Does this title look like a failure assessment? Not at all, at least not for me. Some years ago, I made the conscious decision I would become useless.
By this, I mean unusable. No one, not even myself, can use me as a tool, an instrument, a servant or a master, a groupie or a guru, an employee or a boss. Roles and functions do not apply for a useless person.
As a useless person, I have no world to save, no cause to fight for, no enemy to fight against, no moral obligations, no responsibilities, no duty.
People say we need to “earn a living”. My mom and dad told me that (and they keep telling me). My grand-parents too, a long time ago. So did my school teachers, my barber, the guy at the gas pump and the politician on TV. As far as I know, I earned my life at birth. Why should I earn it again and again? Why should I do specific actions like doing a paid job to buy for myself the right to live? Today, I have no job, no position, no title, no social status. My resumé went to the trash. It feels really really good.
Do you find all this shocking? So why do we have cats and dogs? Why do we feel so touched by kids? Don’t we unconsciously enjoy and project ourselves into their delicious untroubled uselessness?
Uselessness has also freed me from the pervasive unconscious ideologies in which we have to justify our worthiness of living. Don’t we want to make our actions fit into some coherent “reason of living” or “meaning of life”? Don’t we like to claim the serving of a “greater purpose”? Don’t we navigate on these mental oceans where we see ourselves as small parts of a greater whole? We love to see ourselves as parts of greater wholes. It doesn’t matter whether we call them God, the Kosmos, Humanity, the Divine, Mother Earth or the Nation… They all point to a big thing that has its own agenda, its own laws. We don’t have much to say there. No debates, no democracy, big dictatorship. We just have to accept, to surrender (the correct wisdom word). This apparent conflict of interest between the I and the Whole will eventually provoke pain.
As Aurobindo pointed it, the mental always sees the part in the whole, but it can hardly grasp the whole in the part. When the experience of wholeness, of existing as the entire universe, became my predominant state of consciousness, when both the part and the whole melted together, I became useless. I turned into a human and a God, an entity and an essence, an immanence and a transcendence, a one and a many, temporal and eternal, small and immense, here and everywhere. The last sparks of utilitarianism did not survive that.
As a useless person, I can now live the life of an artist, of a God creator and destroyer of worlds, for the only ecstasy of the play. I can unleash creative actions that have no utilitarian purpose, by the grace of joyful expression. By an act of blissipline, I become my greatest masterpiece by means of scientific research, writing, music, martial arts, goofiness, sleep, making love, playing Ingress, hugging a tree or enjoying a self-indulgent, delicious indolence.
In her many books, the French writer Paule Salomon reminds us that thriving love can begin only after the inner couple has accomplished its marriage, once our masculine and feminine, our Shiva and Shakti, our Yang and Yin live, vibrate and celebrate fully in our psyche. Freed from the drives of need and compensation, the accomplished self becomes androgynous. He-she opens himself-herself to joyful celebration with other beings like him-her, nourished by the inner union. Two beings don’t meet anymore, but four, instilling in their amorous dance all the freedom they want.
Paul Salmon speaks about solar women and lunar men. I admire the richness of the ontology about love she has, coming from years of research. This ontology inspires my own work in collective intelligence where the question of the masculine and feminine holds a central place. Paule Salomon’s narrative also speaks to my own journey. I find myself in her words. Having your story spoken by another person than you doesn’t happen everyday 🙂
Here I would like to share a very beautiful passage of her book “La Sainte Folie du Couple” (the Holy Craziness of Couple). Paule Salomon details her vision of the lunar man better than what I could have written myself. It made me realize that one has to become either a solar woman or lunar man in order to experience love as I describe it in my series of articles “Sex, Sex, Sex“.
Lunar men, in the sense of reconciliation of the two poles, are in an evolutionary level where the psychic mind has supplanted the biological body. At the inner level, an important phenomenon happens, the one of self-presencing through the contact with the inner woman. Love isn’t that much external anymore, but internal, which doesn’t exclude, on the very contrary, the external woman. Lunar men are very appealing, as they have an idealistic side as well as a great flexibility. No doctrinal rigidity, a cheerfulness and a sweetness coming from inside that makes them very attentive to the moment. They are very present in love, very “cellular”, like the solar woman. Their body is vibrant and they like to arouse the body of the other. They are wonderful lovers, independently of the size of their sex, their age and their vitality. They establish a skin to skin communication, a psychological contact, they seek a soul communion. They like to receive caresses and surrender, to slip into a feminine passivity, solicit the active side of the woman during love. The harmony between the two masculine and feminine principles allows them to meet an inner fullness that makes them experience love in a different manner. Feelings like possessiveness and jealousy draw away, as well as feelings of rivalry, of affirmation by domination. Needs evolve, pleasure levels too. The behavioral harmony doesn’t obey to a moral demand, but to an inner need, to a taste. It is a matter of cooperating with the other just like we cooperate with our self, with the same friendship and the same pleasure.
The poet appears, the one who makes words dance, the one who becomes inflamed by a glimpse of a smile, a curve of a hip, a prominent breasts, the one who grows flowers, the one who whistles when he sees a woman passing by, the one who eats colors, the one who draws perfumes, the one who dresses women’s bodies with the impalpable, the one who doesn’t know what to invent next to love again and again this inescapable femininity from Earth, from life, the woman and her soul.
But where is this terrifying warrior from patriarchy, the one who wants victory from all wars he creates in a repeated hurry as he fears inaction and his secret desire for contemplation? He stands still there, but his sword now serves the poet. He doesn’t dominate anymore. He has surrendered to other values than his own, he willingly comes into rest, the rest of the warrior. He keeps the fearlessness of the knight to invest himself in action.
The lunar man is free, on the path to liberty. He can deeply and intentionally commit into a relationship as well as he can step away from any commitment. However he has a part of him that remains implacably and consciously alone, wild, for ever rebel to any structure. He holds a happy and fertile solitude that allows him to contact his anima. Rabindranath Tagore describes this encountering in his last poems:
‘One day in spring, a woman came In my lonely woods, In the lovely form of the Beloved. Came, to give to my songs, melodies, To give to my dreams, sweetness. Suddenly a wild wave Broke over my heart’s shores And drowned all language. To my lips no name came, She stood beneath the tree, turned, Glanced at my face, made sad with pain, And with quick steps, came and sat by me. Taking my hands in hers, she said: ‘You do not know me, nor I you- I wonder how this could be?’ I said: ‘We two shall build, a bridge for ever Between two beings, each to the other unknown, This eager wonder is at the heart of things.‘
This powerful awe seats at the very heart of things. The more the anima manifests itself in the shape of an image, a feeling, a music, the more the self is invited to live its inner rapture, the more it can land in the immediacy of the present and stop running after a never ending conquest. The lunar man has succeeded in joining sex, heart and sometimes spirit. This junction, even partial, allows him to thrive in love and kindness, with no deference. We feel well in his company, we feel a warmth, a wellness that can increase in the intensity of the exchange.
I want to begin this series of articles with preliminaries (or foreplay I may say) about love. Love, such a big and small word!
What follows comes from direct experience acquired along the years. Most societies leave young men and women completely uneducated about love. As a young man I had no clue about what love and sex really meant beyond the physical arousal and the technical play we could have with it. People can grow their consciousness through love and sex if they want to, however most of seem to remain where education brought them, i.e. ground zero, leaving them unhappy, illiterate and frustrated about this most important thing about our human experience: love.
Love as an art
First postulate: see love as an art. I became aware of this in my 30’s after reading Erich Fromm‘s, beautiful book “The Art of Loving” (you can read a little bit of it here).
If we consider love as an art, Fromm writes, then you will find in it both a theoretical and a practical aspect, just as you will in painting, music or dance. In dance we build body balance and flexibility, and we cultivate an extraordinary physical empathy with our partners. We develop an infinite set of gestures and steps. In music we have to stretch our fingers, play our scales, learn dozen of chords, train our ear, connect the gesture with the emotion. We must learn and integrate moves, techniques, compositions. In love we learn how to develop the “sense of the individuality of the other”, as Steiner writes, in other words how we can open our empathic doors to the extreme. One needs a lot of personal development in order not to fall in the alienating and conflicting abysses of fusion. In the sexual expression of love, we have these gestures, these breathings that open us to the knowledge of our body, our energies, our mutual ecstancy. Regardless the form of art, only patient learning leads to creative freedom.
Love as an art produces an even more essential aspect than the technical side described by Fromm: by essence art predicates limitless freedom and creativity. Most people experience love in a conventional way. We copy/paste the standard social models of love the same way we repeat the doctrines of religion. But art becomes putrified in the catacombs of conventionalism. Love as an art must endlessly open new paths. It relentlessly breaks the walls of morals, religion, social order, cultural diktat. Don’t we feel amazed and don’t we laugh when we see these texts, words, paintings or movies that shocked past generations? Today they look so old-fashion and so mainstream! However, what remains in us that continues to block us, to alienate us and to make us deny the others? What shadows keep us trapped in the denial of our essence, in the refusal of our freedom, in the fear of our divinity? Art, regardless of its form, has always pushed away boundaries and established new horizons. Love as an art implies we reinvent ourselves all the time and hunt our limitations.
Love has nothing of a feeling
Thanks to experience, life has offered me a second postulate: we cannot reduce love to a feeling or an emotion. Love comes from a state of consciousness that brings us into a “state of love”. We don’t fall in love, we rise in it. When we love, reality changes. Landscapes look enchanted, the air smells good, the weather feels nice even when it rains, life turns into a dream. We feel in joy and taken by a desire of kindness with the world. The graynesses of life vanishes. Indeed loving provokes feelings and emotions that spring out as consequences of our inner state.
Let’s not confuse causes and the consequences. Our emotions, thoughts and feelings constitute the ingredients produced by the inner source of consciousness. If anger, jealousy or fear come out of your “love”… do you really love? When the gauges turn red, they indicate you have left the state of love. Maybe you want to possess the other, maybe the other possesses you, maybe you suffer a pathological need for recognition, or a fear of solitude… Don’t delude yourself: in the name of love as socially defined, you transformed yourself into a tyrant towards yourself and towards the other(s). You don’t love, or you don’t love anymore.
I like to see authentic love as a shining sun. A sun doesn’t direct its beams towards such or such other celestial body. It simply shines. Sometimes its light illuminates other planets which in turn shine and irradiate around them. We can’t calculate love, it doesn’t direct itself towards specific things or people. Love comes from an inner state that can only feed itself from itself, in the being by the being. Love exists at the condition that it has no condition. Then it becomes love with the other, and not love of the other. In the state of love we become two luminous meeting stars shining at one another.
The language of love
Language plays a central role in the way we build our inner experiences. Language builds our reality.
So let’s explore these ontological questions. The ordinary language of love says “I love you”, or “I love Lea”, or “Julia loves Mike”. It addresses love like a vector with a direction pointing towards a target. Doesn’t Cupid shoot an arrow? If I love a person with directed love, it means I don’t love –or have less love for– the others. In radiant, non directed, evolved love, we love, full stop. Shouldn’t we make the verb “to love” intransitive?
Because of these limitations, ordinary language doesn’t support speaking of the universal state of love. It indulges us in romantic love, the binary, possessive form of love, that submits one person to another, that builds itself on the dialectics of dependency. Poor and powerless victims of life, we “fall” in love. Then we “marry” and we make these unsustainable and unbearable promises: “I commit not to change, to remain the same in order to hold on to the relational form that we impose on one another today. I love you, I marry you. No one else will appear in my life.” You know the next part of the story. Romantic love denies our capacity to love in a plural way, without calculating or dividing ourselves.
To make the landscape a little darker, the language of love comes with a complete set of statuses that sow the seeds of separation. Separation from the other, separation from oneself. Words like exclusivity, fidelity, going out with, splitting, dumping, in a couple, not in a couple… Let’s add to this some poor categories: boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, lover, concubine, partner, husband or wife, homo or hetero, gay or lesbian, monogamous or polygamous, exclusive or polyamourous… When I speak about my way to love, I see how people always try to put me in one of these boxes that describe a world of objects and categories. It rejects from our social field the full palette, the vast continuum of relational experiences that life can offer.
In short, due to its lack of subtlety and nuances, our language of love doesn’t shine very much. It doesn’t have much to do with the radiant suns I mentioned earlier. If we want to evolve, shouldn’t we reinvent the language of love? It believe this will elevate us, and so I work on it. Try it for yourself too! Invent words and expressions that speak to your deep, ultimate, reality. Give a new fresh meaning to old words. Free yourself from dusty taxonomies that create alienated love.
Towards the inner androgyny
The only realized couples I know come from people happy with themselves. People who have accomplished their inner marriage, the only one that works. A true love encounter doesn’t come to fill an inner deficiency. We meet to celebrate. You see me and welcome me through the splendor of my being, in my flaws and my weaknesses as well as in my strengths. I see you and welcome you in the splendor of your being, in your flaws and your weaknesses as well as in your strengths. I see you who sees me who sees you who sees me, and so on. The delightful game of infinite mirrors begins, well aligned in front of one another. A kaleidoscopic explosion happens, impredictible. Art springs out. The state of love sparkles inside myself, shining towards you.
Indeed inner happiness requires a personal journey, long for some, shorter for others. The state of love arises from inner androgyny, once we have given permission to both our masculine and feminine polarities to thrive fully inside ourselves. Our masculine and feminine have learned how to dance, how to complete, and how to love one another unconditionally. The exterior couple emerges from the inner couple.
I won’t go any further for now, as others have widely explored these horizons. I think of this French writer Paule Salomon, sadly not translated in English.
Now that I shared some preliminaries, I can start talking more directly about my experience. I will continue with the 4 lights that illuminate and guide my loving life.
I will keep using the verb to love, not in the romantic sense, but through the energy of the inner marriage that I just described, when the androgynous being unites and celebrates life with another being, nourished by the source of his/her inner radiance.
In the ‘about me‘ page, under the short section titled “Sex, sex, sex”, I share a few words about love, women and sex. Regardless of which context, culture or country in the world, these lines have provoked many conversations. I keep seeing how people seek answers to the same eternal questions about love. I have also discerned the patterns of love that prevail in different form of collective intelligence and different forms of consciousness.
In this series of articles, I will share with you how I experience love. Since the dawn of time, people have written powerfully of love; I don’t want just to rehash their work. However I think collective intelligence as a discipline offers an innovative way to look at love. Also, as a licensed (by myself ) explorer of life, I cannot not explore love, love liberated from its imposed dysfunctional forms from the past. So, how can I love today? What can I invent? How can I reconfigure myself in order to build harmonious, free, erotic and ecstatic relationships through the celebration of body, mind and spirit?
You may find these articles sometimes abstract or esoteric. From where you stand, you may find my words about sex and body crude or indecent. From where I stand I see sex and body as poetic instruments for the art of life. Through these words I want to offer my most naked truth.
First things first, let’s begin with some foreplay.
I dream this site manifesting as a gift. Not to possess it but to live in it and honor it. A gift that will allow me to continue my journey, my research work, CIRI’s development, writing… all these things I can then offer. So many empty houses and appartments exist everywhere! Do you have one to propose? Do you want to support me for my future lodging? I joyfully welcome all forms of riches, financial or material, that will support the next phase of my journey.
The more common Old English word for “need, necessity, want” was ðearf, but they were connected via a notion of “trouble, pain,” and the two formed a compound, niedðearf “need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed.” Nied also might have been influenced by Old English neod “desire, longing,” which often was spelled the same. Common in Old English compounds, e.g. niedfaru “compulsory journey,” a euphemism for “death;” niedhæmed “rape,” the second element being an Old English word meaning “sexual intercourse;” niedling “slave.” Meaning “extreme poverty, destitution” is from c.1200. Source: Online Etymology Dictionary.
In my research on the gift economy, I insist on the fact that we need to find a new language to express wealth. You can read it in the article “live rich“. Indeed, conventional language works well to describe the market economy, where everything gets bought, sold or exchanged. As for gift economy, the language that describes it remains anchored in an oral and archaic tradition. It doesn’t serve the semantic rigor that we need today.
A common word comes back all the time from the scarcity paradigm: need. What survival needs do we have, what needs for living, what needs for society, for a collective, etc.
This word narrows our view on economy down to the vital, to what we cannot live without. It leaves very little room to freedom, choice and responsibility.
Since I made the choice to live in the gift economy and integral wealth, the word need became completely inadequate. Indeed I can say that I need to eat, that I need a roof, etc. In the end, don’t these so called vital things relate to a choice? Haven’t I chosen to live? My journey has shown me that everything without exceptions falls under my full responsibility. Consequently I have no needs, but I have choices, desires, and a creative will. This founding freedom calls for riches that make us live, also the material and immaterial riches that make us thrive. How can we shrink it down to “needs”? The vow of wealth and your greatest gift articles express this philosophy of freedom.
So I had to come up with a new wording: desired wealth, or desired riches.
Today when people ask me about my needs, I then share a list of desired riches. A list that I will keep updated and share along my journey.
[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”ddddddd” bgcolorto=”ffffff”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]
In this page I share my list of desired riches, or more precisely my desired material wealth. You will find the whole spectrum, from the most basic forms (food, shelter, health care) to those that support beauty, goodness, truth and invite the highest expression of my being. I have also chosen not to support junk objects. I support quality (which I see different from luxury) and I would rather not own an object than acquiring one of bad quality, made in bad conditions to lower the costs, and that will eventually pollute because of its short life span.
Some ‘yes but’ thoughts may cross your mind while reading it. For instance:
By living in the gift economy, don’t I live off my friends and the world in general?
Why do I mix what serves for surviving with other things that may look trivial or not vital?
Whatever form of kindness you would like to manifest or talk about, please contact me so we can explore this together.
So, here we go 🙂
From your perspective, conventional money may offer the easiest way to support my son and I (food, shelter, school, etc), as it gives direct access to all the material riches I mention below.
I like the idea of you manifesting directly your generosity by offering one of the things listed below. You may prefer this too: it shows directly where your kindness goes, in a transparent way.
School for Estéban
Estéban goes to a Steiner-Waldorf school, a very special school that offers kids an incredibly creative and powerful way to blossom.
Per year: 4400€ ($4,700) – tax-deductible in France.
I eat organic raw vegan food. This article explains why. Estéban eats organic vegetarian food.
Monthly: 700€ ($750) – possible deal with a local organic food store.
A must have tool for delicious raw vegan cuisine. This one became a legend in the raw vegan community. It lasts for ever and has a 7 years warranty.
Estimated cost: 475-650€ ($500-$700).
A motorbike driving course
You drive a car, you pilot a motorbike. Safety and pleasure have to walk hand in hand. Therefore a 2 days advance driving course with one of the best teachers in the world has become a must for me.
Estimated cost: 900€ ($970)
A base in Paris
I come very often to Paris. Lot’s of my friends there can host me, however I rarely ask them for 2 reasons: first I come too often to invite myself every time, second my days begin early and end late, not super compatible with a social life. Hence why I use a lot’s of Airbnb and hotels. However I know Paris has lot’s of empty apartments. If you have one available, I will honor it and take good care of it.
A health insurance
The lifestyle I chose provides me with the wonders of an excellent health. However we never know what life will look like.
Estimated yearly cost: 1200-1500€ ($1,300-$1,600)
I don’t want lot’s of clothes, but those I wear have to embody quality and excellence, two qualities that should infuse every aspects of our life. My research on clothing has led to 4 criteria:
Elegant: we can keep elegant in everything, even when we practice sports
Technical: clothes that hold precise standards (warming, breathing, protecting, enduring, etc)
Nomadic: meaning light, easy to put in a back pack
Ethical: respecting nature, health, earthlings (i.e. vegan clothes or well treated and not killed animals in case of wool)
What will happen in the next 100 years? What if human consciousness made an incredible leap? Thanks to what, and to who? You will follow the story of 3 young adults in their journey through the 21st century and the shift of our species and its consciousness. Each of them will live an extraordinary adventure that will take them all around the world and at the edge of consciousness.
This novel requires that I give it a full year, full-time. What about contributing to its making?
A Systema seminar in Toronto or Moscow
I practice and teach this extraordinary martial art called “Systema“. It operates through the complete relaxation of the body while in extreme contexts. In order to keep improving my practice, I need to go to international meetings for instructors, both in Toronto and Moscow.
Evaluated cost: 3000€ ($3,200) that include travel, accommodation and seminar expenses.
Website, server, etc
My different websites (noubel.com, noubel.fr, TheNewRepublics, cir.institute) need maintenance costs (server, software…). Let’s add domain name renewals and some software I need to acquire from time to time. You can gift me on a case by case if you want. I would then ask you a few times a year, and you can freely say yes or no.
Estimated yearly cost: 1000€ ($1,200)
A bicycle remains the funniest way to circulate in urban environment and nature. I see a bicycle like an extension of myself, therefore I don’t want to compromise its quality. The one of my dream — the Trek Procaliber 9.8 — allows to ride everywhere in town as well as the most hilly trails.
Cost: 4500€ ($5,000)
A place to live in Aix-en-Provence
I dreamed of it, the dream came true, thanks to the generosity of the universe manifested through human heart. I became the happy renter of a little apartment in Aix-en-Provence. It will last until the end of November 2015. A peaceful place to write, to rest between my trips and to enjoy life with my son Estéban.
Yearly: 13,200€ ($14,000) – you can contribute for future years.
Gift economy as a system and lifestyle doesn’t have much space for it in the legal system, to say the least. I would like to work with a lawyer who feels passionate about these questions and who would like to explore new possibilities. What legal entities should we create, and what personal status should we choose? How can we open the path for others? How can we avoid paying taxes for war and other inhumane things, and direct wealth to the right actions?
A piano & home studio for music composition
These Yamaha pianos record not just the sound of what you play, but the real move of your hands on the keys. And they can reproduce it, or edit it into a score. I know that music composition will take a central place in my life.
Depending on the configuration, the amount goes from 20,000€ to 60,000€ ($21,000 to $64,000) for the piano + studio hardware & software.
I have learned from experience that when a person moves into the gift economy, most people think this person should ask only for covering his/her basic survival needs. Anything above this line may look futile and asking for too much. This train of thoughts uncovers, once more, yet another conditioning triggered by the market economy society.
Gift economy vs market economy
Market economy elaborates itselfs on a live tension between all parties, where everyone tries to get the best out of the others. For any given product or service, the seller tries to gain the highest possible margin with the least possible investment while the buyer tries to pay the lowest price with the most possible advantages. Everyone pulls the blanket on his own side. From these tensions some equilibrium allegedly emerges, carefully nourished by the belief that some invisible hand will eventually balance everything and that no one will ever fall off the cliff.
Another fundamental aspect: the market economy implies that you don’t give without a counterpart. You get rid of something only and only if an immediate reciprocal value comes back to you. No counterpart? Nothing given. From a systemic perspective, such a condition creates a lot’s of limitations.
Looking at those two facts –the market tension and the condition of reciprocity– I can’t say the market economy supports a very ambitious social contract. No judgment here, just using the lenses of collective intelligence. Indeed, would human society have scaled up without market economies and money as their technological infrastructure? Today we can do much better, with the Internet, with socialware and with a deep understanding of collective intelligence.
So, let’s take a look at the gift economy. It can work only when participants have the sense of the whole, hence the fact that gift economies have always existed at a small scale, in small communities. Indeed, it represents the oldest and most natural form of economy we know. In the gift economy, you know what to give, what to receive, and when. You understand the meaning of your actions and you don’t play as a blind player. This live relationship between the individual and the whole, or between the I and the We, we call it holopticism. What whole? The whole as your community or the whole as the universe, only the scale changes. Even though you may not have the capacity to fully track or understand the complex non-linear consequences of our actions, you allow a deep knowing of the rightness of your acts guide you. In a small community (a village, a family, a sports team…), you can easily track the benefits of giving and receiving, for you, for the others, and for the collective. If you come to play at the cosmic level, then you need relate on a deeper knowing of how the universe works. Neither this knowing can come from the deductive mind, nor you can track the ripples of your actions. The sense of the whole and the sense of rightness both come from a transrational (Wilber) or supramental (Aurobindo) inner process. With time this process gets strengthen by more and more direct experience and empirical evidence.
So, in the gift economy, a real gift implies the absence of any hidden debt, I want to insist on that. A gift comes with no strings attached and no bargain. It doesn’t say either we give or receive without conditions. In my case, I offer my time and expertise to people and organizations at the condition they give forward and open themselves to the generosity game. I also ask that we make everything open source. When we decide to go further, I offer my time only for pioneering projects because I define it as the playground where I play the best. As for receiving gifts, I make sure that they come from a joyful and fair act of gratitude.
From theory to practice
From an intellectual point of view, the gift economy seems quite easy to understand. Practicing it embarks us in another dimension. For instance I recently realized how a “virus” can insidiously poison the gift economy and twist it into a disguised market economy. This virus has a name: utilitarism. Basically it works on the belief that in order to live in the gift economy, one needs to prove his/her usefulness to society. In other words one should deserve what he/she asks for. Worthiness operates as a doctrine that defines our right to exist in a world where “earning a living” works like a mantra. It brings up a hidden meritocratic system where one must always prove his/her value and productivity.
As someone offering his time and skills these past years, I got the cool role. When I give, I do what I love, I evolve in the best possible context, I enjoy the recognition and the thanks from my peers. I manifest my usefulness.
Now time has come for me to ask for the wealth that will make me thrive, and I surprise myself legitimating my claim by justifying my usefulness. “Look at what I have accomplished so far and what I plan to do in the future. Don’t I deserve your support?” I had to come to this point of publicly asking for riches to become aware of the underlying ideology of utilitarism that my message carried.
Now that I see it, I want to avoid it. Giving unconditionally came as the first chapter. The next chapter will have this title:
Yes. The most risky, the most vulnerable and likely the most difficult part for many to understand. Not asking unconditionally it would mean not playing honestly in the gift economy. Who has the readiness to understand this behavior?
Holly bananas, why do I like to put myself into such trouble? 🙂
Another aspect of the gift economy consists in avoiding poorism, I mean the fact that we carry an unconscious ideology of poverty that leads to surviving rather than living.
The vow of wealth I took commits to honor the integral rainbow of wealth, material and immaterial, from basic forms (food, shelter, clothing, etc) to what serves the greatest personal achievement (joy, beauty, freedom, art, love, etc). The asking for things like a fancy cloth or a nice music instrument may look consumeristic to some, actually it embodies the exact opposite. Just ask to the universe, therefore to yourself first, for what makes you the freest and most creative person. No less, no more. We want to live among the right objects and flows that serve your greatest purpose and manifestation, and that serve the world as well. As for me, rather than just asking for “food” (poorism), I want to savor delicious organic fruits that make me healthy while it supports the environment. Rather than buying junk clothes made by waged slaves somewhere between Morocco, China or Bangladesh, I want to wear great clothes, well designed, high quality, that will last long, that do good to people who make them, as well as to the environment. Rather than getting a cheap tool that will last no longer than a year, I want the best one that will last forever. Integral wealth embodies beauty, goodness and truth..
So, unlike what most people may think (or not think at all), the gift economy goes in an opposite direction than consumerism, materialism, negotiation, conditionality. Gift economy does not mean poorism. Gift economy invites higher standards and higher social agreements than conventional market economy. It fundamentally says that we offer the best to one another, way beyond what market can do.
I want to build the faculty of asking for the whole rainbow of gifts, in the most relaxed and open way I can. Gifts that make me bloom, not just those that make me survive. Does it mean a lot? In the absolute, no. Remember, inviting integral wealth has nothing to do with consumerism. Does it include expensive stuff? Yes in some cases, from the conventional monetary perspective. Do I need these things do survive? No, definitely not. Did I come on Earth just to survive? No, definitely not. I exist to blossom, which means offering and receiving the best, nicest possible gifts, for the sake of joy, creativity and playing the life divine together.
Does what I say have anything to do with the theory of usefulness? Not at all. It may look paradoxical, but the more I learned to welcome and claim my unusefulness, the deeper I could enter in a generous relationship with the world.
Research in collective intelligence, as you know, connects to every aspect of social life. One of them I like very much: food. Indeed, what lands in our plate comes from a collective process that involves ecosystems, animals, plants, many humans, and a lot of technology.
First, collective intelligence in the nutrient: from its birth to our plate, food carries a super complex thread of life, death, actions, experiences. Collective intelligence in the cuisine, one of the pillars of every culture. Collective intelligence in the very fact of eating. From time immemorial, a meal represents a universal space of sharing and togetherness, present in every civilization. What happens in our psyche when we eat? What does our species and our planet experience during the billions of meals that happen every day? Collective intelligence, in the beliefs and ignorance that haunt every society and every human in regards to food. Everything tells me that this ignorance plays an active role in the genesis and homeostasis of every culture. Once more, it raises the question of truth in the collective.
I had to start from somewhere in order to open this long inquiry. So I began with this very simple question that I use as a guiding thread:
What food makes us healthy while doing good to the living in general?
A first quick answer: certainly not the food that lands in our plate today.
I have explored this single question for years, both at the theoretical level –health, nutrition, environment– and at the personal level, observing the changes that happen in me when I shift my diet (I also speak about it in the about page).
What do we call health? I often hear people reply “not having any disease“. An answer somehow superficial and automatic, that focuses only on the individual. A person may have no biological disease and yet have a calamitous health due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor psychological, social and spiritual life. It doesn’t matter whether we talk about the body, the mental or the spirit, we quickly come to realize that health operates as much in the individual as in the collective, and that we build our connection with health with culture and unconscious assumptions.
What would happen if…
… humans began to eat consciously?
I like to contemplate this latter question. Of course we can expect quite positive consequences on health and ecology, somehow easy to extrapolate. Inner transformation catches my attention even more, as consciousness walks hand in hand with the way we feed ourselves.
As for my personal journey, the call for a healthy and conscious eating lead me to become a vegetarian first, a vegan next. Then I got rid of fat and gluten, and evolved towards raw food. People call it live food, and in this more precise case, I love to stick to the 80-10-10 diet. It seems that this way of feeding myself addresses each and every question I raised earlier:
At the ecological level, this diet supports ecosystems, as we need to plant trees. It highly reduces the ecological footprint (water, carbon, pollution, etc) ;
At the individual level, after I explored many different diets and cuisines, I have never experience something better than live food healthwise. My body works better, it has a more robust defence system (I rarely get sick), it gains energy, liveliness, endurance, sleep, sexual capacities, you name it! My ideas and thoughts become clearer, I need less hours of sleep, my consciousness keeps expanded. Body, mental, spirit… every plane enjoys the ride;
At the societal level, the live food cuisine builds a harmonious relationship with our environment, and with ourselves.
However I don’t say that humanity should move towards this specific diet. The question of food has an infinite number of parameters which we cannot corner in a simplistic answer. I don’t believe in the ultimate diet. Furthermore, I don’t cope with systems that want to enclose every human being in a unique behavioral model that everyone should follow so that society can work. All the “isms” of industrial society have their root in this idea of homogenization. We know the consequences. So here I just try to unveil some principles that may have interesting consequence in a vaster and more diverse landscape of parameters and behaviors.
Ignorance as an active principle
Revolution Slider Error: Slider with alias plate not found. Maybe you mean: 'home' or 'questions_parfumées' or 'fantomas' or 'a-propos' or 'evoluer-tous' or 'assiette'
Food offers an extraordinary space of observation for my research on the active principles that provoke and maintain ignorance and beliefs in the society. By “active principles” I make a distinction from “passive principles” of ignorance that come from a simple lack of knowledge.
For instance, people often explain to me that we can hardly survive without animal proteins. They assure with an absolute certainty that we have a carnivore metabolism, and that fruits don’t contain proteins. Have they seriously explored other perspectives than what the doxa imposes to them? Rarely.
Ontological obscurantism adds itself to these false beliefs, I mean the use of words and semantic categories that separate us from the way reality works, and from the empathy we can have with other living beings. Let’s take the word meat for instance. This word “thingyfies” the living by downgrading it to the level of inert and mineral matter. The same happens when we say we eat chicken or fish, of when we raise cattle. These words don’t connect us to the web of life. Thingyfication belongs to ontological mechanisms which purpose consists in maintaining a separation with a vaster and more evolved reality.
Even more interesting: although many people know their diet doesn’t do good to them, how many decide to change? A tiny minority. The majority perpetuates its usual addictions, saturated with certainty. Rather than radical change, this majority prefers drugs, cardiovascular diseases, hospital and all the related victimhood. What kind of dependency and belief maintains people trapped in their own jail at the expense of their own life? The discipline of collective intelligence gives us a profound understanding of this equation. I will write more about it in the future.
Meanwhile humanity dips in its own obscurantist juice and its crass ignorance. I see the signature of a collective consciousness not quite yet awaken, driven by the insatiable and anguished pulls of crowds in need of fat, sugar, salt and blood. The massacre of an unprecedented barbary perpetrated every second on other non-human beings proves it. On top of it, a disaster in the human community in which junk food became the best Grim Reaper’s ally in industrialized countries. Our descendents will likely see our societies as extremely violent and archaic.
The evolution of our species will not happen without the evolution of the way we eat, which invites us to exploring every possible direction, then share the experience. Exactly what I intend to do here.
In the end, don’t you think the true question consists in learning which energetic flow keeps us alive, happy and healthy? Physical food provides energy contained in the matter that the body harvests through chemical reactions. However the matter does not compose us, it goes through us. Like cresting waves, we keep a shape for a certain time. This shape erects, transforms and melts itself back in the Great Ocean.
Therefore I focus on the very way we can manifest and keep our vital energy without narrowing it to physical food, just like we cannot confuse “travel” with “car”. Let’s not confuse the end and the means. Direct experience again has shown me that no simple correlation exists between the quantity of calories we absorb and the energy present in the body. Many other emotional, psychological and spiritual factors play in the equation. We can control and regulate our energetical state not just through the sole food, but also through meditation and breathing techniques. People usually mention pranic food. I don’t cope well with this naming since no eating process happens here. An inner autonomous process takes place in the very center of the body, very different from the “filling” from an external source. Indeed, in this precise state of consciousness, the words outer and inner don’t mean very much anymore. How can we separate the wave from the ocean?
I already hear the “impossible!” shouting and other miffed arguing: how can a scientific mind like mine consider other options than physical food? Precisely, science consists in exploring the unknown and integrate what comes from observation, without judgment, and not to reject things that don’t fit in our current map of reality.
I have already tasted enough of the energetical approach to make it a privileged direction of my research. I’ll keep you posted.
30 bananas a day: an international community site for those who want to evolve towards 80-10-10 diet
Earthlings: aurez-vous le courage de voir ce film jusqu’au bout ?
[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”ddddddd” bgcolorto=”ffffff”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]
Truth doesn’t mean to remain serious. On the contrary, it takes a great deal of humor to embrace it.
I hear lot’s of people affirm clearly and loudly that “no absolute truth exists!“. Big smile here. At the very moment they say this, don’t they state some absolute truth? Here comes the mental biting its own tail.
I won’t do an essay on truth here, many have done it across the millennia. I just mean to clarify my own approach. When I commit to truth, I talk about the truth of what springs up from me: ideas, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, inspiration, drives, desires… all these raw experiences, in their primordial naked truth, and that I contemplate and welcome unconditionally. I don’t claim that these inner events manifest any truth about the outer world. For instance, if I think of a Centaur, it doesn’t have a true existence in the animal world (until we prove the contrary), however no one can deny the truth of the presence of this thought inside me, and I can share it if needed. Therefore, when listening to you, if images or associations of ideas appear, I can make them available for you if you want. I can offer the subjective mirror of my inner truth, with your permission, of course. Not altering or toning down this inner truth implies I don’t subdue myself to what social codes, morals, or reserve impose. Expect that if you meet me. I will feel grateful if you do the same.
Once more, the gift economy enters the dance. Truth presents itself naked, it cannot come dressed up with conditions and intentions. Without judgment and censorship, truth fulfills us.
Collective intelligence: what space for truth?
As a research discipline, collective intelligence raises the question about the relationship to truth in collectives, if not in entire societies. What role does truth play? At which moment does it threaten the underpinning of a collective? By extension, what role do the beliefs have in the uphold of a collective?
These beliefs have a name: doxa. If refers to the reality built on assumptions or postulates that no one has put to the test. In order to understand this principle, we just have to examine old doxas. An easy exercise since we don’t live inside these old paradigms anymore. For instance, ancient doxas put the Earth in the center of the universe, or declared that men with black skin don’t have a soul and can serve as slaves, or affirmed that we descend from Adam and Eve. Let’s not delude ourselves: today like in the past we live in a very, very, very sticky doxa. I will write more about it in the future.
For now, let’s just remember that collectives grow up in a hodgepodge of doxa and truth, and I feel quite interested in analyzing this.
In pyramidal collective intelligence societies (that shape the most part of humanity today), humans maneuver in a matrix that shapes them from the outside. Why? Because pyramidal collective intelligence relies on chains of command, and it needs predictable humans for this. Without predictability of its members, what chain of command can work? So, school teaches little humans to separate what they experience inside with what they have to do. At the cost of years spent sitting in a classroom, kids learn how to break away the being and the doing. The humans of pyramidal collective intelligence develop extraordinary capacities in the doing, while not knowing themselves inside. Because it takes such an effort for truth to dawn deep inside ourselves, it faces the same issues to find its way in the society. Since birth, without realizing it, we learn many strategies of lie. Strategies of avoidance, decorum, social codes, sense of duty… The “how are you” followed by the automated answer “well!” look like a ritual that seals the disconnection between the inner world and the external social world.
Holomidal collective intelligence, in a full eclosion today, offers a strong incentive for humans to build their individuation. Furthermore, the mutualistic economy invites us to a new social practice of truth. Mutualism requires radical transparency for the broadcasting of knowledge and open source, for underwriting the visibility of resources and wealth, for the thriving of collective governance… Holopticism calls for the forming a collective truth as a condition for functioning. The relationship to truth evolves: it becomes a prerequisite.
Truth, the quintessence of art
Lying requires a practice, truth requires an art: we need to know how to give consistency to the intuitions that enlighten us, then learn how to formalize them in the world, while we welcome the flow of an erotic joy.
Art means techniques. Education has taught me the techniques of lying, I decided to learn the techniques of truth. What practice do I need to make the truth bloom inside me? How can I bring it beyond the stage of vague intuitions so that, very quickly, it can take a consistent form in my inner universe? In what form should I manifest this truth? Language? Music? Images? Gesture? Silence? Emotions?
The technique of truth has also taught me not to deliver a truth if I feel it dressed with an intention, for instance the urge that the person “understands” such or such thing, or that he/she needs to make such or such decision. Similarly, I would never say something like “You are this or that” to someone. I the person asks me, I say “I feel this or that inside me“. By doing so, I can offer an objectivized truth that reflects what happens in my subjective self. I make it a work to contemplate, a work that doesn’t force itself on people.
Truth does not come from deduction, truth springs up. Even when we think we deduced it, our creative impulse strikes sparks of evidences, lighting up a new reality that the being wants. An artistic act, again. I see this happening even in a forensic investigation. Investigators look for a truth deduced by means of objective proof (fingerprints, DNA, etc). Through this obstinate quest for objective facts, a new reality wants to manifest, a world with a clear line between the guilty and the victim, a world with the narrative of a human story where the collective myth can beat. Criminals of an epoch sometimes become the heroes of another epoch, and vice versa. The doxa hides itself not far… Yes, even the material and objective truth worded by scientific proof comes from the subjective self.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which truth we speak about — express a reality in our consensual way to perceive the world, make a logical deduction or a scientific inductive reasoning— it always leads to the creative self that calls for a new reality. I wish to make truth an artistic practice, it starts by uncompromising observing and sharing about what manifests in my deepest self. Even if it seems obvious on the paper (or the screen), it attracts spaces and situations that challenge what usual social codes and norms.
What about you? What relationship to truth did you decide to have in your life? Do you have a moment when you say “stop” to truth? Until which point do you think we can go, individually and collectively?
[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”F8F2EF” bgcolorto=”F8F2EF”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs some improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]