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Let’s Contemplate A Future Without Money & How It Would Work

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Several brave thinkers, including Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project and Colin Turner of the Free World Charter, have proposed ways in which a future society could thrive if we eliminated money and trade and instead built a resource-based economy.

  • Reflect On:

    The first step in any new paradigm is believing it's possible. Do you believe humanity could not only survive but thrive in a money-free world? What would it look like?

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”–1 Timothy 6:10

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While it is still not commonly held in mainstream discourse that humanity could survive and even thrive without some form of monetary exchange, more and more people that are starting to trace their general discontent about contemporary society to its source are finding money and profit motive at the root of it.

Perhaps the first of the knee-jerk reactions some people might have to the idea of shifting into a money-free system is the sinking feeling of watching their hard-earned wealth evaporate into nothingness, which they might equate with abject poverty. We are so programmed to equate money with abundance that we don’t understand what abundance truly is.

At the heart of it our ‘net’ abundance is shared, and is grounded in the resources available in nature on the planet. The aggregate of these natural resources not only represents our potential abundance but our very survival. A money system grants ownership to many of these resources, and makes it exponentially easier for those with abundance to get more abundance at the expense of the vast majority of people. A money system is, in some ways, antithetical to the proper management and distribution of these resources. Without money, each individual would naturally be entitled to their share of all the resources in the world, and that would never change. But how would such a system work?

Resource-Based Economy

Jacque Fresco, founder of the Venus Project, believes that the world has reached a level of technology that will allow us to build fully self-sustaining communities all over the world which, when optimally designed, will provide not only an unimaginably high level of abundance for all its residents, but a far greater sense of shared purpose within a community. This vision is grounded in the principles of a Resource-Based Economy:

In a Resource Based Economy all goods and services are available to all people without the need for means of exchange such as money, credits, barter or any other means. For this to be achieved all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants. Equipped with the latest scientific and technological marvels mankind could reach extremely high productivity levels and create abundance of resources.–Venus Project website

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Without profit motive, individuals within the community will naturally turn their energy towards the efficient maintenance of the infrastructure and problem-solving and innovation for the collective, as the happiness and well-being of the community is naturally equated with one’s own happiness and well-being.

In the video below is a brief introduction to Fresco’s inspiring vision of our potential future. More information. including where the Venus Project is at on their timeline, is available on their website.

No Need For Trade

Since money is nothing more than a medium of exchange, it is only in removing the convention of exchange or ‘trade’ itself that then renders money obsolete. That’s why a Resource-Based Economy proposes that ‘all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants.’

In his TedX talk, Colin Turner really questions the idea that ‘trade’ is the only organizational model for life on the planet, and in fact outlines the ways in which trade is actually antithetical to human abundance and well-being:

We all more or less accept trade as being the de facto way of operating our society, so much so that we even see it as some kind of universal law. But it might surprise you to know actually that trade has only existed in relatively recent years, that in 90% of our modern human history we didn’t actually trade at all, there still are no archaeological traces of trade. In these early tribal, agrarian communities what actually happened was there was an implied understanding that everyone in the tribe looked after each other. And this was how the tribes operated for perhaps the vast majority of our early human history.

So we see trade now as a very important way of doing business, and you have to say that trade works, I get what I want and you get what you want and we all go home happy. But when you actually scratch the surface a little bit more about how trade actually pans out in the real world, it’s not such a nice story. It seems to be a better theory than actually works out in practice.

For example, the most obvious case is, about 3 billion people in the world today live on $2.50 or less a day–many of them much, much less than that. Obviously they are wracked with starvation or dying of curable diseases, so, I mean, you have to ask yourself, is trade really working for them, for those people? Clearly, it isn’t.

Colin Turner is the founder of The Free World Charter, which currently has 58,611 signatories among people from 215 different countries (and would welcome yours, if you are so inclined). The charter constitutes a set of principles that really formalizes the notion that all human individuals are entitled to maintain an equal share of the Earth’s resources, but it also outlines the natural responsibilities and practices that each individual would assume in order to live optimally and harmoniously together in a money-free community and world. Here are the ten principles:

  1. The highest concern of humanity is the combined common good of all living species and biosphere.
  2. Life is precious in all its forms, and free to flourish in the combined common good.
  3. Earth’s natural resources are the birthright of all its inhabitants, and free to share in the combined common good.
  4. Every human being is an equal part of a worldwide community of humans, and a free citizen of Earth.
  5. Our community is founded on the spirit of cooperation and an understanding of nature, provided through basic education.
  6. Our community provides for all its members the necessities of a healthy, fulfilling and sustainable life, freely and without obligation.
  7. Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste.
  8. Our community derives its solutions and advances progress primarily through the application of logic and best available knowledge.
  9. Our community acknowledges its duty of care and compassion for members who are unable to contribute.
  10. Our community acknowledges its responsibility to maintain a diverse and sustainable biosphere for all future life to enjoy

These are certainly not the final words on which principles should truly define a future society and world free of money, but in reading them one can clearly grasp the overall essence of the kind of mindset we will need to develop and implement in our lives if we are to shift into this new paradigm.

Walking Away From A Money Economy

The shift we are looking for here is grounded in a conscious move by the individuals of this planet away from a model of competition and towards a model of cooperation. We are all quite familiar with both, as we surely have an ample amount of experience in both ways of relating to the people around us. If you could choose right now, which kind of model would you want as the basis for the entire planet?

Some might argue that the competitive/trade/money paradigm has been instrumental in getting us to make progress, especially technologically, which we may not have achieved by remaining with the cooperative tribal model. There may be some truth in this. But does it not seem that, at this time in history, most of us have had it with the debt, scarcity, and inequality that is a hallmark of the money model? Are we not hungering for more love, cooperation and shared abundance imbued in the very organizational structures we create for ourselves to live?

Understand that making this change is not as simple as going to the United Nations or other authoritative world body, as Jacque Fresco has already done. Presenting a compelling vision of a future without money to the benefit of all of humanity does not automatically mean that the world authority will implement it right away. The powers behind world authority like the UN are actually made up of those who have the most money. What we see going on in the public arena are essentially the machinations of the puppets they control.

This is nothing new. An overall system that maintains power by the few has been in place ever since money and exchange were introduced. While in the past this wealth was protected over generations and generations by certain families who were the visible ‘royalty,’ ‘noblemen’ and ‘aristocracy’ of the day, today’s world only differs in the sense that these powers are more hidden from sight, while countries maintain the illusion of having some form of ‘democracy.’

The point is that we will never be able to elicit the help of our authority if we want to abandon our current money economy. Those in authority, who at the very top own a vast percentage of the world’s resources, certainly believe they would have the most to lose if we moved to a model founded on equally-shared abundance. What we actually need to do is elicit the help of each other, energizing important movements and fostering an awakening as to how powerful we actually are as a collective. When a critical mass of us begin marching in step to a new way of life, the current authority will have no power to stop us.

The Takeaway

A money-free society and world can certainly work from the standpoint of creating abundance for everyone on the planet. What is needed is a new awareness founded on some of the natural principles discussed here. The more that individuals of the planet slowly move away from competitive money-centered practices and spend their time and energy cultivating cooperation, the more quickly we will be able to collectively walk away from a system that no longer serves us.

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Awareness

Brain Scans Reveal Structural Differences In People With “Smart Phone Addiction”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study recently published by German researchers from Heidelberg University show differences in brain structure between people with 'smart phone addition' compared to people without it.

  • Reflect On:

    Is your child constantly on their smartphone? Are they addicted?

Children entering into the world today are being birthed into a sea of technology that their parents never grew up with. As a result, we don’t really know the long-term consequences these technologies could have on these generations as they age. Preliminary research, however, is already showing significant cause for concern, and one of the latest examples comes from a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviours via German researchers.

The researchers examined 48 participants using MRI imaging, and 22 of the participants had smartphone addiction (SPA), and 26 of them were non-addicts. The main findings were that individuals with SPA  showed “significant lower” grey matter volume (GMA) in the insula and in certain regions of the temporal cortex compared to the individuals without smartphone addiction, known as the controls. Secondly, right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity was “significantly lower” in individuals with SPA compared to controls. Third, the researchers found associations between the smartphone addiction inventory  (SPAI) scores and GMV as well as  amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF), converged on the ACC.

The authors wrote that:

The present study provides first evidence for common neural underpinning mechanisms of behavioral addiction in individuals with SPA. This study clearly needs replication as much as extension in larger cohorts, including longitudinal assessments, ecological momentary assessment and task-based functional MRI. Yet, at the same time, this study provides important data and preliminary evidence, suggesting addiction-related differences in neural processes in the context of smartphone use, particularly with respect to the salience network. Given the widespread use and increasing popularity of smartphones, the present study challenges assumptions towards the harmlessness of smartphones, at least in individuals that may be at increased risk for developing addictive behaviors.

It should be concerning that there are actual structural changes in the brain that correlate with smartphone use in individuals who have an addiction compared to the brains of those who don’t.

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The study goes into what each brain region is associated with in regards to behaviour, intelligence, etc.

In China, for example, teenagers are becoming hooked on electronic screens. Whether it be with their phone, computer, or video games, many young people are spending countless hours in front of a screen without bothering to eat or sleep, sometimes even withholding their urge to use the bathroom.

According to a blog report published by the New York Times“many have come to view the real world as fake.” (source)

In China, this phenomenon is actually considered a clinical disorder, and as a result a number of rehabilitation centres have been established where young people addicted to screens are completely isolated from all media. Although the success of these treatment centres is still unknown, it paints a dark picture of the technological age in which we live, and does not seem to bode well for our future.

Studies in China show that people who spend more than 6 hours on the internet for something other than work or study are likely to become addicted. Below is a trailer for the documentary “Web Junkies,” shedding light on this troubling aspect of modern life:

It’s not just China, this type of thing is seen all around the world:

“While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of ‘live’ action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.” (source)

As we continue to move forward, this type of addiction and behaviour becomes more disturbing. The power that some multinational corporations have, alongside their clever marketing tactics – basically making whatever product or idea they choose to be desirable to the human mind – is worrisome.  A few years ago, the American Academy of Paediatrics found that the average 8-10 year old spends almost eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children/teenagers spend even more, up to 11 hours. (source)

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, which included over 20,000 children/teens between grades 3 and 12, concluded that approximately 20% of grade 3 students already owned a cell phone. The numbers steadily rose from that point forward to approximately 25% in grade 4, 39% in grade 5, and 83% in middle school. You can read that entire study HERE.

With all of these electronics, it’s important to be aware of the impact of the radiation they give out and their documented harms. To learn more about that and access the science now available, please visit the Environmental Health Trust. It’s a great place to start your research.

The Takeaway

We are in the beginning stages of what could potentially be a big problem. We have yet to see the smartphone generation reach adulthood, therefore we can’t fully measure the potential consequences, but again, numerous studies like this one have already shown great cause for concern and render the idea that smartphones are completely harmless as completely false.

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Awareness

Frankincense Shows The Ability To Alleviate Symptoms Of Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have proven the psychoactive effects the scent of frankincense has on the brain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Reflect On:

    With all the man-made chemical pharmaceutical drugs out there, perhaps solutions to what ails us are more simple than we may realize.

Gold and frankincense and myrrh… sound familiar? These were the gifts that were allegedly brought by the three kings when Jesus Christ was born. We all know that gold is valuable, but what about the others? Frankincense has long been touted as a magical, mystical medicine and has been regarded as such for millennia within many ancient cultures of the world. The same goes for myrrh, but for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to the medicinal properties of frankincense.

Frankincense starts out as a type of resinous sap that is found inside a special family of trees called Boswellia, which grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. When it is harvested at specific times of the year, the trees are cut carefully with special knives and the sap seeps out. This special sap is then dried in the sun until it is ready for use. More commonly, frankincense is burned simply as sweet smelling incense, but it has many other uses as well including the following…

Historical Uses Of Frankincense

  • As a part of ritual or religious ceremonies
  • Was used extensively during burial rituals as an embalming material to help mask the odor of the deceased body
  • Smoke from burnt incense can effectively drive away mosquitoes and other pests

Frankincense has also been used medicinally, treating various ailments such as arthritis (it has strong anti-inflammatory properties), gut disorders (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), asthma, and maintenance of oral health.

And perhaps the most intriguing quality for our westernized modern culture is the psychoactive effects of this special resin, as studies have shown that burning frankincense can trigger an effect that can aid and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Research

One study in particular, conducted by a team of researchers form John Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, explains how burning the resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates certain previously misunderstood ion channels in the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might explain why Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at his favorite mistress’ funeral.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

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The researchers administered incensole acetate to mice in order to determine its psychoactive effects. This compound they found drastically impacted the parts of the brain that generate emotions and the nerve circuits that have responded positively to current drugs used for depression and anxiety. The incensole that was administered activated a protein called TRPV3, which is connected to the ability to perceive warmth of the skin.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion–burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

Can This Work For You?

Sure, this study was conducted using mice, which certainly aren’t the same as humans. However, many religious texts claim that this special resin had uplifting effects on the brain. So, the good thing is that if used appropriately, it really can’t hurt to try. You can typically buy the resin at health food stores and more commonly at stores that sell incense, crystals, sage and those sorts of spiritual ceremonial tools. It can also be found as an essential oil. I like to diffuse it in a diffuser, and sometimes I’ll burn the resin on charcoal pucks as well.

At the very least, you’ll get a nice and pleasant smelling aroma, and at best it can help turn that frown upside down, increase your mood, reduce your anxiety and maybe even put a smile on your face. Perhaps those three wise men were as wise as they’ve been made out to be, and frankincense really is as special as it’s been believed to be for millennia.

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Awareness

Binge Watching Is Associated With a 12 Percent Increased Risk of Inflammatory-Related Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looked at more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death.

  • Reflect On:

    How much TV do you watch? How active is your lifestyle?

I’m sure that you hesitated before choosing to read this article, as most of us have been sucked into a binge watching marathon on more than one occasion (myself included). While it may seem like we’re buckling down to give ourselves a break, we may actually be hurting ourselves far more than we realize. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has proven to be harmful to our bodies, especially for adults over 50, and when you match lounging with television, you create a deadly combo.

In an Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers examined more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death, and those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV were at an even higher risk. This includes  diabetes, respiratory, cognitive, and kidney diseases. (source)

In general, watching television has proven to negatively impact mental health; it alters your brain, lowers your attention span, and has the potential to make you more aggressive. You don’t need to experience the “trance-like” state television can put us in, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed it before. This trance occurs roughly 30 seconds after you start watching TV. Your brain begins by producing alpha waves, leading to a light hypnotic state that makes the viewer less aware of their environment and more open to subtle messages — aka programming.

In the 1990s. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied the effects that television has on the imagination of 10-12 year old children, ultimately concluding that television negatively impacts their development: “The ubiquity and ease of access to television and videos perhaps robs today’s children of the need to pursue their own thoughts and devise their own occupations, distracting them from inner processes and constantly demanding responses to external agendas, and suggests that this may have implications for the development of imaginative capacity.”

And these physical affects are becoming increasingly apparent. Not only does it eventually lead to immobility as you age, but with the risk of creating inflammation in the body, you are susceptible to a host of diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and even depression.

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Dr. Megan Grace is the lead investigator at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. Between 1999 and 2000, her team quizzed adult participants about their viewing habits via a questionnaire. Again, this was before we had access to popular streaming websites like Netflix. The participants were separated into three groups based on their TV viewing habits: less than two hours per day, greater than two hours but less than four hours, and more than four hours.

“TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality. This is consistent with the hypothesis that high TV viewing may be associated with a chronic inflammatory state,” the authors wrote.

They followed up with their participants 12 years later and found, of 909 deaths, 130 were inflammatory-related. Of the inflammatory-related deaths, 21 were from diseases of the respiratory system and 18 of the nervous system, and those who watched between two to four hours of TV a day showed a 54% higher risk of inflammatory-related death. Additionally, people who watched more than four hours of TV a day doubled their risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared to those who watched two hours.

In addition to cutting down the amount of time you spend sitting in front of the TV and sitting or lying down, you can help combat inflammation with a number of foods like avocados, berries, sweet potato, onions, and watermelon, and herbs like, cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric.

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