It is very easy to get trapped in a mindset where you do nothing more than live to reach the next day, ordering your life to meet your financial obligations and with an end game of getting above or beyond that system. Except for those few with the happy accident of the right birth or windfall, each of us faces that struggle. Some eke their way through lives with a modest level of comfort and make it to the end exhausted, and a talented few come to dominate, learning a ruthlessness built upon life’s experience. I simply ask if this is what we want.
One of the crazier things in life are the questions we don’t seem to think we can ask. One of my favorites is why do we build our lives around dollars and money?
Think of what gives your life value. Many people would say family, loved ones, and dear friends. Quite a few people would remember special experiences, which probably have little to do with the stuff we so covet. Others still would say a sense of higher purpose, some ethical framework which will often be guided by a spiritual quest. But what you wouldn’t say is the stuff we chase so vigorously which ends up inevitably in some junk pile some years down the road.
While no one disputes the value of labor or the novelty of nice things, it’s worth considering more what the culture of stuff has given us. It has made us callous to the plight of others, as we think man only has material needs, and besides we pay taxes from the money we work hard to earn to sustain those who cannot. We think of our people as much a burden as an asset, because we accept the idea we can judge a person by what they earn, seeing that as the only contribution that counts. There is no time for art and beauty in the pragmatic world, and so the beautiful buildings of yore have given way to code demanded insurance friendly boxes. We take our stolen moment in time and demand it is efficient.
It’s curious why we should do such. We work very hard to earn our money at the same time those who control money print it freely as if calling out a tune for people to dance too. In the centers of finance, learned bankers create money out of thin air either literally, through speculative vehicles, or on the basis of earned interest. Ask for a loan for a house and pay up to triple the list price, interest first. Try to obtain an education, and surrender the following ten years of adulthood. Even try to be responsible and just own land, and you can only be a renter when the tax comes due every year for the schools that teach money is king and all we can do is earn more to enjoy more stuff.
Could you imagine better than this? I can.
I spend many days and nights dreaming of a world where people still work, but all our money doesn’t go to pay interest or debt, and our goal isn’t the accumulation of capital but the expression of creativity. Could we build beautiful towns once more where we leverage nature as an asset and value education and culture to enrich our lives? Instead of spending our days and nights consumed by stuff, can we connect once more to our fellow men, and even within our families valuing our precious time more highly?
New Albion, to many people in their own distinctive ways, represents such a dream. Some visions are simpler, and some are bolder, but all imagine a future where possibilities open up. With shared culture and identity, these ideas are overwhelmingly capable of working in harmony with one another.
As we look at what we are told we can have, more of our people are looking away and saying we demand better. We begin by building it in our daily actions and in the institutions we create for our culture, mindful of our legacy. But we will have it. We will fight, and wherever that struggle takes us, that is the only place we can go because there is our future, our dignity, and our deliverance.