A Child Friendly Society, Part 3
(an updated Commentary on "The Imagine Nation" Series)
by Daniel Jacob
Let's talk a bit more about Property Rights, shall we? If you've been following the discussion thus far, you may have already come to some conclusions about how much change you're willing to stand for, and where lines in your ideal society need to be drawn.
Many adults today tend to think of children as possessions. The court system certainly doesn’t help that situation, either. We reason that, since we have a "moral responsibility" to feed and house these young people, and the legal power to make decisions for them, our children must be beholden to every rule and ordinance we choose to concoct.
As one parent put it: "My house, my rules." However, if the child lives there, is it not his house as well? Just because someone is unable to financially contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the place, isn't he still a contributing force to that household? Isn’t her job, her specialty, simply being the resident child?
In a symbolic sense, children are little mirrors for their parents. They are an embodiment of certain aspects of their parents' personality and aspiration, which desired to be reborn into the world. They are passion and curiosity, freshly directed towards desires and goals that may have been forgotten or laid aside in the older folks’ pursuit of security and/or social standing.
Many adults overlook this important insight. Instead of getting out of the way, and drinking in the energy of their children’s joy and fresh discovery of life, many parents try to force kids into behavioral molds, patterns for living that do not reflect their own intuitive core.
The artificial personality construct, which many parents seek to install, tends to suppress the clear reflection that their children bring concerning the parents’ shadow self—their own hidden issues. Instead of seeing that reflection in their little ones, resistant parents become busy about the task of breaking or distorting the mirror. On some level, children realize this and they either learn to resist the whole business or they accept the teaching, thereby losing their individuated souls.
A Gifting Economy
One reader wrote to me recently, responding on the subject of "Spiritual Gifts," and she began expositing on what she referred to as a "Gifting Economy." I had never really heard this exact term before - but, when I did, some bells started going off in my brain. In the U.S., we live in this kind of DUALITY, when it comes to economics. You're either a "have" or a "have not." And, if you're a "have not" in this country, the current climate says: "Too bad, kid. We have a world to evangelize, concerning freedom and democracy." This isn't true, 100%, but these recent hurricanes have certainly revealed a whole host of those we call "The Invisible Poor."
And even if the pendulum does swing the other way, and we allow our humanitarian selves to be heard and exercised more often, the duality still exists. The "haves" give to those who "have not."
Friends, everyone in this world is a "have," and everyone is also a "have not." We all have needs, and we all have talents that are designed to meet needs. Money doesn't symbolize this, and money won't solve our world's problems. In some ways, the whole money thing just makes our problems more obscured. Those who have money are assumed, and even assume themselves, to have no needs. However, the suicide rate among rich folks seems to indicate otherwise.
And, by the way, Mr. Bush, a whole world filled with Democracy won't fix things either. How can we teach the world about Democracy when our own country is split right down the middle? You can't offer a cup of friendship to others if yours has a hole in it.
There isn't any ONE thing that can take the place of OTHER things. Each THING has its own sacred space in the grand scheme, and each way of doing things can be a RIGHT WAY, so long as it fits the needs of those involved. But some things are honored, in this day and age, and some things are scorned. And it's been that way since the time of Cain and Abel, and with pretty much the same result.
Though it is possible to accept something that is not given willingly, the scorn (or pity) that accompanies it can make the tastiest morsel turn sour in the belly of the person on the receiving end. But, of course, many of them are too hungry to notice. The importunity of physical need blocks one's ability to feel into a situation when survival is the order of the day. And so, many a poisoned apple gets eaten, and many a sleeping beauty lays down, never to awaken again. This is where a Gifting Economy comes in. More about that in a bit.
The "work ethic," in which many people pride themselves today, is a dangerous side-road that humanity has taken, away from personal passion and joy. In the name of "discipline" and "initiative," many people have forgotten the meaning of doing something just because they want to, and for no other reason. The Reconnections refer to this as "living pointlessly," and they claim that it is the greatest elixir for an ailing heart that is now known to man. And what's more, there are no drug companies that have a copyright on it yet.
We're still too hypnotized by that curse, spoken in the Garden of Eden, where God said to Adam: "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread." If it doesn't hurt, it's probably bad for us, or will make us fat. It's a modern kind of asceticism, and our kids hate it, for the most part, and for good reason!
Our Father’s House
When I was a teenager, I was terribly perplexing to my Dad. I never really had the feeling that he understood where I was coming from. He wanted certain things for me, while I wanted other things. As I got older, I learned more about where HE was coming from, and I see now the reasons for some of the stalemates we created. The longer I live, the less I blame my parents for their failures. In fact, I can see now that they weren't really failures at all. They were just experience. And the more I deal with my own kids, the less animosity I have for my father and his issues. After all, technically speaking I AM one of his "issues," right?
During one tumultuous discussion (better known as an argument), my Dad looked at teenage me and yelled: "You'd better straighten up and fly right, boy. After all, you're a guest in your parent's house!" When he said it, the air kind of stopped moving. Even my Mother, who was with him up to that point, looked at him like he'd just blown a piston. In a moment of rage, my Dad had cut to the bone, and revealed a deeply-felt separation, one that is still felt between the generations today.
Years later, after having buried both my parents (within five months of each other), I stood in the same front room where we'd had that argument, and tried to make sense of so many things that had happened while I was growing up.
Is it any wonder that kids today don't want to work? And what is "work" anyway? The Reconnections basically define the word thusly: "Work is something you do when you'd rather be doing something else." They define "play" as "doing what you want to do, when you want to do it." And, because they realize that we are really human becomings, not human beings, and we are still part of a 3D world, they encourage us, as much as possible, to blend the two elements into a delightful hybrid state, which they have nicknamed PLORK. What is it that you would choose to do with your life, whether or not you got paid? This is the center of your passion, and the very essence of who you are.
Yours, Mine, and Ours
A Gifting Economy honors the intrinsic beauty that is present within individual expression, property ownership, and love. It recognizes that you can’t truly give something away if you never had it to begin with. So much for Pure Communism, as a totalitarian way of life! And if we value everything based only upon present-moment popularity, supply and demand, we often walk right by something that will later prove to be priceless. So much for Pure Capitalism as well.
What is the answer? In the Imagine Nation, we honor everything. If a person wishes to do it, or produce it, then it must have value. That is stipulated, right from the start. If you want to dedicate your life to it, as your form of PLORK, so be it. You still get to eat, have shelter over your head, and clothes on your back. This doesn’t mean that others have to buy it, hang it on their walls, or focus their lives on it. That wouldn’t be freedom. It would only be a rehash of affirmative action, bottled under a new name. The Guides have already told us, Politics is NOT the answer to life’s problems.
In the Imagine Nation, if something is popular or necessary for life, we don't raise the price on it, or play hard to get with it. Au contraire! Current popularity is a GATHERING PLACE for SOCIETY, not a point of separation. Developing something that works or is currently in demand is not really a statement about the genius of its creator. Rather, it is a statement about the UNITY that is emanating from the Group Soul that has called that particular service or creation into being.
The real "geniuses," in any society, are those who continue to be focused, attentive, and on-purpose--even though what they're doing barely gets noticed. They are traveling to the beat of their own inner drummer, and they stick with something just because they sense a pulse of life within it. If faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….it must also follow that love of something or someone by even one person is all the valuation and validation anything would ever need. To dishonor this life principle is to trade one’s freedom for the bondage of conformity, and the chains of self-doubt.
I dearly loved an Independent film I saw, awhile back, called "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill." It is the story of a man who spends all his days caring for 40 or so wild parrots in the San Francisco Bay Area. For a time, he is given a small cottage to live in, rent-free, so he can spend his time learning about and caring for this group of migrant birds. He helps them form a new community and habitat, based on this care. He gives them names, records their comings and goings, and genuinely enjoys a common life with them. I marveled at the pure joy of his love for these creatures, and the acceptance and admiration in his local community for the effort. At the end of the film, when he is forced to move on because his hosts decide to renovate their cottage, there are many questions posed, about his rationale for living, and his way of life. It’s well worth seeing.
The reader might ask: "How would we pay for these things? How could this type of lifestyle be allowed to happen, if it was widespread in society?" Ah, but remember..I asked us NOT to ask "How," but simply to consider "What and Where." We're still doing that.
What my own Father called "his house" really belonged to me all along. I was not his guest, as he had supposed. I was actually HIM, even as he now lives on in me. We were and are ONE, together, even though the 3D Game Board makes it look otherwise, at times. This is how it works with The Imagine Nation as well.
And as this Holiday Season approaches, I wonder who it is that will experience the most joy from giving - the man with the biggest credit line, or the one following the beat of his own drum? The Christ Energy now dwells within all of us, if we only dare to believe. Shall we play for him, puh-rum-pa-pum-pum? On our drum?
More to Come.Originally published in Children of the New Earth Magazine Online. www.childrenofthenewearth.com
Copyright, 2005, by Daniel Jacob. All Rights Reserved. May be copied and shared, for purposes of personal growth and/or research, so long as the above URL and this copyright are included. All reproduction for profit, by any means, requires the written permission of Reconnections, Inc.