Going Post-Monetary

Will work for BitcoinsBitcoin?

As someone working on the vision and technologies of the post-monetary society, people keep asking me what I think about Bitcoin. Well, you know what? Not much.

Although Bitcoin works in a decentralized, peer-to-peer, open source way, it still remains part of the conventional scarcity paradigm. The fact that it plugs in the conventional scarce money infrastructure ($, €, etc) infuses the scarcity DNA in it. Even worse: it sticks to the “coin”, such an old meme! However I do acknowledge Bitcoin as a step towards the post-monetary society, while remaining inside the mainstream paradigm. It truly questions the bank monopoly for money issuance which paves the way to new possibilities. Advocates and users of Bitcoin will very likely make all possible mistakes that will accelerate the shift.

Complementary currencies?

I like complementary currencies for the service they offer. They help people make the first baby steps out of money as a unique and exclusive way to look at economy. They help people make all necessary mistakes, trials and errors, that may eventually lead them to think “out of the bucks”.

Today different categories of complementary currencies co-exist (some of them can have multiple roles, for instance local and social):

  • Local (or regional) currencies: they help a local territory (town, region, etc) to re-monetize themselves and uplift the local economy. Examples: Ithaca Hours (USA), SOL project (France), Chiemgauer (Germany)
  • Corporate currencies: they support a specific economic sector. Examples: air miles (travel sector), the WIR (corporate economy in Switzerland), Meal Vouchers (restaurant industry)
  • Social currencies: they support social and solidarity economy in the society. Examples: Time Banking (USA), Banco Palmas (Brasil)
  • Targeted currencies: they enhance a specific outcome in the economy. Example: carbon currency

I don’t put any work and efforts in complementary currencies. Their name says it all: they complement the system, just like complementary food complements your diet because of its inherent deficiencies. Complementary food and complementary currencies exist because of the mainstream system. On the good news side, we can see complementary currencies as the first steps towards a global interoperable open protocol (see below), just like local networks initiated the transition towards the Internet in the early 90’s.

Decentralized money?

I just came across a conference given by Fred Wilson, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. I like the clear way he shares current trends and how it directs his investments. Fred has a good insight when he says the next currency system has to become an open internet protocol. First time I hear it from someone else than our small circle. Years ago it looked like pure science fiction when I shared this idea, now an investor says it, good news! However Fred Wilson still reduces his forecast to a decentralized monetary system, which means:

  1. a technology that only addresses movable wealth (commodities, services), and not integral wealth (i.e. movable, measurable, rankable, acknowledgeable, potential — see conferences below).
  2. a technology that operates only in the conventional market economy, i.e. where we just exchange things, and forget about other possibilities. It discards the rise of gift economies which, in my sense, will prove to become much more powerful and generative than the current market economy limited by immediate conditional reciprocity.

Shifting to the post-monetary society

I think our view on the not-so-far future can go way further. Basically:

  1. Next post-monetary technologies will work on an open internet protocol (Fred Wilson got this part, which I find very cool and rare) that will allow diversity, multiplicity, interoperability
  2. Post-monetary technologies will provide a language of integral wealth, not just movable wealth
  3. Post-monetary technologies will allow large scale gift economies that transcend (and include) market economies

Think out of the BucksWe still have many creative options to name this evolution. Just like the rise of aviation, it will develop its own ontology in our conventional language. I like to use expressions such as “language of wealth”, “integral wealth”, “wealth technologies”.

Also, we don’t have a word to acknowledge the fact we create wealth, in its truest and broadest sense. Hence the creation of the verb to weal: to generate, to give birth to wealth. In the future, we will weal. Weal as wheel (free wheel), weal as will (free will), etc. Will Will wheal? Years ago I booked domain names freeweal (org, com, etc) and weal.me. They wait for their time.

Last but not least, this shift will eventually take us way, way further than what everyone predicts now. The next language of wealth will become a language of flows. We evolve from our current language of finite objects and their relationships towards a language of flows, alive, always changing, quantic (filled with superposed possibilities), holographic (where the I and the We contain each other), super-conscious. There I see the one of the next leaps of our species.

Much more to say about it, hence my long retreat at the present moment (feel free to weal me :-)).

More in-depth

Here come some key conferences about this topic.

Integral Wealth

Jean-François Noubel – Centifolia – Oct. 2013 – Grasse, France

Towards a Systems’ Paradigm and a New Expressive Capacity

Arthur Brock interviewed by Ferananda Ibarra.

After money – TEDx Paris

 

 


From Need to Desire

 

Etymology of need
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.

 

Basic NeedsSince 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]

 


Desired Riches

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?

Well, if such thoughts cross your mind, then why not you read the asking unconditionally article and the FAQ?

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 🙂

Enveloppe heartConventional money

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.

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EstébanSchool 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.

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Raw food heartFood

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.

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Blender Vitamix 5200A blender

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).

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Ostrich riderA 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)

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Tour EiffelA 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.

Séparateur fleur

goat_dental_brace_400x400A 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)

Séparateur fleur

HoodieClothing

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:

  1. Elegant: we can keep elegant in everything, even when we practice sports
  2. Technical: clothes that hold precise standards (warming, breathing, protecting, enduring, etc)
  3. Nomadic: meaning light, easy to put in a back pack
  4. Ethical: respecting nature, health, earthlings (i.e. vegan clothes or well treated and not killed animals in case of wool)

For instance a pair of pants and a Chino from Outlier. Some underweart-shirtssweat-shirts et a hoodie from IceBreaker.

Séparateur fleur

écrivainA year to finish my novel

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?

Séparateur fleur

Attaque systemaA 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.

Séparateur fleur

website_200x200Website, 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)

Séparateur fleur

 Trek bike Procaliber 9.8 SLA bicycle

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)

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Survival shelterA 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.

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Happy LawyerLegal support

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?

 

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Silent piano YamahaA 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.

 

 

 


Asking Unconditionally

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

You get what you pay forMarket 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.

Smurf VillageSo, 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

MeritocracyFrom 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:

“asking unconditionally”

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? 🙂

Avoiding poorism

Rabbit with carrotAnother 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.

Just ask

Silent Piano YamahaI 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.

So, now time for the real practice. Here comes my wish list of desired wealth (and not “needed” wealth).


Live rich

In September 2009, the vow of wealth sprung in me. It opened a journey for the future. Today, this vow became so much a part of myself that I don’t think about it anymore.

This vow had 2 main consequences: leaving money step by step, and shifting to the gift economy.

Piles d'eurosLeaving money…

My research in collective intelligence show well how money has become an outdated technology. Money exists as a catalyst for pyramidal collective intelligence, characterized by concentration of power and resources, with scarcity as a social dynamics and economic engine. Money will not survive the advent of holomidal collective intelligence that has already begun to develop its own technologies to sustain its economy based on mutualism, distributed networks, integral wealth.

Using less and less money offers me the necessary distance to understand today’s social dynamics, and see how we can do better. With other researchers, we imagine the next technologies for the post-monetary society that will allow any social organism to make visible and to regulate any form of wealth .

Today I still use a little money for my son and I, mostly for our primary needs: food and clothing. Others have chosen to live 100% without money, which seems to occupy 100% of their time. Because they document well this precious experience, it allows me to engage in other fronts.

This FAQ will tell you more.

OrangerGift economy

I live in the gift economy since September 2011. I decided to live this way in a world where we need to buy and sell everything, in a culture where the expression “to earn a living” doesn’t shock many people. I earned my life through my birth.

Like a tree I ripen my fruits and offer them to whoever wants them. Everything I receive comes as a gift. The material riches that manifest don’t come from a sale or an exchange. They arrive because of gratitude, joy, friendship: a meal, a smile, a trip, a cloth, a tool, knowledge, a shelter, a healing, a book, money, a thanks, a know-how, an advice, a computer, a music instrument…

Pyramidal collective intelligence societies developed a powerful and complete ontology to describe and engineer the market economy, as it belongs to their DNA. The gift economy, on the other end, only gets a few fuzzy, incomplete and approximate words. They do not cover the whole spectrum of the experience. We need a language to deploy the knowledge and the engineering of gift economy. I work on this. From the system’s perspective, gift economy possesses much more complexity and potential than market economy. This complexity that grows with size explains why gift economy has never expanded beyond the size of original collective intelligence that we find in micro-communities. The rise of holomidal collective intelligence frees us from these limitations.

Living in the gift economy makes us leave lot’s of beliefs, behaviors, thoughts and conditioning carried by the “we” that manifests unconsciously in the “I”. I refer, in particular, to “poorism“. Poorism carries the idea that living in the gift economy makes you poor, that what we only receive dimes and nickels that benevolent souls through in our hat, that we spend our time surviving rather than living. Make no mistake. I learned how living in the gift economy offers the best way to manifest the vow of wealth and evolve in integral wealth. Even if my financial balance often flirts with the absolute zero, even if sometimes I don’t know what I will eat tomorrow (which happens in this very moment when I write this article), my wealth equation reaches extraordinary levels. In the end, neither did I face cold or hunger, nor did I experience fear.

Indeed, the practice of gift economy makes us meet a key law of the universe: providence. For anyone who creates in a joyful way, inspired by his/her essence, a symbiotic phenomenon with the universe happens: we receive what we need, exactly at the right time. Often at the very last moment. No manipulation allows for this. We have to exist, fully, plainly, and not fear death. I named providence (or serendipity, to take a contemporary word) not as a philosophical or religious concept, but as a direct experience. Don’t judge, don’t reject before you have tried it for yourself.

I will always have a great joy to share the next insights that this journey provides.

[stextbox  id=”info”]This text written in e-prime by a Frenchie requires improvements in the writing. Feel free to make suggestions![/stextbox]

Perfumed questions

Fleur CentifoliaCentifolia 2013, “The Riches of a Product”, focuses on radical innovation. It feels quite normal that people from this sector ask questions sourced from their paradigm, and wait for responses intended to match this same paradigm. Hence my attempt to address a list of corporate questions sent by some leaders, and to answer from the new paradigm. A somehow perilous exercise that creates lots of shortcuts if we want to stick to short answers.

Don’t hesitate, dear reader, to share your feelings and your own questions.

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We observe falling perfume sales. How can we enhance consumers’ desire again?

Behind its apparent simplicity, this single question contains multiple questions. Let’s begin with the consumer notion, which points to a dying paradigm. This term evokes a big voracious mouth that swallows, absorbs and consumes anything we send into it right after we triggered some desire. Although we will witness the flourishing of new consumers in BRICS countries, this word, consumer, will more and more lose its meaning. Tomorrow people will want to work on their individual fragrance. How can they have a pleasant smell, for themselves and for others? For this they will connect to their tribes via social media. They will ask for coaching, for an experience with perfumers rather than trying to look like such or such star or belong to a market segment. They will want a dialog. The role of perfumers will consist in coaching individuals and tribes through their journey. It will require constant interaction. We leave industrial models behind to enter in the dynamics of the experience economy. The latter uses rich mechanisms of regulation/response, those that we find today on the Net via social media and gamification.

Blame the consumer

Let’s pursue the question linked to “perfume”. What we call a perfume today comes as an industrial and packaged product. Once more, it embodies all the vision of consumerism built by mass industry. Tomorrow, olfactive consciousness will reappear thanks to personal development that more and more people engage themselves in. Perfumers will become those who enchant cities, who offer an olfactive soul to public and private spaces, who help organizations and people in discovering their fragrances, fluctuating through time and moods. From dynamics built on conformism and belonging, perfume will become a language again.

What is a conscious market?

A conscious market has the faculty to understand and envision the meaning of its actions, and their consequences. In a conscious market, people direct their purchases not anymore on the sole quality-price ratio (industrial age and consumerism), but on a set of multidimensional wealth criteria such as environment, health, sustainability, natural products, GMOs, organic growth, fairness, respect of animal, ecological footprint, ethical behavior, craft, AOC, etc.

The economic landscape has just started to understand this multidimensionality of wealth which still remains in a wild state, without homogeneous information and identification. This will soon evolve. Methodologies allowing to visualize integral wealth like the ones developed by the CIRI, or certifications like B-Corp, offer promising progress.

How to crack the next business model ?

Coupons - cartoonThe question, as formulated, falls in the old paradigm and perpetuates it. We can already abandon the term “business model” to talk about “wealth model”. This opens an entirely new and promising path.

We cannot answer quickly such a rich question, however we can say that wealth models in the future will operate on the experience economy, social media, and conscious markets. Most big company leaders don’t have any awareness of this today. Sadly this will have a dramatic impact on their enterprise. Thanks to its commitment to radical innovation, Centifolia will open these new horizons to whoever wants to look at them.

How can we promote co-creation in pyramidal organizations?

Because of their very structure, pyramidal organizations generate an intrinsic limit to co-creation because they rely on inherent scarcity mechanisms, written in their DNA. Scarcity of money, scarcity of leading positions, a territorial view of reality, an asymmetry of relationships, and chains of command that limit access to crucial information. All these forces oppose   co-creation. A pyramidal organization can admittedly reach a certain level of co-creation — recent organizations like Google or Apple demonstrate it — but it remains way below what we might yet achieve.

Once more, the answer to this question implies an evolution of the very structure, from pyramidal to holomidal. A utopia? Of course not! We just need to observe the collaboration and mutualistic economy rapidly expanding on the Net to get a concrete sense (recognizing these just as first steps of this phenomenon). Some keywords: clouds of people, tribes, distributed networks, communityware, social media, leadership, accountability, digital self, conversations, crowd sourcing, cross-pollination… Furthermore we can notice that co-creation happens more outside conventional enterprises than inside.

Companies will evolve when they understand that co-creation and innovation happen more in the social engineering side than anything else.

How can we manage a global brand and remain close to the local customer?

To do this, we have to understand the experience economy, conscious markets, the leverages of integral wealth, crowd sourcing. These social dynamics operate quite differently from consumerism and industrial processes. Only a very few large companies have understood and integrated this today. They would just have to hire a good pioneering team and they give them carte blanche to create a brand that works on these dynamics. A rather small investment compared to the returns in teachings and a potential success. That said, the very notion of “customer”, that involves a supplier or a service provider, will transform too. Clients will fully enter in product and services conception processes of the future.

Is a multicultural product possible?

The conference on the fractal way to look at the world will demonstrate that multicultural products will thrive and will become a major strategic axis, as we cannot think in geopolitical and socioeconomic blocks anymore. Bruno Marion will explain that less difference exists between a 25 years old Chinese and a 25 years old Britisher, than exist between their parents.

How can we innovate (formulas, packs, labeling) in an increasingly constraining regulatory framework that impose longer and longer development plans?

Pyramidal collective intelligence enterprises will find themselves more and more helpless facing this increasing complexity. They have to evolve towards holomidal collective intelligence, distributed, hyper-connected, super-learning, capable of overcoming these limitations.

Does customer experience take precedence on the product benefit and the brand?

One cannot enclose our focus on experience to the client anymore. We must extend it to the whole chain of people who developed the product or service. An experience that reflects itself from people to people. In a conscious market, a client in London wants to know what a salaried person in China lives like, and a manufacturer in Madrid cannot ignore anymore the life conditions of an indigenous community that provides raw material. Therefore we want to embrace experience in its whole spectrum over the entire chain of value creation. There we fully enter the experience economy! An ecosystem of people capable of perceiving each other, a whole that becomes aware of itself… this liberates economic and operational capacities that overrun the ego-centered enterprise from the industrial age.

How can we sell an invisible wealth in current circuits?

First let’s understand that only a minority of the immense spectrum of wealth fits into what can be sold. Do we sell a quality of air, health, biodiversity, joy, trust, a know-how, a label, a reputation? We can measure some of these forms of wealth (quality of air, biodiversity, physiological health…), while others come from an experience we acquire subjectively that we can then express verbally (psychological health, joy, trust…). These forms of wealth cannot materially “circulate” inside a product we purchase. This rightly leads again to the experience economy. In this context, the product doesn’t represent the goal anymore, but a catalyst that triggers a chain of experiences between the people who design and the people who use. In this human network, people communicate and dialog via social media and communityware. Feedback loops operate everywhere, beforehand during the conception phase of a product, during its use phase, until its end. The famous “Cluetrain manifesto” had already foreseen this phenomenon in 1999, in its famous quote “markets are conversations“.

Can we be value driven and generate optimal profits?

Margin improvementWe cannot raise this question without including the time variable in it. On the short term, we often get that we can obtain higher margins if we put aside a certain number of values. On the middle and longer term, experience has proven exactly the opposite. It becomes even more true in the Internet age, where transparency becomes almost impossible to avoid. Conscious markets will increasingly punish the lack of transparency. Many brands have already experienced this, and this trend will just increase.

Making profits that rely on strong negative externalities (make others pay the harm we cause on the environment or on populations) has a boomerang systemic impact that will result in pay back someday or another. How long will civil society put up with paying negative externalities created by companies, in a time when we can almost trace everything?

Finally, as we shared in other responses, we must now evolve into wealth assessment and not just financial balance sheets. Financial profits will remain an important component, just like the arterial pressure in the body, but it will come in a multidimensional space of wealth, much more evolved and efficient for companies’ strategic evolution.

How can we maintain competitive margins by selling “made in France” products?

Made in France - FemaleIn regards to margins, the previous question offered an answer. Let’s focus on the “made in France” part. The “Made in France” label offers the opportunity to convey specific values leading to integral wealth that widely go beyond the sole quality-price ratio in which exhaustion awaits everyone. Rather than competing for the exclusive cost reduction of labor, we should rather develop our creativity on integral wealth that the “Made in France” label can embody and carry. This happens through the development of charters enhancing integral wealth that coordinate with the holistic steering of future economic systems. The State has definitely an important role to play in this process. Here again the research work of CIRI should help go in this direction.

What story telling for a product X sold on the other side of the planet?

“Story telling” represents an attempt, often clumsy, to link integral wealth to a product, as we instinctively know that any story and any myth creates such forms of wealth. Story telling has a role to play, but it must also incarnate something deeply reflected upon and tangible. Here and there we see many myths pulled out of the air.

In a time of globalization, our actions need to become driven by universal values. Do such universal values exist? Yes, they do! We have covered this essential fact during a Centifolia 2013 conference, on Beauty, Goodness and Truth, the primary values. The latter offer a way to coordinate added value circles by linking diverse cultures and segments of humanity. This works for story telling too, that must carry Beauty, Goodness and Truth.

How can a conventional company, used to dealing with “markets”, evolve towards the new forms you describe?

Rather than torture ourselves in launching heavy change management programs that generally give poor results with colossal investments, we should better invest in a startup, or a small team of pioneers to whom we provide all necessary means to launch and work for the time necessary.

We should not think of these new holomidal collective intelligence organizations as we do classic companies from which we ask a quick ROI in pure cash. These new collectives operate through integral wealth, they transform the whole economic ecosystem and co-evolve with it. Supporters of these new company species should learn how it works and open their mind to these new paradigms.

How can we face the shortage of raw material?

Buffalo ShortageLet’s first clarify what we call “shortage”. Natural shortage exists, because of the natural scarcity of an ingredient, because of climate issues, etc. Then we have situational shortages, essentially linked to market laws and competition. We cannot address these two shortages in the same manner. For natural shortage, we have collective intelligence techniques at our disposal that allow us to optimize the distribution and repartition, following agreed rules among every player, and not just the purchasers. As for situational shortage, it invites us to examine the human contexts that provoke them: the market and its laws, and the outcomes provoked by this technology called “money”. Today, the market looks like the only known means for the circulation of material wealth, and money its unique technology. Yet today we have tools at our disposal made to build economic ecosystems that operate in a much more powerful and efficient way than markets. Once actual economic players will have drained their own forces, and the ones of the environment through ferocious competition, they will begin to show interest in these new tools and methodologies. Unless others have done it before them. A space like Centifolia-Centisophia opens our sight in the direction of these new horizons.

How can we move between the different regulations that exist between Europe (REACH) and the other countries?

The very principle of “regulation” belongs to a specific form of collective intelligence: the pyramidal one. This latter builds itself around centralized power, chains of command, scarce money, competition. Individual and collective behaviors get contained by laws and regulations that operate in an exogenous way, from the outside. Until these laws have come into a written form, everything remains allowed. We just have to look at all the moral and ethical abuses that perpetuate themselves in the world until some laws and regulation come to contain them. It looks even more insidious when these damages come from collective emergence while no one, individually, has made a legal or moral transgression. Once more it reminds us the deep stakes of collective intelligence.

Evolution leads us to ask the following question to ourselves: do endogenous dynamics exist? Dynamics that emerge from the inside of the collective, that generate virtuous behaviors that don’t need external regulation anymore (those regulations that will always infinitely complexify themselves). Such collectives pop up everywhere. They move in contexts that have more complexity than exogenous regulations (that become useless). Let’s draw a parallel with driving, with the difference between an eco-centered driver that commits all possible abuses if we don’t place signals and controls everywhere, and a responsible, sensitive, adaptable driver, capable of driving very well with no signs, simply because his conscience, therefore its potential for action, has more vastness. The discipline of collective intelligence shows us the emergence of these conscious organizations. On the one hand they hit the wall of infinite regulatory complexity, but on the other their endogenous collective consciousness open new possibilities that conventional legal systems cannot understand or embrace. We enter into juridic voids that current paradigms cannot understand, just like religious dogma in the past had the capacity to arbitrate the scientific method.

How to approach BRICS countries that move from suppliers to consumers?

BRICS mapWe have enough studies that show that evolution can only happen by repeating the whole sequence, one step after the other. A human being, from his/her first particles up to its stem cells and then a fully formed body, sees the whole history of the universe playing again in him/her, in an accelerated way. Collectives work the same: they can’t skip any single step of the ladder. BRICS countries, like other countries that preceded them, like the countries that will follow them, go through the phases of high industrialization — mostly manufacturing — followed by high tech, the tertiary sector, and consumerism. It doesn’t solely apply to economic models, but also to paradigms and ways to see the world. However we already see the rise of post-industrial tendencies in these countries, even in a marginal scale. Yet different things vary. On one side, because of systemic constraints of the planet, the consumeristic phase should have a much shorter life. Then, Internet, that makes culture, values and behaviors interpenetrate, generates a fractal world in which we cannot think through big geopolitical blocks. A conference given by Bruno Marion will cover this point quite precisely. He will offer tools to build strategies that follow this evolution.

What about the lack of transparency in the exchanges within current transactions models?

Tranparency concealmentThis lack of transparency benefits some –because it exists– at the expense of others. It takes place in a paradigm where the enterprise only sees its own interest in an ego-centered collective psyche (meaning focused on itself), just like children or limbic brain forms of life do (birds, mammals…). Because they want to maximize their profits within classic market laws, few collectives have, until now, known how to develop and act upon a holistic consciousness of the world, while more and more people can do it individually. A group of conscious individuals doesn’t make a conscious collective. We call this the “tragedy of the commons“, a well explored phenomenon in sociology, economy and game theory.

Today we have the means to create super-conscious, holistic enterprises. They no longer rest on pyramidal collective intelligence anymore, but on holomidal collective intelligence. It represents an evolution for our species. Nothing theoretical here: everywhere we see such organizations flourish via the Internet. It turns out that classical companies don’t understand and don’t see them, just like the caterpillar doesn’t understand or see the butterfly. These new holomidal organizations operate on tools, methodologies and technologies partially borrowed from pyramidal CI, but diverted from their original use. We give the name socialware or communityware  to these online software that allow such collectives to navigate, do their governance, build a collective memory, develop a mutualistic economy rather than a competitive one, collect knowledge, etc. Today conventional companies should support these new holomidal organizations. The success of the latter will provoke a migration flow of people who want to evolve, and to hand over to the next generation. We can do it in perfect harmony. CIRI develops the processes and methodologies to facilitate this movement.

What should we do about the impact of our practice on the environment (use of natural resources that belong to all)?

The answer to this question appears in the previous question. The use we make of resources mostly depends on the consciousness behind it. It works for individuals as well as for collectives. An ego-centered consciousness doesn’t make the same choices, and doesn’t see the world in the same way as a world-centered consciousness, especially in the case when individual advantage in the short term conflicts with collective advantage in the long run.

The use of strategic compasses such as Truth, Goodness and Beauty allow the making of enterprises that act not only consciously, but in a much more efficient, resilient, learning and rich way compared to conventional companies. Centifolia will cover this intensively.

Globalization favors the abandonment of local food-producing. What she we do?

We will reverse this trend when we have developed tools that allow the vizualisation of integral wealth. By this we mean all aspects of wealth: material and immaterial, exchangeable, measurable, acknowledgeable. The quality of environment, trust, joy, education, biodiversity embody many forms of wealth that belong to humanity’s dreams. Any logic that excludes these riches in its reasoning dooms itself. The market and its underlying technology –money– embody this logic of non-integral wealth. They don’t have, in their structure, the means to blend in and develop integral wealth. Who has already seen a corporate balance sheet built on integral wealth?

Organizations that will develop themselves around integral wealth will show an extraordinary capacity to include the needs of populations and ecosystems in their way of working, because of simple pragmatic reasons. Local food-producing should grow again once this transition has happened. No science fiction here. We see this new DNA sprouting almost everywhere! New labelling processes offer quite a visible example. We will see an example of it with B-Corporation, whose their representatives will come to talk during Centifolia.

 

 


Your Greatest Gift

Arabesque

You can’t conquer happiness, but you can chose it.
Claim joy within you, and thanks to you, the universe invents itself.

The masterpiece of yourself nourishes its own purpose. Your temporal being becomes a musical instrument, the one you chose to play celestial music. Do not confuse the instrument and the melody. Instruments play separated, distinctly, temporally. Music brings oneness, timelessness, universality. Music celebrates miscegenation and communion. In its own ecstasy, God dances through it.

Look at happiness as a violin close to your hand. Whatever the circumstances of your life, here and now, you can decide to grasp it and to play it. Do not feel upset by some sour notes or by your clumsy fingers. Your Creative Joy will open the way to mastery, and not the contrary.

Do not make yourself dependent on the other, on your parent, your child, your friend or your lover… Do not wait for them. Do not make them a crutch. Once liberated, infused with your own joy, you will celebrate with them. Then you will truly experience what union means.

The essence of your melody will attract the musicians who will come to play with you.
Would you like them sad, academic, conventional?
Would you like them unbridled, happy, free, creative?
You make every single decision on what you attract in your life.

Undomesticate yourself, compose that Celestial Music with the strings of your own Being. Do not restrict yourself. Become your own masterpiece.

By doing so you will give your greatest gift to your parents, your children, your friends and to the whole world.

Man Ray - the Violin
Photo: Man Ray

 

 


Towards a life of charity

Audio text (click here for direct link) :
[audio:111101_towards_a_life_of_charity.mp3]

Charity… since childhood, this is a word I only whispered in my inner cloister.

La Charité - Léon Lucien Goupil

Charity… The original radiance of this word has been dulled by the patina of time and by the encroachment of merchant ideology. Charity… he who asks for it must be a needy person. He who gives charity is a powerful person, a member of the bourgeois, someone well installed in conventional society, someone who is in a position to give –not without patronizing– which legitimizes his/her power or existential posture. As a person from France, my original culture carries in its collective memory the cliché of the good deeds, or the bourgeois in their Sunday best giving to the beggars after church.

Charity… is this word buried forever? If so, we deprive ourselves of a treasure bursting with meaning, filled with history. The light and wisdom that were put in this word bursts to our eyes as soon as we break through the encroachment. In its original sense, caritas is the putting into practice and action of a state of absolute love. This is the love that is no longer directed towards a particular being or thing, this is the love that irradiates, that shines everywhere around, with no distinction, no direction. The manifestation of such love into acts is charity. There we give, there we receive, in the big chain of service that we offer to one another. In that place we are far from the merchant economy, locked as it is in its immediate reciprocity dogma (“if you don’t have what I need in return, I won’t give you what I have“). In the charity economy, we give everything we can give, and we receive what we need. No need for symmetry or immediacy. What is essential is to give in a state of love, with no condition, and to receive the same way.

Today I no longer whisper this word, instead I can proclaim it in full measure, with exhilaration… It blossoms to the surface of my consciousness just like a waterlily coming from the depths.

Charity… it is through charity that I give today, and through charity that I learn how to receive.

Giving is easy. I have skills, knowledge, health, will, lot’s of things to offer. At least this is what others tell me.

Receiving is where I have much to learn. Not emotionally or spiritually anymore, but practically.

Indeed, receiving in a state of charity confronts me with many obstacles, both imposed on me by society on the one hand, and coming from within me on the other.

Here are some societal questions to start with:

– How is it possible to live a charity based life today in a society that has chased it away?
– How am I going to be able to build relationships and provide service that are neither considered as charity (as understood in the modern degraded sense), nor as dependency, nor as patronage, nor as philanthropy?
– How can I lay this social contract –live a charity based life– in a clear manner? How can it be well communicated?

The gift economy is our natural social contract, the one we have practiced in small communities since the dawn of time, starting with the family. The charity economy is the transposition of gift economy to the cosmic level, with no limit of time, number and space. In “Old Europe” where I live, solidarity is dying because of over-institutionalization. As far as I know, the contemporary social contract does not include provisions that we can live from charity. Receiving inevitably has something to do with profit (a sale, a salary, an inheritance, a annuity, dividends), or with being assisted… Because of scarce money, our societies don’t leave space for spontaneous offering, simple, without claim. We have to declare, subscribe, tax, justify, fill in forms… Isn’t it ironic, by the way, to see how much commercial exchange is deregulated, which leads to social and humanitarian catastrophes, whereas solidarity and donations are bounded by heavy, costly and blocking control mechanisms? Throughout history, however, collectives have always supported their shamans, their healers, their priests, their monks, their doctors by means of charity. But I am none of these. I am part of no church, I carry no spiritual or political ideology, I have none of these tags that reassure, and this adds spice to my situation. If I were a monk, no one would ask questions. People feel confused about me, and I understand them.

So how, in this context, do I not condemn myself to marginalization and being at-risk?

It is a fact that, these past months, my horizon has shifted to be very nearby. Some would call it a precarious life-style. Early in September for instance, it happened that I had almost nothing left to eat. This was an ironic situation as everything else around me was pure wealth: I was living in a beautiful house in Provence for which one year of rent has been offered, by charity, so I could work calmly and have a space for my little boy. Wealth because I was surrounded by high-quality electronic hardware to work on my current projects, wealth because my work permanently puts me in touch with magnificent human beings, wealth because I was in full health and full motion. And yet, there I was with almost nothing to eat, with a wallet as empty as the shopping basket. Support arrived just at the right moment, in its perfection, by the path of the heart. Wonderful people gave to me. Why? Certainly not because they were feeding the indigent –as a reminder I chose my current situation, it is not the result of an accident. These people gave to me because, in their experience, I could then continue my work in the great chain of service. In the end, it is this simple. Do ut des, I give so you can give, says this beautiful latin expression. Charity is a big chain.

Each time these situations of apparent precariousness have shown up, fear has never gone through me, not for a single moment. There have been no sleepless nights.

Fear left me a long time ago. This is an opportunity to awaken another ancient word: providence. From latin providentia — foresight. Providence implies direct knowing, beyond the reductive beams of the intellect, that everything is just, everything is in its right place, and that everything will happen in its right time. Providence is the universal mechanism upon which a being, if he/she is in a state of grace, therefore in service, will receive support in return. The being knows it. In order for providence to operate, one has to completely, fully, joyfully surrender, with no restriction, to the laws of the Universe. The let go has to be complete. Here, another ancient Christian notion, the one of sacrifice, is important. It’s yet another word that has been quite depreciated by modernity. Its etymology reveals that its original meaning is “to make sacred” (from latin sacrificium, of sacer facere). Once one has completely offered himself/herself to this Universal Principle –give it the name you want– each moment of life is lived like a present. A pure state of grace, as grace feeds grace. So I guess you can see that: providence is my main ally.

So far in this post, I have explored questions related to society as well as those about my inner attitudes. The next step is still missing: how, in a pragmatic way, can the transition towards a charity based life be done, while my feet are still bogged down in the swamp of the market economy?

In order to complete the transition, I have yet to release myself from what still binds me to my past economic and material life. I still have some family furniture at the storage warehouse that I have to pass on to my little boy and his mom. You would think I could just complete that, but actually there are entanglements. I still owe money to the storage warehouse. Until that debt is settled I can’t get access so I can’t clear this situation. I still have other things to pay from the past, mostly some old administrative stuff. No need for details here, but the truth is that during this first phase of my transition towards my new life, I have accumulated debts. I have not yet completely achieved the process of dispossession. In part this is due to a lack of time, as I was already giving priority to service. Or maybe I haven’t been radical enough? Everything that still ties me to the old, even if it’s not a lot, continues to cost enough to put me in debt. Nothing big, a few thousand euros. But when one has ceased to chase scarce money, small amounts begin to take proportions they didn’t have before… I still have to play a little bit inside this old economy so that, in the coming months, I can finally live fully a day by day life, debt-free, with what the universe and the heart of humans want to give me. Then I can pursue the migration towards free currencies. Free currencies have nothing incompatible with charity, although it is counter intuitive and against what most people believe (they only project onto the new what they know from the old).

As for the house in which I lived during these past 11 months, unless there is a last minute change, I am leaving it in the next 2 weeks. Indeed it has been a marvelous gift, however it was a transition space, just like the rest. Whatever places of living that will accommodate me in the future, I want them to be the expression of a clear contract, the one of charity. I don’t want to settle for a rent, even if it is offered. I want to honor the space where I live, support its evolution, help it enrich itself in the most profound sense, with the persons that are linked to it, be they owners or neighbors. I’m tickled that some of my close relationships have recently told me that a monastery would be the ideal place, as I have been thinking about this possibility for a long time. Truly, it is silence, support and concentration that I need. But which monastery would be ready to welcome a person like me with the project I carry? What spiritual place would want to contribute to the service I have chosen? Not to mention that my work requires some infrastructure: a good internet connection, a space to film, some organizational support… in short an environment that might not be very compatible with a contemplative space. But who knows?

That’s it for the short overview about receiving. As far as giving is concerned, it’s much simpler.

My objective for 2012 is to make readable and understandable all my years of research and discoveries on collective intelligence. All the work on free currencies is part of it of course. Beyond a classical writing work, I have made a more ambitious goal for myself, also a more efficient one I think. It consists in creating between 80 and 100 short videos, each of them between 6, 12 and 18 minutes, depending on the topic. Each video will share one aspect, one peculiar theme of collective intelligence and/or free currencies, in the context of CIRI: holopticism, object-links, asymmetrical economies, language of flows, streamscapes, experience economy, cultural creatives, semiotic pheromones… many fascinating topics. Each time we want to dig in deeper, then new videos will be made. This idea came to me as a question after my TEDx conference in Paris in January 2011: can one make TED conferences from home? Is it possible to offer at least the same quality, with lots of added-value for those who watch, all home made, without jumping on a stage, with no TV crew? I have worked a lot on this concept these past months, the path seems wide open today.

My deepest wish for 2012 is to be able to create all this content, and to offer it. The final gamble? Transform the free currencies vision into a global movement that nothing can stop. Megalomaniac? Maybe. Nevertheless this is always the way big changes happen: with a small group of people who believe in it. Remembering all the conference rooms where I spoke these past years, I can see that people are just waiting for one thing: to free themselves from the dependency they have to money so they can build societies based on mutualism and not only competition. This is perfectly feasible today. It is time for this vision and this path to be widely and clearly shared. The rest will flow naturally.

 


CREDITS:

Photo: Shelley Mags
Music: The Strange Case of Benjamin Button – Alexandre Desplat


Speaking at TEDx Paris 2011

Speaking at TEDx Paris came as a new challenge for me. How could I share the post monetary society vision in 12 minutes? TED even asks for much more than saying it all in a short amount of time. You don’t want to share only concepts and views, speakers have to manifest their emotional intelligence, balance the right and left brain, share about their personal journey…  Whatever the outcome, I saw it as a wonderful invitation to grow, to refine my expression, to help me find unknown paths inside myself. An initiatory journey that I took joyfully, surrounded and coached by the wonderful founders of TEDx Paris. Their feedback felt always accurate and benevolent.

I had to carefully select what I should say and not say. Each milestone in the discourse had to come in a precise time, not spoken by heart, but from the heart.

It came obvious that:

  • I should not try to explain the post-monetary society, but rather drop small seeds of curiosity. With the right seeds people can feel the importance of what they hear, even if the rational mind doesn’t understand the whole thing. Something more profound, more important, reaches a deeper inner knowing, often unconscious, but universally present in each human being.
  • I had to go beyond complementary currencies to reach free currencies, even if 95% of the audience wouldn’t follow me there.

This last point requires an explanation.

People usually understand complementary currencies well enough. Several reasons to this… First, as the name suggests, complementary currencies “complement” our monetary system, therefore we remain in the same paradigm even though the idea of using other units to account our exchanges provokes a huge quantum and emotional leap for many people. Furthermore, in their paradigm, free currencies remain monolithic –one currency at a time– and tied to the conventional market economy (immediate reciprocity/symmetry: I give you something, you give me currency in return). Given that people have only lived in market economy since childhood, they have no other reference point, anything else looks abstract.

Free currencies play plural. They work by constellations, they can do more than just exchanging things, they work beyond market economies (gift economies for instance), they bind flows of wealth together to build upward spirals. In short, if one hasn’t really played with free currencies, this looks meaningless just like the Internet looked for the large public back in the early 90’s. In these times, no conference could have helped understand today’s reality. Same thing with free currencies. It needs people to play in order to realize the obviousness and simplicity of it. So, the paradigm shift happens in free currencies, not in complementary currencies. I made it the final destination for the TEDx conference. 12 minutes to reach this summit felt like a risky experience. I took the risk to have a good part of the room not following me, to look too abstract, theoretical and incomplete. But I hope this conference would allow some seeds to find fertile soil. I think it did.

Years later I continue to receive lot’s of feedback. TEDx Paris gives the speakers a high visibility in the media. I receive lot’s of emails from individuals who want to understand better or take action, and from companies that would like to work with me on this project, or from medias for an interview.

Nevertheless I do have mixed feelings in regards to my talk. But here comes the gift: I learned how to do better next time. 🙂

Thanks again to TEDx organizers, and to all the volunteers who joyfully gave their time and energy.


One year after the Vow of Wealth

More than a year has passed since Sept. 7 2009, the day when the Vow of Wealth entered into my life. Although this vow came as something obvious, it was difficult at the time to have any idea of the path that would lead to its practical implementation, specially in regards to migrating from conventional money towards free currencies.

The Vow of Wealth is a spiritual experience, a commitment towards the infinite wealth that surrounds us as an inherent manifestation of the Universe. Leaving conventional money –Euros and everything related– is an incidental application of this vow. It is connected to my epoch and to the way I decided to act and express myself. Someone else could take this same vow and manifest it differently. The Vow of Wealth doesn’t force us to leave conventional money, although it deeply questions our relationship to it.

So where am I today?

I am in the midstream of the river. This means I am already far from conventional money, but I haven’t built a life operating with free currencies yet. The middle of the river is the most delicate phase. Currents are strong, we can stagger and be carried away by dangerous whirlpools. Both sides are as far as they can be. Doubt shows up easily, specially when others, seating on the bank (of the river of course) don’t refrain showing their skepticism. Staying in balance and keeping the fire of inner will is vital.

Facts now…

I left my house last May. No more rent to pay in Euros.

I am a nomad. For now I stay with friends who offer me hospitality, who understand and support the journey. It is a transitory, yet uncomfortable situation. But it brings my friends and I closer to one another. I try that my stays provides value, in the invisible as well as in the material planes. It is not always easy, my presence is never neutral considering the commitments I carry. These commitments trigger inner questioning although I don’t do any proselytism and I try to be as discreet as possible. Bn being of service in the present moment, and remaining focused on the infinite work requires some fine tuning and a permanent attention. I learn a lot in these delicate balances.

My body has become my true home. I do enjoy this evolution all the more so as the body has always been the space where knowledge embodies itself. Potentialities, ideas, concepts that have not come down inside the body don’t have incarnated in the matter yet. The body is a space for alchemical transmutation lead by consciousness.

The toughest difficulty in my nomadism is that it’s being imposed to my little boy Estéban. He doesn’t have his own bedroom anymore and his toys are in a container. He too has to cross the river with me. Fortunately he has a bedroom with his mom Stéphanie. Interestingly these opposite energies turn out to be well balanced : his mom gives him roots, his dad gives him wings. I have a lot of gratitude for Stéphanie about it.

I left the bank (the one of the river and the financial bank). No more bank account, no more credit card, no more plus and minus hide and seek games. This is an important step for me.

The car I had is transfered to TheTransitioner that becomes the legal owner of it. I barely use it for personal needs, it is widely used for professional purpose. So, no more private car.

The only remaining private expenses are:

  1. food and hygiene (toothpaste, soap, etc)
  2. some items from time to time (clothes for instance)
  3. and mostly what’s necessary for the education and well-being of my little boy, mostly school fees.

My personal needs have become modest. Today I live with a suitcase. I feel no particular need. What matters is the service I can give and to love and support my little boy in his life journey.

I continue to operate with cash for 1 and 2. School expenditure (3) are much more important, I hope I can help Estéban’s school evolve towards free currencies this year. This school is bogged down in an uncertain survival entangled within the scarce money grasp, it’s a no brainer that free currencies can change the situation. At the personal level it will allow me to develop a relationship that’s compliant with the Vow of Wealth.

What are the next steps? I will continue to get rid of the scarce money I still use so I can build a rich life in the free currencies world. This next step is the most delicate one. It requires the flowplace and the MetaCurrency protocols have become functional enough so that early economic circles can use them. This transition has to be organic.

Taking up this challenge successfully will demonstrate it’s possible. “We”? Yes! My beloved Fernanda is making this same transition in her own way in Mexico, in her own context. Maybe she will talk about it in her blog.

All this is possible because of the actions of those who support us. Although the path might seem lonely sometimes, it is foremost a collective journey.


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