Thursday, April 19, 2012

still-sound 60. Moneyless

Mark Boyle foraging.  I found this picture on the internet but couldn't find a photo
 credit.  Thank you nameless photographer.

I admire this man.  His name is Mark Boyle.  I read about him in The Guardian.  He's lived without money since 2008.

Here's what he says:

I believe the key reason for so many problems in the world today* is the fact we no longer have to see directly the repercussions of our actions. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering involved in the production of the food and other "stuff" we buy. The tool that has enabled this disconnection is money.

So he went about living without money.  He grows and finds his food.  He lives in a solar-powered camper van.  He composts his waste and uses old newspapers as toilet paper.  He's a champion of the freeconomy movement.  He relies on other people and is relied on.

This is how the article ends:

The point is, I'd much rather have my time consumed making my own bread outdoors than kill it watching some reality TV show in a so-called "living" room. Where money once provided me with my primary sense of security, I now find it in friends and the local community. Some of my closest mates are people I only met because I had to build real relationships with others based on trust and kindness, not money.

I think he's on to something.  The way money operates in our culture preserves a cycle of scarcity, debt, and desire to consume.  Wealth trickles up the food chain and the few who benefit from the cycle have inconceivably large numbers attributed to them on computer screens.  Money is a symbol - a symbol we decided to be a measure of value. A symbol that allows and encourages us to think that some of us have more value than others and that we are independent from each other and from nature.  A symbol that leads us to believe that our actions don't have consequences.

Thank you Mark Boyle for doing something real.  I'm not ready to give up toilet paper yet but I am encouraged and enlightened by your model.

*He names some of these global problems: sweatshops, environmental destruction, factory farms, animal testing labs and  wars over resources.  This list doesn't even include the spiritual and emotional problems that should also be addressed.
**This comes from an article in The Guardian from 8 November 2009, titled My year of living without money


  1. Yes. I wonder about this so much. I feel like I'm in the grip of the wondering Left brain says: earn while you can; save up; make the common sense choices in career. Right brain says: RUN! Know what I mean?

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Mark Boyle is an extreme (but very necessary) model. I don't think I'd be able or even want to do what he does - I think my talents are better suited elsewhere. But I'm certainly inspired by him. For now I'm just trying to keep my senses open, notice and learn.