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Charles Eisenstein on growing "the bright side of the Force"


Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economics, gave this inspiring talk to Occupy Wall Street, which is actually about growing “the bright side of the force”. This Star Wars inspired theme I couple with “the handicap principle“, which has a “bright” and a “dark” side; the selfish and the cooperative. Animals generally use just one of these forces in gathering acceptance and status, while humans are capable to use both or choose one. Or they don’t actually choose, they use the part of the force which is easiest to achieve within the current design of our societies. Unfortunately we have chosen to grow “the dark side of the force”, today growing these evil powers mainly through the ideologies of modernism and capitalism. As a result, community is almost gone.

To maintain eternal growth we need to turn more and more natural and human resources into products and services, rather than gifts. Ideally a mother making a meal of love to her children should have been turned into a transaction rather than a gift, to keep GNP growing. Sadly we are almost there, at the point where no more services can be transformed from community to money. We are at the end of growth. The sign is that community is gone — community has been torn to peaces by the beast of eternal growth.

Bonds between people cannot be created the same way within a transaction economy as it did in the gift economy. The gift economy is the tribal economy, growing the bright side of the force to its fulfillment, where invisible bonds are created between people through gifts, not services. How low have we as humanity gone in isolating things? The context, not the thing, is the key.

A debt based economy functions under the principle of competition, growing the evil side of “the handicap principle“. It cannot work another way. Watch the video above and you’ll hopefully be convinced. The ideology of economists tells us this is the only way to create prosperity. But the truth is that they have no idea how strong the bright side of the force is, the research gathered within the fields of psychology and human behavior ecology has proven this. We can beat the dark side using the massive amount of knowledge accrued on how to apply “the handicap principle” for creating a new gift economy!

See the video and get inspired! And then continue on to read Charles Eisenstein’s book — it’s posted for free on the internet here: Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition.

They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself. We all know the classic scenes from cartoons. The cat reaches a precipice. But it goes on walking. Ignoring the fact that there is nothing beneath. Only when it looks down and notices it, it falls down. This is what we are doing here. We are telling the guys there on Wall Street – Hey, look down! - Slavoj Žižek

This article is published at The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia on November 16, 2011

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