Nature, economics and the free life.

From the zine How to have an amazingly adventurous life for zero dollars a day.

Money is an illusion that only has value because we believe it does.  It’s just pieces of paper and numbers on a screen, it doesn’t represent anything in the real world.  Since it is imaginary, it can’t control our lives.  Money was originally created purely as a means of exchange.  The concept of money has since evolved to now being considered to have intrinsic value in itself, not based on a foundation of anything with actual value. This means that it can cease to exist instantly, which it often does.  If we all choose not to believe in it, it will be worth nothing and no longer exist.

True wealth is soil, seeds, trees, clean air and water, generosity, caring reciprocal relationships and resilient communities.  By nurturing these things we can create shared wealth for everyone, with no need for money.

Owning money or assets gives us a false sense of security, even though we know it could all disappear at any moment.  By letting go of our attachment to these things, and creating true security in the form of caring neighbourhoods and healthy ecosystems that can provide for our needs indefinitely, we can create a world where everyone feels safe, and our own sense of security doesn’t require excluding or exploiting others.

It is the fear of not having that causes us to selfishly hoard money or things, and makes us reluctant to share.  This comes from our lack of awareness that everything we require to live well is freely available to us, which leads to a lack of trust in other people and the earth to provide.  By sharing freely of ourselves we can in turn trust that others will treat us well, so we need never go without.  We don’t need to be in control of every situation, as it will always sort itself out in ways that we could never imagine.

By engaging in paid employment we are enslaving ourselves to this money system.  Most people in employment don’t enjoy their jobs and find them to be meaningless and unfulfilling. Jobs are the main source of stress in people’s lives and can lead to heart disease, a range of health problems, and suicide.  Two million workers a year die of occupational injuries and illnesses.  Employment doesn’t lift people out of poverty.  Just 5% of the work being done is sufficient to provide for our needs for food, clothing and shelter.

Why work a job?  There are much healthier and enjoyable ways to provide for yourself and your family, make use of your skills, and engage with the world.  Your life is too valuable to waste on something you don’t enjoy, that will make you stressed, sick and probably kill you, while destroying nature and exploiting others.  Create alternatives to employment, that are meaningful, fulfilling and do no harm.

Let the economy die.  The economy is totally dependent on its capacity to destroy nature, and this process has now reached its natural conclusion where there is nothing left to plunder.  It will inevitably come to a screaming halt.  Don’t be a statistic, another resource destroyed by economic growth.  Create alternatives to this parasitic system and live in a world that you’ve created for yourself, where you’re free to do as you want, rather than in a machine that controls and consumes you.

You can do so much more with your life than just survive.  We live in an amazing world with so much possibility, why limit yourself?  We are all innately creative, and everything we do is an opportunity to express ourselves creatively.  Living a life of meaningless employment, shopping and passive entertainment stifles this to the extent that many of us never become aware of our potential, never think of how we could do things differently.

Take responsibility for your own life, your problems and your future.  Blaming other people or The System won’t change anything, and only make you miserable.  By becoming independent of the structures or entities that you are blaming, you are free of their influence, and they cannot affect you.  To blame or complain is to avoid taking on this responsibility.

Traditional cultures don’t expect governments, jobs and money to provide for them.  The people are only dependent on, and responsible to, each other and the land that supports them.


School prepares us for a life of employment, but gives us no life skills, no preparation for living with unemployment.  We are taught that we are not free to do as we choose, and not responsible for how we live our life.  We need to learn skills so we can be effective and fulfilled through unemployment.  Spending your unemployment searching for jobs just leads to despondency, which can become even worse on starting an unfulfilling job.  The idea that a person needs to change themselves to suit a job role means that to be part of the employment system you need to behave like you are part of a machine.  You are not respected as a human being with intrinsic value, or allowed to live true to your values.  You don’t owe anything to the economy.  All it has ever done for you is to exploit your labour and make life difficult.  Create a life where the economy is of no value to you, and let it become despondent.

By choosing unemployment, you are demonstrating not laziness but responsibility.  You are responsible to yourself, your community and the land that you live on.  A free-living unemployed person, who acts with love and makes full use of their talents and skills, contributes so much more to the world than someone who works for the money.  I could never have written this book if my attention was focussed on a full-time job.

Not buying and not working is liberating rather than restricting.  When you stop using money you find that we have more, not less.  More time, fun, adventures, friends, skills, health, awareness, understanding, and a full life. You discover that giving is more satisfying than getting.  Your ability to support your family and friends is enhanced, as you find that spending time with them is more valuable than spending time making money to buy them things.  You gain access to things you will never get in the shops.  You become more involved in what goes on in the real world.  You feel comfortable in the knowledge that no harm is being done to support your lifestyle.  You generate less waste, in terms of wasted time, food, water, energy, packaging, money, and your own potential.  If a free-living project doesn’t yield tangible results, you’ve still gained a lot of skills and enjoyment through the process of exploring the idea.  This is unlike trying to work with The System, which makes a point of wasting everyone’s time and resources, with nothing to be gained.

When you live free, all your time is free time.  Don’t allow yourself to be bought.  If you sell your time away for money, you are selling your life away.  What could you possibly buy with the money that would be worth the life you have lost?  Days of War, Nights of Love – CrimethInc collective.

When you do what you love, nothing needs to be thought of as work.  Leave the work ethic behind and embrace an ethic of sharing and taking responsibility for your beliefs and actions.

Consumption is a disease.  You can choose to be a disease on the Earth organism, or you can choose to have a healthy symbiosis, and be a co-creator of nature.

Work and consumption cause anxiety and depression, and stimulate fear and greed.  Life should be lived with spontaneity, joy, and love, not strategic plans, budgets, and stress.

Challenge your beliefs.  Ask questions about everything.  Just because an idea is commonly accepted doesn’t mean that it is the best way of doing things.  There is always an infinite number of options.  Never limit your choices.

Spread the word.  Share your skills and knowledge, your stories and ideas.  Share homegrown and gleaned food, and demonstrate the possibilities to others.  Listen to others’ stories and ideas, and new possibilities will emerge.

Raise your children and treat your friends and family in a way that gives them maximum freedom.  Choose not to judge anyone based on society’s expectations.

Relate to other people as human beings, rather than as economic entities to trade with.  This way we can form meaningful connections, and remove the fear of being ripped off or badly treated, and the guilt about treating others this way.  Create a gift economy.  Give freely without expecting anything in return.  You’ll find that what does come back to you is worth so much more than money or things.

Don’t contribute to the global economy.  Boycott money completely.  Be free!

Tune in to your feelings.  Be fully present in every sensation, even if it seems unpleasant.  There is great satisfaction to be gained from being totally in the present moment.  The joy of discovering something new, of seeing others practice a skill that you have taught them, of seeing things grow, of sharing, can’t be beaten by a life lived through TV, books or other people.

As I become more attuned to nature, I find that the things I need will come to me at the right time.  Sometimes I’ll be out walking or cycling, and feel a craving for a particular food: an apple, a block of chocolate, a leafy salad.  Always within minutes exactly that thing will appear in front of me.  Really.  I found a sealed package of fresh salad on a roadside.  It’s always exactly the food I was thinking of, never something else.  A few days after it occurred to me that I need a printer, there was a printer with spare cartridges in my next-door-neighbour’s hard rubbish pile, with a sign on it saying “working, please take”.  When I think of someone I need to talk to, I’ll run into that person on the street soon afterwards.  With one friend I experience this quite often, and always in places that neither of us visit regularly.

I start to take notice of the spaces between – the empty blocks, abandoned houses, road verges, dumping sites, patches of native vegetation, and wild places.  To our culture these places are considered eyesores, or are invisible.  As I move away from this paradigm I discover that these are places to explore and cherish, and the things intended to attract my attention and money – the billboards, shopping malls, bright lights and television screens– become invisible to me.

We are part of nature, not separate from it.  Talking about “the environment” as if it is something far away that we never come in contact with is ridiculous.  No-one really knows what this Environment is, but every schoolchild know that we need to be friendly to it.  And this friendliness tends to take the form of such activities as recycling cans, reading from the screen, and buying new lightbulbs and whitegoods when the ones we already have are perfectly fine. These activities are about as far removed from our natural surroundings, and the meaning of friendliness, as I can imagine.

Let’s kill this idea of The Environment and start nurturing our world by living within it, rather than imposing ourselves on top of it, destroying it for our own ends.  We are all animals.  We can’t live in the illusion that the processes and cycles of nature don’t apply to us.  To truly care about our environment we need to care for ourselves, everyone around us, and all living and non-living things.  We must take only as much as we need, produce no waste, and share everything.  We need to attune ourselves to the patterns and cycles of nature, and become dependent only on the resources that exist in our immediate surroundings.

6 responses to this post.

  1. It is nice to find someone with similar ideas to me regarding the fundamental worthless-ness of the money / economic system. Thank you. Anni Kelsey


  2. Posted by martin on February 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I definately agree with you there, it’s so obvious that the earth has all we need, there is no way I want to waste my life working a boring job. I want to enjoy it with family and friends. I’ve seen too much waste already it’s very sad.


  3. Posted by wendy morrison on February 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I like what you are trying to say, really I do. But if everyone practiced your methods, who would be purchasing the bag of salad that was dropped in your path to begin with? If your neighbour hadn’t purchased a printer (and a second new one to replace the one he put out) you wouldn’t have been able to acquire it. I don’t raise this to punch holes in your philosophy and way of life: I’d just like to hear some ideas of how to proceed if everyone turned their back on the economy. (I am not a capitalist, nor a troll. I’d love to live like this, but can’t see yet how it works large scale)


  4. Posted by deimos on February 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    “The wilderness once offered men a plausible way of life,” the doctor said. “Now it serves as a psychiatric refuge. Soon there will be no wilderness.” He sipped his bourbon and ice. “Soon there will be no place to go, then the madness goes universal.” Another thought. “And the universe goes mad.” -The Monkeywrench Gang, Ed Abbey


  5. Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.


  6. […] Kim’s words, Money is an illusion that only has value because we believe it does…True wealth is soil, seeds…      I’m not saying that I spent zero dollars in my months of traveling. I spent money […]


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