One of a few planned follow-ups to the first money critique , in a smaller dose:
As one who believes that given the chance humans (like other animals) have the innate capability of working and surviving harmoniously (usually) in direct, unmediated relationship to the land, I’ve often been told that I was being far too idealistic. Many of us surviving in modernity, I believe, have our brains as the last refuge for such pleasant utopian daydreams, rarely speaking to others about them. Now grown-up, we dismiss them ourselves to think about more real and practical things like money. But is money at all practical, and should we not listen when children say things like “isn’t it just paper?” and “can’t we just print more?”? (Some bankers and the Treasury/Fed are certainly listening to this latter advice à la QE)
The height of idealistic thinking is that pieces of paper have value. Its very legitimacy needs disproportional amounts of idealism to establish itself. I fancy that an ulterior motive to the child labor laws was to make children the captive audience to specific literacies that legitimized private property and the exchange value of currencies. Don’t let the unions set up their own schools that might teach Marxist and anarchist reflections on the industrializing path of the United States…
In any event, the frontal cortices of many now are channeled to thinking only about money and all its different dimensions; because money is so unreal, it can take on far more dimensions and dynamisms than would be allowed to something tangible.
Our problem right now is that our species is way too idealistic, I think Kunstler would concur saying we say we have succumbed to magical thinking. I think we could follow this idea all the way down to civilization’s roots, when some among us thought it would be a good idea to use grains as both a way to sustain ourselves and a way to keep track of wealth. Previously our wealth used to be in our bodies in terms of how healthy we were and how well we were getting on with our group of compatriots. Now we are deep in our heads looking for answers or for escapes, when what we really need is to be more in our bodies. If we live in a framework that separates our heads from our bodies, death is much closer, and so too is a loss of life. So again, ideas that we should be closer to the land, share the land with each other and the plants, fungi, bacteria, and animals—are these idealistic ideas? No, that’s our bodies attempting to wrest control from our narrow and mismanaging brains. The idealistic thinking is that we can keep this money thing going on into perpetuity, that representationalism is an appropriate path to follow to maintain our residency on this planet. Perhaps our greatest medicine to wake up from this hallucination is to grab a handful of forest floor soil and reawaken to the great cycle we have unplugged ourselves from.