Recently, a friend who grew up in South Africa shared his thoughts with me about the Vow of Wealth. He said that he wouldn’t see himself in this journey, as he prefers middle paths that allow to build relationships with all parties rather than those that separate you from everyone.
He made implicitly clear that, in his perception, the vow was extremely radical and marginalizing. My friend added that the world also needed people like me, which added to this feeling that this vow seemed extremist to him.
Then my interlocutor shared that his hero and source of inspiration was Nelson Mandela. He explained that, rather than taking radical position against the white people ruling on South Africa, Nelson decided to drink tea and learn cricket rules. This opening to the other’s culture would later serve the vision for a united South Africa, where opposed ethnic groups, cultures and social classes would learn how to live together.
My interlocutor’s perception of the vow as a form of extremism was the first of a long series to come, I am pretty sure.
I welcomed this conversation. It offered an opportunity to check what radical really means, and what latent distinctions were waiting to be unveiled. Bringing Nelson Mandela in our conversation was a gift, as I deeply, profoundly admire and honor this man.
Nelson Mandela was radical in the sense he never, ever, accepted to play the Apartheid rules, be it as a victim or a collaborator. Never, ever, he coped with the ideology ruling the country. He radically decided to stick to larger, inclusive, universal values, which radically placed him out of the system in place. Nelson payed a very high price for this. The price of integrity.
By deciding that I would not accept anymore the conventional monetary system, I radically step outside a dominant order that neither respects the fundamental laws of life nor the universal human rights. I don’t pretend to be Mandela, but the situation has a similar stake: the choice of integrity, no matter the price to pay.
This radical commitment towards universal values should not be confused with a radical and extremist position against others or against a system. Leaving the old and building something new doesn’t mean fighting against. Rejecting ideas doesn’t mean rejecting people. But this confusion will often happen, I am sure.
So I will state it clear again here: I am not fighting money, I am not fighting the current system. I am standing, with many others, to create an inclusive, universal system for building and sharing wealth. It is time now that our monetary system embeds the universal values that ground our constitutions.
The claim of these values for everyone is an step towards universality in diversity. I want to give myself to it without reserve.