  If you are not miserable, you must not be contributing to society, Babylon says. 

I would say a slave can not be truly productive, only destructive, because the slave is creating more stuff to be enslaved to and draining the earth of resources, making resources no longer bountiful for all.  You cannot be productive in the world if you are self-destructive.  An unhealthy cell in a body is unhealthy for the entire body.
Babylon constantly proselytizes its propaganda that commercial civilization is better than "cruel" nature.  When you watch a typical nature flick on television, you're fed propaganda that animals are in constant, dreary struggle for survival, the poor, poor things!  Listen to the narrators of nature flicks.  They almost always sound like they're ready to slit their wrists.  Check out March of the Penguins, as just one example of droves of nature flicks.  That film is a beautiful masterpiece, but oh-so-distorted.  When you actually experience nature and see it for yourself, why don't you see such exaggerated struggle?  Why is nature so psychologically relaxing while a highway or industrial complex is not?  Look at bugs and rabbits and lizards and flocks of birds.  Why is there so much play? 

Where is the whining in nature?

Natural Selection

But I'm not naive.  Yes, there's plenty of struggle and conflict in nature, but it shouldn't be any other way!  It's no more possible to eliminate struggle and conflict as to erase negative charges of electrons!  There is enough struggle and death-balance to
be challenging, which is exactly what life needs, what we need, but it is not all-consuming as the nature flicks would have you believe.  In nature, struggle and conflict is in perfect balance with ease and play, otherwise life wouldn't have survived in beauty and harmony for millions of years.  We need struggle and conflict as much as we need food.  In fact, food is struggle and conflict.  "This is my body: take, eat."  Is there insufferable boredom in nature that you find in our gilded cages of commercial civilization?  Will you find a dog barking piteously and incessantly out of boredom and loneliness in nature?  Will you find in nature a tiger pacing back and forth, chewing off her own fur, making bald spots, as you do in zoos?   I know I would rather be dead and extinct than be embalmed alive in a zoo or on a chain in somebody's back yard.
Nature abhors prolonged suffering, and naturally selects it out.  Commercial civilization thrives on prolonged suffering.  How many times have you ever seen a malnourished or obese animal in nature?  If, on the rare occasion you might, it will be immediately selected out.  But commercial civilization not only coddles and encourages chronic illness and faulty genes, but it passes them on from generation to generation.  And we call nature cruel.

Darwinism Abused

Like all truths, what I have said above could be totally abused, as Hitler's Nazi regime demonstrated.  This makes me cringe.  Hitler's philosophies in Mein Kampf are deceptively called "Social Darwinism".  Yet, the very principle of Darwinism is Natural Selection, in which the laws of Chance, Nature's forces, determine who thrives and who doesn't.  The very principle of Nazi-ism is Un-natural Selection, in which one "elite" group sidesteps nature and decides who lives and who doesn't, in which people can't trust the laws of Chance (the Law of Nature, the Law of God).  Un-natural selection is where we can't give up control, where we can't trust the laws of Nature to hone us down, naturally select us to make us fit.  Nazi-ism is taking control of Natural Selection, making it no longer natural.  Nazism is the opposite of Darwinism.  The very principle of the Money System, the life-blood of  the nations of the world, is taking control of the natural process, side-stepping Natural Selection, to make it no longer natural.  Giving up control and trusting the Law of Nature is called faith.

Even if you think you don't believe in Darwinian Natural Selection, you probably know about the basic process of the sperm and egg, if you went to grade school.  There is a reason the fittest sperm cell, out of millions, reaches the egg.  Or, if you never learned biology, you probably heard a world-wide fairy tale of many suitors going through tests to win the hand of the picky princess.  Are we smarter and more moral than this law of Natural Selection that pervades all the infinite Universe, and is the essence of our all our religions and our legends?  Do we think we can change the Infinite?  Do we honestly believe life will improve if we artificially sidestep the Law of the Infinite Universe, sidestep the survival-of-the-fittest sperm race?  Do we really think we know who or what is most worthy to survive?

Darwin's discovery is called evil because people abuse it.  Religion (whether Christianity or Islam or Hinduism or whatever) is called evil because people abuse it.  Science is called evil because people abuse it.  Drugs are called evil because people abuse them.  Anything is called evil because people abuse it.  And, yes, I acknowledge that money is called evil because people abuse it (see FAQ # 2. Do You Think Money Is Evil?). 
Hunter-gatherers are a grand example for us, but it might be naive to say they are perfect.  Hunter-gatherers, though the most balanced of any human societies existing, historically have not been completely immune to the business of greed, trade, and possessions.  Perhaps we can't go back to the old hunting and gathering lifestyle, but I am certain we can model ourselves after them, taking on the gift economy principle that was/is usually their life-blood, and apply it to civilization. 

So What Happened to Separate Us From Gift Economy, Nature's Bounty?

Stealing Fire From Heaven: The Universal Myth

Cultures all over the world, from hunting & gathering tribes to mega-civilizations, have a myth that describes what happened to separate us humans from the other animals and from Nature.  This event also separated us humans from Gods (called Elohim in the Judaeo-Christian tradition), yet making us like Gods, and separated Earth from Heaven.
This world-wide myth basically says that, in the beginning, we didn't have fire.  We were like the other animals.  And heaven and earth were connected.  We ate our food raw.  Then somebody noticed that the gods had and controlled fire.  So some trickster character stole fire from the gods & brought it to humans.  This angered the gods & divided us from heaven & nature.  Fire became our blessing and our curse.

So let's translate this myth into modern lingo.

Fire is energy, energy that we originally saw only in the sky, mainly in the form of the sun.  Now & then we got to see fire come down to earth in the form of lightning.  "What if we could harness it?"  Somebody thought.  And then we did, and this gave us a power that no other creature had.  And it gave us power over all other creatures.  Harnessing fire wouldn't even be a problem if we knew how to share.  But we've taken possession of it.  We buy and sell it and hoard it as if we owned it. 
Coyote Stealing Fire by G. Yazzie
(Navajo Creation story)
Virtually all energy that humans have harnessed ultimately came from the sun.  The energy running this computer and the energy running the cells of  my body came from the sun.  People tell me that I am using energy from power corporations based on the money system and thus am not really
living without money.  But what I am illustrating here is that we need to go back further to the source.  Energy does not come originally from the power corporations.  Energy comes from the sun.  And if you want to take it back further, it comes from the Big Bang.  And it comes from beyond the Big Bang.
All the energy from the sun is freely given.  It is not free (nothing is free), but it is freely given.  The sun freely gives, demanding nothing in return, as does everything in nature.  You can't even pay the sun back if you tried!  Originally, energy was not owned, not bought, not sold.  Then some trickster got the bright idea that he could steal it.  Then he could own it and sell it, and thus gain power over other creatures, and thus become just like the gods. 
The sun has no prejudices and makes no judgment.  The sun shines on both the just and the unjust.  The sun doesn't even make you sit down and fill out an application for assistance to see whether or not you are worthy to receive its freely-given services.  Even if you massacre millions in pogroms, the sun still gives freely to you.  Even if you feed and heal millions, the sun still might scorch you.  The sun is completely equanimous.
Now this trickster who stole energy from the sun is abusive to us.  This Trickster, just like the classic abuser, makes us think we can't live without him.  And he lays guilt trips on us.   Guilt is debt.  He lays debt trips on us.  He makes us think we owe everything to him, that we can't take anything from him without paying him.  And he won't give to us if he doesn't judge us to be worthy.  He is utterly ungrateful, stingy, and blind, because he can't do for us what the sun is doing for him - giving freely, expecting nothing in return.  He can't forgive debt.  And because we are fooled by him, we are just like him, utterly ungrateful, stingy, and blind.  We can't do for others what the sun is doing for us - giving freely, expecting nothing in return - giving freely, without judgment.  We expect to be forgiven our debts, but we can't forgive our debtors.

Promethius & Epimethius

In Greek mythology, this Trickster who steals fire from the gods is called Prometheus.  The word Prometheus means "forethought" in Greek.  Prometheus has a twin brother named Epimethius, which means "afterthought."    Forethought stole fire from heaven.  Forethought and Afterthought are the mind not dwelling in the present.  Forethought is worry, worry for the future, worry that we will not be provided for, worry that something bad might happen.  Forethought is lack of faith.  Forethought thinks the sun doesn't know what it is doing, and doesn't know how to dole out energy.  After all, the sun supports the tyrant just as much as it supports the saint.  Because Forethought thinks he is smarter than the Sun, he steals the Sun's energy.  Epimethius, Afterthought, is inseparable from Forethought.  Afterthought is regret, guilt, debt.  Epimethius and Prometheus exist outside the realm of Grace, Faith, and Forgiveness. 
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?. . . .
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
   --Jesus (Matthew 6:25, 34)
But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
    --Jesus (Mark 13:11)
 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not promise falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord'.  But I say to you, do not promise at all. . . .  But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
   -- Jesus (Matthew 5:33-34, 37)
Promise is debt.  Debt is a promissory contract.
Do not make promises.  Do not premeditate.
Do not take Prometheus, Fore-thought.

We are Lost from the Medicine Wheel

 Our teachers tell us that all things within this Universe Wheel
know of their Harmony with every other thing,
and know how to Give-Away one to the other, except man. 
Of all the Universe's creatures,
it is we alone who do not begin our lives with knowledge of this great harmony.
All things of the Universe Wheel have spirit and life,
including the rivers, rocks, earth, sky, plants and animals. 
But it is only man, of all the beings on the Wheel, who is a determiner. 
Our determining spirit can be made whole
only through the learning of our harmony with all our brothers and sisters,
and with all the other spirits of the Universe. 
To do this we must learn to seek and to perceive. 
We must do this to find our place within the Medicine Wheel. 
To determine this place we must learn to Give Away.
                                           --Hyemeyohsts Storm , Seven Arrows

To understand a new view of our Judeo-Christian version of this Fall from Grace,
the taking of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil (the Tree of Thought of Credit and Debt)
please see my essay: