Have you Ever been Swept Off Your Feet?

In both cases – whether the bubble was inflated with positive or negative energy – the participants in the bubble are being swept away further and further away from actual physical reality and start to see everything either ‘extremely negatively’ or ‘extremely positively’ – neither experience is grounded in reality – because the physical is neither positive or negative – it just is what it is.

And Then You Crash – Meconomics

In this little series, we’ve been investigating the phenomenon of inflation, how we in our daily lives participate in ‘inflating our reality’ and so, how we are on a personal level participating in the same principles/dynamics that we see playing out on a bigger scale when it comes to inflation, speculative bubbles and financial market crashes.

Welcoming New Life with Living Income Guaranteed

Comfort, security and nurturing are all things we wish are present when a baby comes into this world. Yet, these conditions are not a reality for many babies, as parents themselves like these things in their lives. In Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa, 3 to 5 babies are…

Humanity Washed Ashore

This was an excerpt of just one of the stories about the boy. Over the last few days, dozens have been written and published on various major news sites. What is more striking than the content of the posts, is the comments that are left on these articles. What is humanity’s response to such images, to such news?

Voting Fun – What does it Feel Like to Have a Say?

Now – before such increased direct political participation is a reality – let’s do a little test to see what it feels like. So – here are some mock-questions where you’re asked to give your input. Imagine that this relates to your direct reality (eg. your town) – and your answer has a weight that influences the outcome of the decision. Of course, in reality…

15 December 2015

Immigration and Tolerance


“Change often measures our tolerance for folk different from ourselves. Can we accept their languages, their customs, their garments, and their foods into our own lives? If we can, then we form bonds, bonds that make wars less likely. If we cannot, if we believe that we must do things as we have always done them, then we must either fight to remain as we are, or die.”
-“That’s cheery.”
-“It’s true.”
Robin Hobb, Golden Fool

This is a quote from a fiction book and yet so applicable to the events we are facing today as millions are being displaced, migrating to create a life in a foreign country with foreign customs, foreign languages and foreign views of the world.

Though, I don’t think ‘tolerance’ is the right word to use. See, tolerance is when you judge something as wrong or unacceptable but will not act upon it. Tolerance doesn’t involve openness, it doesn’t involve questioning your own views in light of someone else’s. Tolerance doesn’t allow for expansion from learning and sharing, it can only ever remain a tolerating of something that you’d rather wish wasn’t there.

Tolerance is more a suppression than anything else – it will culminate to a boiling point and, sometime somewhere, you’ll find a reason to take out your frustrations on those that are so different to you and you will justify it and say ‘I have been tolerant for a very long time, but enough is enough’ and you’ll try to either get rid of them or try to make them comply to YOUR way of living.

If tolerance is how we approach change, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

So, I’d say – don’t be tolerant of people different to you – rather be open, approach them as one human being approaching another human being and allow yourself to see the world through their eyes.

Who knows, they might not be so different from you after all and, who knows, you might get to know a different side of yourself.

It's easy to stick to what you know and to think that 'your ways' are the standard for 'normality'. But we live in a world with different peoples, different histories, different views, different beliefs and different cultures. If all claim that their own lifestyle is the 'norm' - how will we see that the very fact that there are such great differences shows exactly that there is no such thing as 'the norm' or 'normality'. 

Within the principle of 'investigate all things and keep what is good' - imagine who we would be as humanity - how we would live - what we would create. It would be quite amazing because we'd have gotten to know those who are different from us and with each encounter an exchange would have taken place of that which each saw was good in the other that they had not yet considered or tried to do for themselves. Just for a moment... Imagine...

That potential exists for us - you could see it just now. We can create it, starting by changing our attitude in our own lives.

Change brings opportunity - let's not waste opportunity on tolerance.

16 November 2015

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE

What the Attacks in Paris show once again is how we tend to go into ‘maximum overdrive’ mode when we are suddenly, unexpectedly faced with a significant problem. There’s this sudden ‘rush’ of ‘we have to do SOMETHING’ – so if Facebook gives the option of overlaying your profile pic with the French flag, so many will just do it. Not because of understanding the entire dynamic of what happened in seeing: these were the reasons for the attack and this is the role that France did or didn’t play to get to this point – but simply because: I feel I am doing SOMETHING by ‘showing support’ for those who must have suffered tremendous fear. But once the initial ‘rush’ energy runs out – what gets done? Is there any follow-up? Do we do anything? Are there long-term solutions being formulated? We are now just a few days after the attack – consider: do you still feel the need to do something now? Or have you pretty much returned to your daily routine, thinking that ‘someone somewhere’ is probably stepping up to fix this?

The attacks themselves are an expression of ‘maximum overdrive’ – going waaaay out there to supposedly make a point/statement, to be ‘heard’. Obviously, in today’s world, an ill-considered course of action with mainstream media having the ability to highjack any event and write its own narrative before the real story/facts were even investigated. Then we can ask as well – what drives a person to such extremes? Why was the cause not picked up and addressed before it came to a point that people felt suicide bombing would be an appropriate way to deal with whatever issue is at the heart of this attack.

That of course is waived away by saying there is an extreme religion at the foundation of this extreme violence. I would say making such statements is once again going into maximum overdrive – taking one event way out of proportion and making conclusions about millions of people all over the world. Both the attacks and the response to the attacks exist in the same tendency of going into overdrive mode – moving too fast, taking things too far, not stopping to consider: wait – what am I doing? Why am I doing this? Does this make sense?

If you haven’t yet – I would suggest watching the live response hangout that was done on Saturday: [113] Paris Attacks: Is this How WW3 Begins? as it will support with slowing down, looking at the information with common sense and having grounded discussions on the matter.

With events like these – always check how you participate in creating them within the principle of ‘as above, so below’ – world events are reflections on a large scale of all the things we accept and allow ourselves to do and participate in, in our own lives. So – this is a good time to become aware of our own tendency to move too fast, of going into maximum overdrive mode and getting stuck in a mentality of ‘go go go’ – without stopping, taking a step back and actually considering whether what we’re about to do is really what’s best.

08 November 2015

Can we Live Simply Ever After?

When you tear down everything that makes life a burden, when you strip away everything that complicates life and sucks the joy out of it – there’s not ‘much’ left. Much from the perspective of: you can go without many things. Many things in our world currently make our life ‘fuller’ but not necessarily more ‘fulfilled’ – BIG difference. Have a look at what we have made ‘life’ to be – human life is super-complicated – it is true, we’ve made a terrific mess.

In the past 7 years, I’ve set out to discover what a person needs to be ‘happy’ – happy from the perspective of ‘not being in wanting’, where you have everything you need and there is nothing you are missing out on – your life is complete. Turns out – there’s not that much a person needs to have to be fulfilled, really. The more you remove the clutter, the clearer you see your relationship with yourself – which is the key to your own happiness.

If we had a blank slate – it would be easy to provide everyone with that which is needed, because it really is rather simplistic. The challenge is not in seeing what needs to be achieved – the challenge lies within creating the solution from where we are now. How to move from complexity to simplicity? Are we ready to live in simplicity, to simply live? Are we ready to let go of the clutter that we’ve given so much value to?

Have you ever watched those survival type TV shows where people have to survive on the bare minimum in the wild? Most of them will come out of such experiences with a new perspective on what’s really important in life and how most of the stuff we do and participate in, really doesn’t add value or support life /living in any way. And yet – how many of them actually follow through on implementing these fresh perspectives in the form of huge life changes? I daresay very few. Most of them will revert back to old habits, because everything in and of ‘human civilization’ is pushing each one to conform to the status quo. It seems to be the same with world change – everyone actually knows what does and doesn’t make us happy and fulfilled, and yet – there seems to be this fear of missing out and losing out if we were to change the status quo – because we’re all apparently so happy with how things are today. To be honest, I’m not sure what humanity has left to lose, so much of what could make us ‘great’ as a species – honor, dignity, care, compassion – seems to have been lost a long time ago. We cannot look at the state of the world today and make claim to any of these qualities.

And yet, I have no doubt that we could, that we can, that the potential exists – for us to be that species – that species that lives in harmony with itself and its environment, that species that knows what is truly important and doesn’t participate in things that will only create harm, tension and discord. It will require us to change our definition of ‘happiness’ – and to realize that living simply doesn’t mean living in poverty, or that living *with* riches means to live a rich life. It will require us to realize that letting go is not the same as losing out...

So, humanity – are you ready to live simply ever after?

17 October 2015

Corruption – Broken at the Core – Pt2

This post is a continuation to

Corruption - Broken at the Core

I ended off the previous post with:

“So if we want to understand how ‘those guys’ can be corrupt and how to change it – all we really need to do is ask ourselves: why am I corrupt? What makes me choose self-interest over what is best for everyone? What do you think? What do you see?”

You will probably be able to relate to a sort of ‘instinct’ within you to protect ‘me’ from ‘everyone else’. We tend to place our self-interest before the interest of all because we assume that another will take part of our share, will take what belongs to us or even chip away parts of us for their own purpose. If you have a look, that which stands at the center of this instinct is our relationship with giving and receiving. We don’t trust that we will receive what we need, so we won’t give to others what they need, rather hoard it all, because otherwise we may find ourselves lacking.

In a world where there is actually enough food for everyone, enough resources to support everyone – why does every single human being experience the threat of imminent lack, so much so that in almost every decision and action the principle of self-interest will override the principle of the common good? If there is enough for everyone, then why do we feel there isn’t or may not be somewhere in the near or distant future? Because our access to the resources that are here, is defined by the most godless (or shall I say ‘the most human’) of creations we have ever seen: an unfair money system. It doesn’t matter if there is enough if your access to it is not guaranteed.

The very foundation of our relationship with giving and receiving has been compromised through our acceptance of a system where money is not guaranteed and so access to what each one needs is not guaranteed. I mean – think about it: the very resources that each one needs to survive are not accessible to everyone. And this is something everyone grows up with – our very lives are dependent on whether there is money or not. Our very lives are dependent on whether we receive a big enough share of the resources. When we are never really certain that we will continue to receive our basic human necessities, is it surprising that self-preservation has become our primary drive? Not only when it comes to money and getting food on the table – but in every single aspect of our lives. Because EVERYTHING in life in some way involves the need to give and receive. When our relationship with those two words is tainted, twisted and compromised, we’re truly broken at our core – inhibited to live life to the fullest, unable to rise to our fullest potential as humanity.

The proposal of a Living Income Guaranteed is then about a lot more than simply making sure everyone has enough money. It’s about rehabilitating our understanding of what it means to give and receive, it’s about laying down the chains we have imposed on ourselves, that have driven us to a version of human life that is scarcely worth remembering. If ever the human race is erased and a new species comes to inhabit the Earth and finds records of human society – they would describe us as the most despicable race that has ever lived, not even able to share and live in peace with each other, let alone with the other beings that dwell on this planet – because that is the only legacy we have ever created and perpetuated. The Living Guaranteed Proposal is a second chance, a shot at redemption – we’ve only ever proven what it means to live in fear and self-interest. Why not prove what it means to live with care, compassion, consideration and respect for each other? It starts with a living income guaranteed.

14 October 2015

Corruption - Broken at the Core

In hearing the word ‘corruption’ we almost automatically think of politicians, business owner, corporations and MONEY – more specifically: putting money where it’s not supposed to go and using power in ways it’s not supposed to be used. We think of all those people ‘out there’ doing it and how angry it makes us, because with THEM being corrupt, it leaves less for the rest of us ‘poor victims’. ‘If only there would be no corruption’ – ‘everything would be so much better’ – ‘how could they’ – well, I assume you know your own thoughts on the matter… Of course if we wanted to just keep reproducing the same thought patterns, there would be no need for writing blogs, sooo… have you considered the following:

What is it about corruption that makes it corruption? What is the essence or the nature of corruption? It really boils down to: acting in self-interest when you should be acting in the interest of the whole. When corruption happens on a ‘big scale’ – eg: when there is a lot of money involved, this really pisses us off, I mean: how dare they!? But when corruption happens on a small scale – then, it’s just ‘life’, ‘human nature’ or ‘only normal’. Just ask yourself and answer honestly: how much of your time do you act in the interest of all and how much of your time do you act purely in your own self-interest? You’ll find that most of the time you’re not even considering how your actions and words might affect other people. Does corruption only apply when it is done by people who are explicitly within positions of so-called responsibility? Aren’t we all always in a position of responsibility simply by virtue of us being here and the fact that we don’t exist in isolation of other people, of nature and of the animal kingdom – even if that’s how we have split things up and categorized them neatly in our minds?

So if we want to understand how ‘those guys’ can be corrupt and how to change it – all we really need to do is ask ourselves: why am I corrupt? What makes me choose self-interest over what is best for everyone? What do you think? What do you see?

Let's continue this discussion in the next post – in the meantime: ponder over these questions and leave your answers in a comment.

08 October 2015

Solitary Confinement – The Horrors of our ‘Correctional’ System

Even though international governing bodies have condemned the use of solitary confinement since the 1990s, it is still a common practice in many prisons all over the United States. Currently, an estimated total of 80,000 to 100,000 men, women and children are isolated in closed cells for 22-24 hours a day – for periods stretching from days, weeks, months and even years.

Reasons to place a prisoner in solitary confinement are not restricted to serious violations – talking back to a guard or being caught with contraband are often reason enough to be ‘put into lockdown’ or ‘thrown in the shoe’. Did anyone say ‘Milgram’?

There is a reason international governing bodies condemn the practice: because it basically amounts to torture. The physical and psychological effects are horrifying. Mentally sane inmates often come out of solitary confinement with serious psychological disorders, violent behavior and suicidal tendencies. For those who were already suffering from mental illness, being confined to isolation only exacerbates their conditions.

Is this the purpose of our prison system? To break people, to strip them of their sanity or push them further into misery? Does that benefit the prisoners? Does it benefit society when a prisoner has served his sentence and has to re-enter society as a less functional being than he was before incarceration? No matter the crime they have committed – if we sanction the use of torture – are we not criminals all the same?

We make a big fuss over the CIA’s torturing practices, but don’t realize torture is happening on a daily basis to thousands of people in our so called ‘correctional facilities’ and ‘judicial system’.

The Living Income Guaranteed Proposal is based on the principle that all should be able to live a life of dignity. All… that includes prisoners. When we treat people like worthless pieces of s*** - what is going to happen? Is it going to heal them? Will they find peace? Will they repent for past transgressions? Or will it make them into that which we treat them as?

In other words – if we want to be able to continue calling prisons ‘correctional facilities’ – we better reinvent them and do an entire overhaul of the prison system. Archaic ideas of justice need to be thrown out the window and central should stand the fostering of understanding and the correction of harmful behaviors. If not – let’s be frank and call them ‘torture facilities’ – but how can we ever hope to live with any shred of dignity if we stand for that?

Join the discussion on Living Income Guaranteed – take the world in your hands and ask yourself: What needs to happen for all to live a life of dignity? What needs to change? Changing what is here starts with formulating solutions. Do you have any ideas? Let’s hear it!






27 September 2015

Tomorrowland – Would you get a Pin?

Just saw the Disney movie ‘Tomorrowland’. The following passage is quite interesting and worth looking at:
“Let’s imagine… if you’d glimpse the future, you are frightened by what you saw, what would you do with that information? You’d go to who? Politicians? Captains of industry? And how would you convince them? With data? With Facts? Good luck. The only facts they won’t challenge are the ones that keep the wheels greased and the dollars rolling in. But what if there was a way of skipping the middle man and putting the critical news directly into everyone’s head? The probability of wide-spread annihilation kept going up. The only way to stop it, was to show it. To scare people straight, because what reasonable human being wouldn’t be galvanized by the potential destruction of everything they’ve ever known or loved? To save civilization, I would show its collapse.

But how do you think this vision was received? How do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom? They gobbled it up like a chocolate √©clair. They didn’t fear their demise, they repackaged it. It could be enjoyed as video-games as TV-shows, books, movies, the entire world whole-heartedly embraced the apocalypse and sprinted towards it with gleeful abandon.

Meanwhile, your Earth was crumbling all around you. You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation – explain that one. Bees and butterflies start to disappear the glaciers melt, algae blooms all around you, the coalmine canaries are dropping dead and you won’t take the hint.

In every moment, there is the possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it, you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality. So, you dwell on this so terrible future, you resign yourselves to it for one reason: Because that future doesn’t ask anything of you today.

So, yes, we saw the iceberg, we warned the Titanic, but you all just steered for it anyway, full steam ahead. Why? Because you want to sink. You gave up. And that’s not the monitor’s fault – that’s yours.”

It still puzzles me why the character speaking these words was portrayed as the villain – wasn’t he right on the money? Isn’t that exactly what is happening today? Some say the movie is about imagination, about feeding positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts – but it’s not really. The movie has one simple message: Are we giving up when seeing the world we’ve created with all its unintended ‘ooopsy’ consequences – or are we going to realize that if we want a different future, we have to actually create it. Positive thoughts or feelings won’t do. It is actions that are needed, our behavior that needs to change, our demands that need to change – from destruction to construction.

So ask yourself: what do I DO each day to create a different world?

25 September 2015

When Life No Longer Needs to be Paid For

At the moment life is not free – we have to pay for it. Buying groceries, paying rent or paying off the loan you needed to take out to buy your house, paying for medical support, paying for water and electricity – all of the life-supporting essentials cost money. So, in essence, you pay to continue living every day another day.

Now – what would happen when everyone received at least a Living Income – and if working – would receive at least double? Yes – you would still need to pay for everything to have your living essentials, but… the money to pay for it would be given to you, a security. It would practically mean that life is free – no longer a commodity to be paid for and even a luxury for some – life would be yours to live!

So – what would you do with your life? What would I do with my life?

The first thing that comes to mind is that anything I have to offer in terms of education – whether it is about personal empowerment or practical skills – I would put out there for free – for as many as possible to be able to benefit from it. At the moment – so many educators charge fees for their courses, for their knowledge and their know-how – which is of course how they make a living – but imagine now information and knowledge being able to spread so much easier to so many more – either because they can afford to share it for free or because the courses that are charged for can be paid for by so many more. Anyone with an interest, a goal they want to achieve would be able to do so with the help of the world’s knowledge at their disposal.

Would I work less? I don’t know, hey – perhaps a little, take more time for reading, gardening and dancing classes – but working from the perspective of creating something or contributing to something that helps others – that is very fulfilling for me. And even – let’s say I take out some time from work to just focus entirely on dancing – something I have very little time for at the moment – because I want to see to what extent I can develop my dancing. Well – I would do that, but then afterwards, I’d want to share it with others – so I’d become a dance teacher – not because I have to, but because it’s fulfilling to help others in getting better at what they love doing.

Oh – here’s one: I would feel a lot better about anyone providing a service – whether it’s a doctor, a lawyer or the tech support guy of my cellphone provider – because I know the only reason they’re doing it is because they want to. And when you do something because you want to, you’re going to do it well. That opens an interesting point, because it means the level of trust between people in society is going to increase - imagine feeling like you’re in good hands ALL THE TIME.

This may sound like the description of a utopian dream society – but is it really? Or is it only that we don’t realize to what extent our current economic structure affects our inner well-being, our physical health, our personal relationships and our daily interactions with others? In very low and depressed moments we may ask ourselves ‘what is the meaning of life?’ – I suggest we rather implement a Living Income Guaranteed and find out: What does it mean to live life?

15 September 2015

How is War Still a Thing?

If you look at human history and all the progress we’ve made, the technology, the infrastructure, the institutions, the various ways of communicating over enormous distances – instantaneously -  traveling into space, creating music, art – it’s pretty impressive. And yet – with all of this apparent evolution and progress, it’s hard to be optimistic about humanity’s history and legacy, because: there’s still this one huge nasty atrocity we keep doing, over and over again… we keep on waging wars.

This is the 21st century and war is still a thing we do – every day. It hasn’t been erased yet – we haven’t yet come to the day in time where we can say ‘wars – that’s a thing from the past – we remember it to make sure never to do it again’ – because it’s not, it’s part of our present and it looks like, part of our future too.

I’ve had many moments where I look at the news and get frustrated, horrified and mind-blown at the stupidity of war, the destruction, the senselessness – wanting to scream at those apparently ‘leading nations’ – WTF are you doing???

But is it that surprising really?

I mean – how can we expect continuous mutual cooperation, problem solving and conflict-prevention on an international and global level if that’s something we’re not living up to ourselves? Conflict PREVENTION – yes, you read that right – because for world peace to be the ‘new thing’ – we need to not only be able to master the art of conflict resolution, but also need to learn to prevent conflict, rather than waiting for conflict to manifest and then trying to ‘do something about it’. Conflict is nothing more than the manifestation and revealing of misalignments that were already present.

It is easy to blame politicians and diplomats for sucking at what they do – but in the context of ‘as above, so below’ – we’re all playing our part here – how often do we go into arguments with those around us, openly or behind their backs in the form of gossip and backchat? How often do we wait for ‘shit to hit the fan’ before we actually look at problems that we actually knew were there but conveniently chose to ignore? And when there is conflict, how often do we focus on solutions instead of sticking with our own self-interest, walking away or just wanting to ‘win’ the argument, regardless of the cost?

That is our responsibility on a purely personal level – but how about the following: if we are so frustrated with our leaders making bad decisions? Why are we still leaving these decisions up to them? Do citizens demand referendums before going to war? Do citizens get a say in any way about how their military gets used and who their soldiers will go to kill and terrorize next? Do citizens demand a say? How can we as children be taught about the horrors of world wars and then grow up to be adults who stand by and do absolutely nothing but focus on our own personal happiness and fulfillment, doing our best to look away and pretend it’s got nothing to do with us? Or how about this – why haven’t we yet demanded global demilitarization to instead redirect all the funds that go into wars and military development towards securing a basic income for everyone? Because – yes, let’s not forget – poverty is also still a thing.

So – let’s use that creative human brain that we must possess to be able to create things like cars, the internet, art and space shuttles to find and promote solutions, to get a say, to end things that shouldn’t be things anymore.

Join us in the Living Income movement – read the proposal – make your own blog and start sharing solutions, join a political party that has the provision of basic human rights on their agenda, or create one if there isn’t one, find out how you can participate in political decision making in your area, make your voice count.

13 September 2015

Parenting and a Living Income Guaranteed



How does the lack of parental economic support affect our societies? How would Parenting change in a society where our basic needs are guaranteed as a Human Right? What effects will securing the livelihood of mothers and fathers bring to our society at large? What needs to change in society and economics to make parenting a successful and satisfying part of our lives and those of our children?
Join us in our discussion with Equal Life Foundation’s very own Leila Zamora Moreno & Gian Robberts, sharing their perspectives and experiences thus far in relation to parenting and how we can change the ways it is lived to build a world that is best for all.
You are welcome to place comments and questions for Leila & Gian in the comment section of this video.
Hosted by: Marlen Vargas Del Razo

09 September 2015

Politics? Fun?? Have you Lost your Mind?!

One of the reasons it is so hard to push for substantial change is that – the way to do that is through politics – and trying to get people engaged and passionate about politics is not an easy feat. Just ask yourself – apart from the sentence I just wrote – when last did you hear the words ‘politics’ and ‘passionate’ in the same sentence together? It seems the two are each others' opposites. I imagine the following is actually how some people have defined politics in their minds’ dictionary:

“Politics: I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s boring and I want nothing to do with it”

So – for those who ‘get’ that politics is probably quite important, but just can’t get themselves to read the newspapers for fear that you might die of boredom, I have good news. There is a show called ‘Last Week Tonight’ hosted by John Oliver, which may be just what you need. It’s a very funny show – sometimes bordering to, or just plainly grotesque, so breathe through those parts if it’s not your style. As with everything, you have to use your own common sense in relation to what is being presented. Yet, overall it’s really entertaining and while you’re being entertained, you’ll simultaneously be introduced to various different topics and problems on the world’s political agenda. You might actually learn more from watching this show than from reading the newspaper…

Seriously, watch it.



And if you have any suggestions for funny educational shows - share it with us in a comment!

05 September 2015

Voting Fun – What does it Feel Like to Have a Say?

One of the pillars within the Living Income Guaranteed proposal is the substantiating of Democracy through Direct Political Participation. Technology is available to hold regular votes that includes a large number of individuals. These votes can range from participatory budgeting where each citizen is asked to approve the yearly national budget, to making decisions on a daily basis on a local/municipality level.

Now – before such increased direct political participation is a reality – let’s do a little test to see what it feels like. So – here are some mock-questions where you’re asked to give your input. Imagine that this relates to your direct reality (eg. your town) – and your answer has a weight that influences the outcome of the decision. Of course, in reality – a lot more context would be given to each question – providing information about the different options, what benefits and costs are involved. Pretend that you are aware of all these factors and are answering after having weighed the options carefully. At the end of the poll you’ll be asked what it felt like to have a say, where you can share for instance that you felt uncomfortable in a way or actually felt empowered.

Let’s have some voting fun!

Here is the link: http://surveynuts.com/surveys/take?id=38568&c=357448241DFNH

It won't take you more than 5mins ;).

03 September 2015

Humanity Washed Ashore

“The full horror of the human tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe was brought home on Wednesday as images of the lifeless body of a young boy – one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos – encapsulated the extraordinary risks refugees are taking to reach the west.

The picture, taken on Wednesday morning, depicted the dark-haired toddler, wearing a bright-red T-shirt and shorts, washed up on a beach, lying face down in the surf not far from Turkey’s fashionable resort town of Bodrum.

A second image portrays a grim-faced policeman carrying the tiny body away. Within hours it had gone viral becoming the top trending picture on Twitter under the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore).”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees

This was an excerpt of just one of the stories about the boy. Over the last few days, dozens have been written and published on various major news sites. What is more striking than the content of the posts, is the comments that are left on these articles. What is humanity’s response to such images, to such news? If you have a moment, I would suggest to read through the comments. It ranges from expressing shock, to sending love and prayers, to abdicating responsibility, to assigning blame to the parents, countries, presidents, religions and then it just goes into back-and-forth bickering over ‘what kind of person you are’.

That just makes you wonder...

When I read/hear such events and news stories – what I see is that: we’re more and more coming to a point where we can no longer ignore the painful truth that what happens on this planet is a problem for everyone – they are no longer ‘far away’ – what we’re accepting and allowing, even just through our ignorance and complacency – is literally washing up our shores. Does it help, then, to assign blame? Does it help, then, to debate over the exact historical figure and events that led up to the problems we’re facing today?

We can no longer afford to think in terms of ‘us vs. them’ and ‘my country vs. your country’ or ‘my religion vs. your religion’ – because it’s simply not constructive. It’s a similar point with climate change – does it really matter who started it? Can we really afford to debate over who should take the first step?

When recently traveling to Belgium with my sister and her little boy, we spent a lot of time on playgrounds. It was fascinating to see so many families of different origins, with different cultures and speaking different languages all in the same place. Belgians were actually in the minority. But more interesting was to see the difference in how the parents interacted (or rather, didn’t) and how the children interacted with each other. The parents stayed away from each other, individually watching their children from the sidelines and stepping in when needed, kind of avoiding each other. The children, on the other hand – would all play harmoniously together on the playground. It didn’t seem to make a difference to them what the other child looked like, what they were wearing or even what language they spoke. They would actually adapt and use more body language to get a point across.

My point being… how the world exists today is one version of what can be – and is a result of our collective history. At the same time, there exists a potential for a different way of living together. If we wait, stand aside and refuse to look for solutions that will actually work for everyone – we know our children will end up doing the same – and that potential for a different world is lost.

We still have a ‘choice’ in how we address these global problems, or at least – it seems like we do – because we haven’t yet seen the worst of it. Despite problems escalating, there seems to still be a belief in many that ‘things will work themselves out’ – call it ‘Disney-brainwashing’. But if we’re going to find sustainable solutions, we better do it now – and we better include everyone in the benefits. If you follow the trends of the ‘state of the world’ – what we’re doing to the planet, what we’re doing to each other – it’s very likely our children will no longer have that choice, that chance to say: okay, let’s turn this ship around.

So, from one human being to another – we’re all here, all living and breathing – and all capable of working together if we choose to, all capable of focusing on formulating solutions that work for everyone, all capable of standing up and no longer assuming someone else will solve our problems for us.

So, I invite you to – if you have an idea, if you are part of the solution – SPEAK OUT - let’s hear about ideas and solutions, start constructive discussions, connect and support each other.

Here is the solution I stand for: A Living Income Guaranteed for All – read about it and share what you think. Then share what you stand for! The Living Income Guaranteed crew hosts weekly hangouts, a platform where ideas and solutions are discussed and promoted. So, if you want your idea and solution to get some extra attention, you can also contact livingincome@equallife.org and be welcomed on a live hangout!

Let’s start a new trend:

#IAmPartOfTheSolution

02 September 2015

And Then You Crash - Meconomics

This blogpost is a continuation to:
Reality in a Bubble – Meconomics
Inflating Reality Much? – Meconomics
Do You Know the Stakes of the Bets you Place? – Meconomics
Have you Ever been Swept Off your Feet?

In this little series, we’ve been investigating the phenomenon of inflation, how we in our daily lives participate in ‘inflating our reality’ and so, how we are on a personal level participating in the same principles/dynamics that we see playing out on a bigger scale when it comes to inflation, speculative bubbles and financial market crashes.

We saw that there is actually a set process involved that we can roughly break down into three stages:

1.    the start/onset,
2.    the process of inflation,
3.    the popping of the bubble.

We discussed stages 1 and 2 in the previous posts, so let’s look more closely at:

3. The Popping of the Bubble


The popping of the bubble is usually a singular moment that can be experienced as a ‘crash’ or an ‘explosion’ – though the consequences of the entire process (stages 1, 2 and 3) can linger and last for quite a while as the domino-blocks start falling.

The popping of the bubble is in essence the sudden release of all the energy that had been accumulating and growing in the process of inflation. Energy cannot ‘keep on accumulating forever’ – it has a breaking-point – and that is the point where the bubble pops and we experience some form of a crash, explosion or release.

Looking at the example of the couple fighting, where the on-set was one person forgetting to buy toothpaste, the popping of the bubble would be the moment where a snap decision is made at the culmination point within the fight of: ending the relationship. This is of course an extreme example, where we illustrated the process of inflation over a very short period of time, but actually, you would be surprised how often such decisions are made not because of practical common sense considerations, but because of an energy that had been growing and accumulating to the point where it seems like ‘the only choice’ to make in a moment.

We also saw in the previous post that inflation can occur both with negative and positive energy. Remember the example of the teenage girls ‘screeching’ in excitement? Well, I used to be one of those – and let me tell you – I would experience quite a ‘crash’ afterwards – not necessarily in terms of a ‘fight’ or a ‘break up’ type of experience, but I would get absolutely exhausted and experience huge headaches after a day out with my girlfriends. Another example would be when you fill your ‘inflation bubble’ with ‘high hopes and expectations’ – where you can easily crash into a sudden experience of total disappointment and despondence.

The moment the bubble is popped – the energy releases and all that we are left with is the physical reality. The abrupt transition from being emerged within energy where everything you see, think, feel and do is influenced by whatever energy you are experiencing, be it positive or negative – can create quite a ‘shock’ as you are suddenly faced with ‘what is left’ – which is your reality. That’s how we often have those moments of looking back at something we did or said and regret it or wonder why and how we could have done or said what we did/said in past moments. Because when looking back at the event without being emerged in the energy – you can see alternative courses of actions and behaviors.

So – with the example of the couple breaking up – you might have experienced similar moments where you are suddenly ‘snapped back’ to reality and all of a sudden everything has changed and you don’t even clearly see or understand how it could have ‘come to that’. This is the immediate experience after the popping of the bubble, but at the same time it is the on-set of a series of consequences. Because no matter how you wish you could ‘take things back’ – you can’t – it is done, things were said and done and there is no way to ignore the new reality that you suddenly created for yourself.

Understand then – that when you experience a ‘crash’ – it’s not something that ‘just happened’ or ‘happened to you’, you actually created it over a period of time through your own participation in reactions and mental energy. So, then you can have a look: where did I make an interpretation/react to something that was said/done or that happened in my physical reality? Where/when/how did I keep adding energy, inflating a bubble and removing myself more and more from physical reality? What kinds of energy did I fill this bubble with? Now that you have an overview of the process that ‘leads to’ such a crash, you can trace back your steps and learn from the past.

30 July 2015

Have you Ever been Swept Off Your Feet? - Meconomics

This blogpost is a continuation to:
Reality in a Bubble – Meconomics
Inflating Reality Much? – Meconomics
Do You Know the Stakes of the Bets you Place? – Meconomics








In the previous blog we started looking at the different stages we move through when we inflate things in our reality:

1.    the start/onset,
2.    the process of inflation,
3.    the popping of the bubble.

We ended off our discussion of the start/onset of the inflation bubble with the following:

“You have to remember, we’re slowing things down here – in those moments, it all happens in a blink of an eye. You ask your partner about the toothpaste – he says he forgot – and next thing you’re already saying ‘Gee, you’re such an ass!!’. Everything that we looked at here, happens in that tiny fraction of a moment between hearing he forgot the toothpaste and speaking to him in response. Because it all moves so fast, we often don’t realize how it is in those fractions of moments that we’re actually busy creating/starting an inflation bubble. Yet, it’s in those fractions of moments that the first point of responsibility lies: you interpreted, you chose, you made a bet – and went forward with it.

What do I mean with ‘and went forward with it’. Once you’ve interpreted your partner’s forgetfulness as meaning that ‘he’s an ass’ – then that is how you see him, how you will speak to him, how you will approach him. In other words – you’re actually no longer speaking to your partner as the person standing in front of you, you’re speaking to your own interpretation of who you perceive your partner to be. This is the moment where you’re creating a shift/rift in your reality – from remaining grounded in the physical reality – to entering a ‘bubble’.”


So, let’s move on to the next stage:

2. The Process of Inflation

The process of inflation is that section of the event where things just escalate more and more and kind of start getting out of hand. The start/onset was merely, you acting on the interpretation of what a person did. In the example we used, the start/onset was exemplified by the saying of the words ‘Gee, you’re such an ass’.

Now – any person can see that these words (Gee, you’re such an ass) are not ‘neutral words’, they are charged words. Words are charged when we speak them with a particular energy. We charge our words positively when we speak words with for instance love or hope, (eg: I know you can do this, honey!) and we charge words negatively when we speak words with for instance anger, annoyance or frustration (eg: how many times must I tell you this!).

These energetic charges are key to understanding the process of inflation, because generally speaking, something interesting happens when we speak words that are energetically charged. You can see it for yourself by looking at any memories where a person spoke to you and their words were energetically charged: how did you feel? You might not be able to name the exact experience you had, but you definitely felt ‘something’. That ‘something’ is your energetic reaction to another’s words.

So – when we speak within energy and our words are charged – the person we are speaking to is more than likely going to now have their own energetic reaction to that. If they then speak in that moment while they are having this energy moving inside themselves, their words will also be energetically charged. What happens then? Well now, we are going to react again upon hearing these energetically charged words. Are you starting to see how this works? You get a back-and-forth argument as every time a person speaks, the other reacts and ‘wants to say something back’. As this back-and-forth argument continues, what happens inside each person? Each one’s energy levels are increasing and more and more the energetic experience becomes the driving force in each one’s words and actions. In other words – the argument gets more and more emotional and less and less rational.

Dependent on whether the initial charge of the words were positive or negative, you will start creating a bubble between you and the person you’re speaking with that is either filled with positive energy or with negative energy.

When the initial charge of the words spoken was negative, then the other person is likely to respond with a negative energy/experience and their words will also be negatively charged. That is the case in the example we’re working with. The initial words spoken (let’s say by person A) were “Gee, you’re such an ass”, which are words that are negatively charged. The other person (call it person B) will react negatively in return, and their words will also be negatively charged. The negative energy that person A is receiving from person B is now intensifying and supporting person A’s original negative experience, and so it gets bigger. Each time person A or person B speaks with negative energy, they are in essence ‘feeding’ the negative energy within the other. So, both are now being swept up in a cycle of negativity that builds and get bigger. That is the bubble that is being inflated. Inflated with what? With negative energy.

The same dynamic can take place with positive energy. If a person speaks while experiencing positive energy like excitement, their words will be positively charged and the person they are speaking to will probably experience a positive experience in return (this is what is referred to in sayings like ‘her enthusiasm is rubbing off on me’). In the same way, this can lead to a back-and-forth conversation where the positive energy just builds and builds more and more. Have you ever heard teenage girls screeching and shouting with high-pitched voices in absolute excitement – well, this is how they ‘get to’ that state. The only difference is that the bubble they created was inflated with positive energy.

In both cases – whether the bubble was inflated with positive or negative energy – the participants in the bubble are being swept away further and further away from actual physical reality and start to see everything either ‘extremely negatively’ or ‘extremely positively’ – neither experience is grounded in reality – because the physical is neither positive or negative – it just is what it is.

16 July 2015

Do You Know the Stakes of the Bets you Place? - Meconomics

This blogpost is a continuation to:

Reality in a Bubble – Meconomics
Inflating Reality Much? – Meconomics

Read the previous posts for context.





I ended off my previous post with the following:

“When we start reacting inside ourselves (in the experiential reality/dimension) to what we hear/see in our physical reality, we change the way we perceive reality. If your partner forgot to buy toothpaste, then in physical reality, this means: your partner forgot to buy toothpaste. (Okay, that may sound silly, but it’s actually so silly that most of us don’t recognize how complicated we make our lives.) In your experiential reality, if your partner forgot to buy toothpaste, it can mean: “My partner doesn’t care about me”; “My partner is unreliable”; “I have to think of everything in this relationship”, “I do so much for him/her and he/she can’t even do this one little thing for me”.

So – we have this nasty habit of inflating something that happens in our physical reality through interpreting it and reacting to it in our experiential reality – making it seem bigger than it actually is. I’m sure you can relate to such moments, they occur so often that we have come to accept them as ‘normal’ – but let’s continue looking at them a bit further so we can really grasp and understand what it is we’re doing in such moments and how it creates a direct line of responsibility from ourselves to the phenomenon of speculative bubbles and the consequences they create in people’s lives.”

We can identify three stages when it comes to inflating things in our reality:
1.    the start/onset,
2.    the process of inflation,
3.    the popping of the bubble.

Let’s look at each of these stages in turn so we can really go into the nitty-gritty of how this works, what we participate in, how we actually create these bubbles. When it comes to meconomics – the better we understand ourselves, how these things work in our own personal lives on a small scale, the more empowered we are to understand and change how the same is manifested on a large scale in the economy.


1.    The Start/Onset of Inflation Bubbles in our Lives

We’ve looked at how we’re working with two realities or dimensions of reality – the physical reality and the experiential reality. We saw how, when something happens in our physical reality, that we pick up with our physical senses, we often INTERPRET these events to have a particular ‘meaning’. So – you’ve got your physical reality, you’ve got your physical senses like hearing, touch, smell, etc with which you take in information of what happens around you – but then – you also have an inner experiential reality through which the information is ‘filtered’ and where you add additional meaning and interpretations to what happens in your physical reality.

So, if we take the fictional example of your partner forgetting to buy toothpaste – what you pick up through your physical senses is just that: your partner forgot to buy toothpaste. But now – that information gets filtered through your inner experiential reality, which can be for instance all the memories of when he forgot to do something, or all the memories where you went out of your way to do something for him when he asked you to – and then together with that – all the experiences, emotions, feelings you’ve had in those previous memories. So – even though the information that is ‘coming in’ from your environment is: “your partner forgot to buy toothpaste” – what you end up experiencing and perceiving can be “he’s such an ass”.

(Little side-note: I’m here using the viewpoint of a female and the partner who forgot to buy the toothpaste as being a male to cut down on having to write him/her – but obviously, you can switch the roles and genders around, it goes both ways. So, if you’re a guy reading this, then just imagine the partner being a woman who forgot to buy toothpaste and the eventual experience being “she’s such a bitch”.)

What is interesting about this, is that it is actually a form of speculating. What is speculating? It is to “form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence.” In this example, the conclusion or theory is that ‘your partner is an ass’ and that’s why he forgot to buy tooth paste. You don’t have any firm evidence, because you’re just using your own memories and experiences as a reference and assuming that they provide you with solid proof, but they don’t really. In terms of what happened ‘right now’, in that ‘that’ moment – all you’ve got is that your partner forgot to buy toothpaste, everything else that you think about it or feel about it, is based on speculation.

When it comes to speculating in the financial market, the same happens – you’re looking at different indicators and factors, what direction things seem to be moving in – from that you make assumptions about what will happen in the future and from there, you make your investment decisions. You have no certainty beforehand, you’re only interpreting data and trying to derive ‘meaning’ from it and then trying to project this meaning in the future to see where you would best invest. Speculation in the financial market is an investment with the hope of gain, but with a risk of loss – wherein your decision-making is based on assumptions/conjectures/guesses. In other words: you’re placing a bet, you’re gambling.

If we bring this back to our personal lives where we interpret what happens in our physical reality by filtering it through our inner experiential reality, we’re actually placing a bet as well. It is a choice, for instance, to believe your perception and interpretation that ‘your partner is an ass’ to be true – you’re betting on it being true. And what are you placing in the balance? The future of your relationship.

You have to remember, we’re slowing things down here – in those moments, it all happens in a blink of an eye. You ask your partner about the toothpaste – he says he forgot – and next thing you’re already saying ‘Gee, you’re such an ass!!’. Everything that we looked at here, happens in that tiny fraction of a moment between hearing he forgot the toothpaste and speaking to him in response. Because it all moves so fast, we often don’t realize how it is in those fractions of moments that we’re actually busy creating/starting an inflation bubble. Yet, it’s in those fractions of moments that the first point of responsibility lies: you interpreted, you chose, you made a bet – and went forward with it.

What do I mean with ‘and went forward with it’. Once you’ve interpreted your partner’s forgetfulness as meaning that ‘he’s an ass’ – then that is how you see him, how you will speak to him, how you will approach him. In other words – you’re actually no longer speaking to your partner as the person standing in front of you, you’re speaking to your own interpretation of who you perceive your partner to be. This is the moment where you’re creating a shift/rift in your reality – from remaining grounded in the physical reality – to entering a ‘bubble’.

07 July 2015

Inflating Reality Much? - Meconomics

This post is a continuation to:

Reality in a Bubble – Meconomics


In my previous post we discussed speculative bubbles in the economy, where we saw how prices of assets increase through a process of speculation over and above the ‘real prices’ (which would reflect their actual value). We say the prices are ‘inflated’ (just like how you inflate a balloon or bubble) – and we looked at some of the major damage that those speculative bubbles can create, especially after they pop, where we looked at the example of the Greek economy.

How are Speculative Bubbles in the economy a reflection of bubbles we create in our personal lives?

Maybe let’s start with the following question: have you ever had an argument with a friend, family member or partner where the initial point of disagreement or the initial issue is blown entirely out of proportion? A conversation with your partner can start, for instance, with ‘did you remember to buy us toothpaste?’ and end up in a full-blown fight with shouting and tears. And then when you calm down, you realize you just broke up with your partner – you can’t remember how the fight started but suddenly your life looks very different. How does that happen? How do we do that?

We do it through a process of inflation – have a look, I twice used some form of the word ‘blowing’ in the above paragraph: blowing something out of proportion and full-blown fight – we blow bubbles and then they pop. Why is it inflation? Because there is no way someone is going to break up with their partner over forgetting to buy toothpaste – obviously something happened between the asking of that question and breaking up…

What we’re looking at is two ‘dimensions’ – you have the first dimension which is the ‘physical reality’, the actual events that take place or the reality we all have in common, and you have the ‘experiential reality’, which is how you interpret things that happen in your reality, how you become upset or sad over something, everything that you experience, that ‘takes place’ on an energetic level inside your own mind and body. I put the words ‘takes place’ in those little quotation marks, because the very nature of everything that happens in your ‘experiential reality’ is that it doesn’t really take up space – it’s not physical, you can’t touch it. We generate those experiences inside ourselves in moments, but they are not constant or stable.

When we start reacting inside ourselves (in the experiential reality/dimension) to what we hear/see in our physical reality, we change the way we perceive reality. If your partner forgot to buy toothpaste, then in physical reality, this means: your partner forgot to buy toothpaste. (Okay, that may sound silly, but it’s actually so silly that most of us don’t recognize how complicated we make our lives.) In your experiential reality, if your partner forgot to buy toothpaste, it can mean: “My partner doesn’t care about me”; “My partner is unreliable”; “I have to think of everything in this relationship”, “I do so much for him/her and he/she can’t even do this one little thing for me”.

So – we have this nasty habit of inflating something that happens in our physical reality through interpreting it and reacting to it in our experiential reality – making it seem bigger than it actually is. I’m sure you can relate to such moments, they occur so often that we have come to accept them as ‘normal’ – but let’s continue looking at them a bit further so we can really grasp and understand what it is we’re doing in such moments and how it creates a direct line of responsibility from ourselves to the phenomenon of speculative bubbles and the consequences they create in people’s lives.

23 June 2015

Reality in a Bubble - Meconomics

Here’s a fun topic to explore – BUBBLES!!!

What do you know about blowing bubbles?
1. It’s fun
2. You blow air unto a film of soapy liquid and it starts creating a bubble
3. The more air you blow into it, the bigger the bubble becomes
3. Blow in too much air – and the bubble pops.

Bubbles exist in economics as well – they’re called ‘Speculative Bubbles’.

Here’s a definition from Investopedia (don’t worry if you don’t understand everything):

“A spike in asset values within a particular industry, commodity, or asset class.

A speculative bubble is usually caused by exaggerated expectations of future growth, price appreciation, or other events that could cause an increase in asset values. This drives trading volumes higher, and as more investors rally around the heightened expectation, buyers outnumber sellers, pushing prices beyond what an objective analysis of intrinsic value would suggest.

The bubble is not completed until prices fall back down to normalized levels; this usually involves a period of steep decline in price during which most investors panic and sell out of their investments.”
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/speculativebubble.asp#ixzz3dmyCNpUB

In the simplest terms, what is said here is: Air is put into a bubble and then the bubble bursts. What happens, is that the value of assets is inflated beyond their real value. So – you have an asset, say a house – that has a particular intrinsic value – say 3 million dollars. Through speculation, the price of the house is driven up, for instance from 3 million to 5 million dollars – but the actual value of the house doesn’t change – it’s still only actually worth 3 million dollars. The 2 million that gets added on top is just air – and the bubble bursts when the price decreases at a fast pace from 5 back to 3 million.

You can imagine how these bubbles can create economic disasters – because in the end, economics is about sustaining lives. When you don’t know whether the ground you’re walking on is real or could collapse any moment, you’re working with instability and uncertainty, which at the moment are two words that are embedded in our economic system, partly due to the nature of these speculative bubbles.

To give you an idea of the far-reaching consequences these bubbles can have, just think of the recent financial crisis. Greece was herein the unfortunate ‘posterchild’.  On the 17th of June the Debt Truth Commission, set up to investigate the truth about the Greek debt, presented their preliminary findings to parliament. I suggest you read through the entire article (http://cadtm.org/Summary-of-the-first-day-of-the), but for the purpose of this post, specifically read the following paragraph:

“The scientific coordinator recounted the history of the Greek debt in a way that has not been done by the mainstream medias during the last five years: “We realised that the usual explanations of a disastrous state of public finances were not confirmed”; he said. A strict analysis of the facts and the figures has allowed the commission to look at past events differently. As from the moment that Greece entered the Eurozone private capital rushed into Greece where it earned high yields. Wherever capital converges speculative bubbles are created! We have the figures that prove this happened: between 2001 and 2009 household loans increased sevenfold and small business loans increased fourfold, while State loans only increased by 20%. At end of the 2000s the finances that were suffering were heavily indebted private finances not State finances.”
http://cadtm.org/Summary-of-the-first-day-of-the

Speculative bubbles were right at the center of the on-set of economic instability in Greece – this instability rapidly escalating and spiraling out into these disastrous consequences:

“• –– Vicious circle of recession.The continuous drop in GDP, in 2011 surpassing the historical maximum for the entire postwar period, led to a rapid reduction in domestic demand. Lower production led to dismissals and the loss of thousands of jobs, further amplifying recession.

• –– Unemployment had already more than doubled within the first three years of austerity and reached 25.4 percent in August 2012. More than half of the population between 15–24 years old is unemployed (57 percent; Eurostat 2012), while thousands of jobs have been lost under conditions of insufficient social protection. Given the continuation of the crisis, the new unemployed become the chronic unemployed.

• –– Rapid labor deterioration, as shown by the increase of precarious and uninsured work, insecurity, degrading payments, weakening of labour rights, and deregulation of labour agreements.

• –– Strangling of the lower middle class, traditionally consisting of small and medium sized enterprises. A great number of such enterprises (family-owned or not) were unable to survive declining consumption, lack of liquidity, and emergency taxes. More than 65,000 of them closed down in 2010 alone, resulting in a “clearance” of such enterprises and disaffecting the people dependent on them.

• –– Migration of younger, highly educated people has risen (“brain drain”), while those studying and living abroad are discouraged to return to Greece, and those who previously would have stayed, are now leaving.

• –– Homelessness increased by 25 percent from 2009 to 2011. Along with the pre-crisis and “hidden” immigrant homelessness, a generation of “neohomeless” now exists who include those with medium or higher educational backgrounds who previously belonged to the social middle.

• –– Suicides hit record levels, increasing by 25 percent from 2009 to 2010 and by an additional 40 percent from 2010 to 2011.

• –– Deterioration of public health evidenced by reduced access to health care services and an increase of 52 percent in HIV infections from 2010 to 2011. Drug prevention centers and psychiatric clinics have closed down due to budget cuts.

To this, one could also add a worrying political impact – that a country with a traditionally weak far right now has one of the largest organised Neo-nazi movements in Europe. In the 2015 legislative elections the ‘Golden Dawn’ secured third place in the popular vote.”
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-greek-economic-crisis-the-social-impacts-of-austerity-debunking-the-myths/5431010

So – perhaps economic bubbles are not as fun as the bubbles you blow as a child. But what about the bubbles we blow in our daily lives – what do economic bubbles have to show us about the human condition? That’s what I’ll explore in posts to come. After all – the economic system is a human creation – created in our image and likeness.

16 June 2015

The Humpty-Dumpty Effect - Meconomics

This post is a continuation to:

Meconomics: I need my Wants and Want my Needs to be Satisfied
Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living
Meconomics: Do you Spend your Money Objectively or Subjectively?
Meconomics: Can you Buy Happiness?


In the previous post we started looking at why and how it is that we can experience certain wants as a ‘need’ or a ‘must have’, where we looked at the role of expectations:

“Realistic expectations of fulfilling a want stand in direct relation to the actual properties and functions of your want. If you like the taste of coffee, then you will enjoy drinking that cup of coffee and coffee has the characteristic and property of keeping you awake and more focused for a little while – those expectations stand in direct relation to your want, which is coffee. Acceptance however, is not directly related to a smartphone – it’s not within its power to give that to you. When you buy a smartphone, what you will get is a smartphone – acceptance is not really part of the package.

It is when we have such unrealistic expectations of fulfilling a particular want – that the experience of ‘want’ can be experienced as a ‘need’ or a ‘must have’.”

There’s many things we feel we are lacking, not on a physical level, but on a… let’s call it ‘beingness-level’ – be it acceptance, freedom, passion, intimacy, happiness, etc. Those are things we cannot buy and that we cannot even get from something or someone else – they cannot be ‘acquired’ or ‘given to us’. They are things we have to give to ourselves and that we inherently feel ‘should already be part of ourselves’. So, when we feel we are lacking them, it’s like we’re not complete as a being, as a person. If you add to that a shiny new smartphone that you wrongfully believe will give you, for instance, ‘acceptance’ – you have the perfect recipe for a very strong urge and desire to go out and get that smartphone.

Most of the time we take our desires for granted – “I feel I want it, therefore I want it”, lol – when actually, it’s not, for instance, the smartphone you really want, but the smartphone is representing ‘acceptance’ to you. So – on a conscious level, all you’ll feel and be aware of, is a strong urge to get that smartphone, where you probably don’t really understand why the urge is so strong and maybe you will give yourself reasons by summing up the specs and telling yourself how good of a phone it is, but the underlying reason is missed. You might even try to tell yourself you don’t need the smartphone, and give yourself all the rational reasons why you should and can wait – but damn, that urge is still there – it just doesn’t go away – and what’s more, it’s building!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but when positive energetic experiences, like desire, are very strong and keep building and are not ‘moving out’ – it can become quite uncomfortable. There are sayings like ‘I love you so much it hurts’ – well it’s kind of like that. No matter if the original experience was ‘positive’ – like desire or love – if it just keeps building inside you and you don’t know how to give it direction – it becomes uncomfortable, sometimes even feels like emotional ‘torture’. And it’s there that the want will start feeling like a need – because pain and discomfort is how needs make themselves known.

In the end – the reason why we can mistake a want for a need is because we’re not really aware of ourselves and we accept any impulse or experience at face value. Somehow we don’t know or forget that we actually have the ability to look at a want and go: okay, what are my expectations here? Are they realistic? If they are not realistic, we can look at what it is we expect to ‘gain’ from our purchase (say freedom, acceptance, etc) that we should actually be giving to ourselves – then how do I give that to myself? How do I create that in my life? Once you see how this works, and start applying this reasoning – you’ll see you can direct your wants and your inner experiences quite easily. So long as you ‘remain in the dark’, you’re powerless and at the mercy of what your experiences dictate and you can become quite a dysfunctional human being. Take the example of addictions, what are they but an extreme form of the confusion between wants and needs?

I started this series to investigate the cornerstone of economic theory: the economic problem of satisfying ‘unlimited wants and needs’ in a world with limited resources. To determine whose wants and needs will be satisfied, purchasing power is used as the criterion. I zoomed in on the fact that ‘wants and needs’ are treated as one concept with the same characteristics, when actually needs are limited and so we could at least start with satisfying everyone’s needs and then afterwards design a system that determines whose wants will be satisfied. Since the concepts ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ are used in such a sloppy way in economic theory, I wondered if the same is true on a personal level – applying the principle ‘as above, so below’.

So what is the conclusion? Lol – I think it’s clear those two little words ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ can create quite a bit of havoc in our personal life if the distinction isn’t clear and we don’t look further than the tip of our nose. It’s no wonder we have failed to eradicate poverty so far. And yet, maybe that is all that is required – or at least it is a start – to clearly define the words ‘want’ and ‘need’ for yourself and begin to approach ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ appropriately in your own life. It is one way to start taking responsibility for the ineptitude with which we’ve been attempting to confront global economic problems. If we can address wants and needs effectively in our own life, then we can do the same on a large scale – first making sure everyone’s needs are met and then we can start looking at how to satisfy desires.

A political and economic proposal was designed with this purpose in mind – the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal by the Equal Life Foundation. Please share and create awareness on this proposal, because it simply is not acceptable that millions suffer just because two words are not clearly defined in our dictionary.

04 June 2015

Meconomics: Can you Buy Happiness?

This post is a continuation to:

Meconomics: I need my Wants and Want my Needs to be Satisfied
Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living 
Meconomics: Do you Spend your Money Objectively or Subjectively?
 


I ended off my previous post with the following:

“So – we have looked at how wants can in a moment override a need – where we identified subjective experiences and time as important players – but we can look a bit further and ask: why does it sometimes feel like we ‘NEEEED’ the things that we ACTUALLY don’t need. Objectively speaking – they are wants, things you can go without – and yet, you can experience a sense of ‘urgency’ and ‘must have’ and ‘I need it’ towards that which you want. Now wants really start messing with your sense of priority, lol. It’s one thing to be clear on the fact that what you are enticed by in a moment is not something you truly need, but you want to indulge yourself anyway – it’s another to feel like you actually NEED it when you don’t.”

Let’s do an exercise: search for one of those moments in your memory – a moment where: you felt that you absolutely NEEDED to have something, where, if you look back at it now, you didn’t ACTUALLY really need it, but you wanted it so bad that it FELT like you needed it. Now zoom in to the actual experience of need and ask yourself the following: were you experiencing physical discomfort? Were you deprived of something on a physical level, which needed replenishing to ensure you remain functional in your body? Were you in physical danger?

You’ll see that the answers to those questions are ‘no’ – because the apparent ‘need’ was not experienced on a physical level – it was instead experienced on an ENERGETIC/ EMOTIONAL level – where we feel we are being emotionally tortured so long as we don’t go and buy whatever it is we’ve now fixated on wanting to get. If those are not actual, physical, genuine needs, then what are they?

Here we need to actually look at different types of wants or desires. And more specifically – how realistic our expectations are of fulfilling these wants and desires. See – you can want to have a cup of coffee, because you expect that for a moment you’ll really enjoy drinking that coffee and it might assist you being more focused and awake for a short period of time – and when actually having that coffee – that’s exactly what you’re experiencing and what happens. That would be a want with realistic expectations. A want with unrealistic expectations, would be for instance if you want to buy the newest smart-phone because you think your friends will accept you if you keep up with the latest tech trends. What you actually want here, or expect to gain – is acceptance – that is the underlying want you are looking to fulfil. Now smartphones can increasingly do very impressive stuff – but giving you acceptance in yourself and your life is a huge and unrealistic responsibility to place on any phone. Realistic expectations of fulfilling a want stand in direct relation to the actual properties and functions of your want. If you like the taste of coffee, then you will enjoy drinking that cup of coffee and coffee has the characteristic and property of keeping you awake and more focused for a little while – those expectations stand in direct relation to your want, which is coffee. Acceptance however, is not directly related to a smartphone – it’s not within its power to give that to you. When you buy a smartphone, what you will get is a smartphone – acceptance is not part of the package.

It is when we have such unrealistic expectations of fulfilling a particular want – that the experience of ‘want’ can be experienced as a ‘need’ or a ‘must have’. And this is known by the marketing industry and is deliberately used within advertising strategies. I watched a series the other day where one of the characters, who was a car salesman said: “I don’t sell cars, I sell freedom”. As an exercise for yourself, you can look at advertisement and try to see what unrealistic expectation they are trying to create within their viewers – and as a fun challenge within that: try to see how many products apparently will give you passionate sex, lol – advertisements of all kinds of products, from soft drinks, to cars, to perfumes – implicitly play on the desire and urge for sex to sell their products for them. 

So what is it about those wants where we have unrealistic expectations, that we would experience them as a ‘need’?

I’ll continue exploring this topic in my next post.

30 May 2015

Meconomics: Do you Spend your Money Objectively or Subjectively?

This post is a continuation to:

Meconomics: I need my Wants and Want my Needs to be Satisfied
Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living

In my previous post I started looking at how wants and needs are confused in our daily living. Needs would be the things you cannot go without and so, common sensically, they would be your priority when deciding what to spend your money on. Wants are things you can go without, but you would prefer not to. Often we lose sight of this distinction – where we will forget about or compromise on our needs to fulfil a want. Then we looked at the following:

“Most of the time, we don’t feel needs or are even aware of our needs, it is only when we lack our basic needs that we suddenly start being affected by them, first on a physical level – and if we see we can’t satisfy our needs, we’ll go into anxiety, stress and survival-mode. But when our needs are being met – they are ‘silent’ and go unnoticed, we feel they don’t really ‘add’ anything to our lives, because we have taken them for granted as just being a part of our daily living.

Desires on the other hand – do give us an energetic thrill or rush. We feel better thinking about our desires and fulfilling/satisfying them, we look forward to fulfilling them, they occupy our minds and lead us to daydreaming, they make us feel hopeful that we/our lives will be better once we satisfy them.”

We’ve been hardwired to lean towards positive experiences, so with the insight that we’ve given wants a positive connotation and needs a negative or neutral connotation – it is easy to see how we can experience wants as an overriding factor on a subjective level. Objectively – we can all quite easily understand that needs come before wants and that satisfying wants is secondary to satisfying needs – but on a subjective level – the level where energetic experiences, emotions and feelings determine what we value and think is important – the opposite is true: wants are more interesting, because they ‘give us’ more pleasant experiences than needs.

So – the problem doesn’t seem to be our rational understanding of needs and wants – but rather that our subjective experiences can in a moment cloud what is most important. A person can for instance make a budget plan, intending to have sufficient funds set aside to pay off bills throughout the month in consideration and understanding of the importance of doing so and the consequences of not doing so – and yet, can in a moment indulge in an enticing want, that ends up compromising the person's available funds at the end of the month. Because in that one moment – when the desire is experienced – the decision is influenced by the subjective experience that comes with fulfilling a want – objective rationality is denounced in the name of a feeling. Some might be able to relate to such moments more than others, as it will depend on your own relationship to your feelings and emotions  - to what extent you place value in them / to what extend you include momentary experiences in decision making.

Here we can also highlight another dimension that plays a role in deciding what to spend your money on – which is: time. Objectively – we know that if we don’t plan ahead to ensure we have enough funds to cover our needs – be it certain or uncertain ones (for instance, having savings for unexpected medical emergencies) – we will come to a point in time where we will not have enough and be in trouble. Yet – subjectively – short-term gratification can override long-term satisfaction – where we will be willing to ‘risk’ not having enough funds later on, to be able to indulge in a satisfying a want in the present moment. This often goes hand in hand with an idea that there is ‘time’ to figure things out and find another solution for the problem we are about to create later down the line – and also, unfortunately, often goes hand in hand with regret when we get to that later moment and realize: we got something we desired in that moment, but didn’t actually have alternatives/magical solutions to sort out/generate other funds to cover the need.

So – we have looked at how wants can in a moment override a need – where we identified subjective experiences and time as important players – but we can look a bit further and ask: why does it sometimes feel like we ‘NEEEED’ the things that we ACTUALLY don’t need. Objectively speaking – they are wants, things you can go without – and yet, you can experience a sense of ‘urgency’ and ‘must have’ and ‘I need it’ towards that which you want. Now wants really start messing with your sense of priority, lol. It’s one thing to be clear on the fact that what you are enticed by in a moment is not something you truly need, but you want to indulge yourself anyway – it’s another to feel like you actually NEED it when you don’t.

Let’s look at that dimension more closely in the next post.

20 May 2015

Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living

This blogpost is a continuous to:

Meconomics: I need my Wants and Want my Needs to be Satisfied

To gain context on 'Meconomics', read and watch:

"Meconomics": ME-Economics
[83] Introducing Meconomics

In my previous blog I wrote about the word ‘wants’ and the word ‘needs’ and how, in economic theory, the two words started merging together into ‘wants&needs’ – treating both words as though they have the same properties and characteristics – as well as how this new merged term was then used as a justification for ineffective distribution processes in our capitalistic economic model wherein some people’s needs are not being satisfied, whereas others can satisfy virtually all their wants and desires.

In this post we’re going to apply the principle ‘as above, so below’ – keeping in mind that the economic model is a human creation – built in the image and likeness of its creator – it is worthwhile finding out where within ourselves we confuse the terms ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ in our daily living.

Have you ever been in a situation where, you realize you need to pay a water or electricity bill, but realize you’re out of funds, because you bought something in the last few weeks that you really wanted, and kind of forgot to keep money aside for these essential expenses?

Or have you ever been in a situation where you learned about a new product or gadget, like a new playstation, iphone, cooking utensil – you name it – where you just couldn’t get it out of your mind and felt you ‘had to get it’ and would feel kind of restless until the moment you bought it?

Or have you ever postponed studying for an exam, and a few days before the exam date, suddenly realized you spent most of your time on entertainment, going out with friends, watching movies or partying?

How does that happen? How come we don’t prioritize our needs over our wants?

That is actually something you can answer for yourself, have a look:

How often do you get excited over the idea that you will continue to have electricity in your house?
How often are you exhilarated by merely thinking about eating your sandwich in the cafeteria during your lunch break?
How many of your days are filled thinking about the new plain dark blue socks you’re going to buy because most of your current ones are worn out – where you enter a daydream and feel so absolutely excited and fulfilled imagining buying those new socks?

For most of us – that doesn’t really happen. For most of us – our needs are ‘boring’. Fulfilling our needs forms part of the basic support that we have and give ourselves, but they don’t give us a ‘thrill’, they don’t make us ‘ecstatic’, they don’t even get us excited. A need is not something you ‘feel’ on an energetic level – they don’t make themselves known through a rush. Rather – a need will make itself known through physical discomfort: hunger shows you a need for food, painful feet shows you a need for new shoes, the discomfort of taking showers in ice cold water shows us the need to pay our electricity bill. Needs make themselves known through ‘negative’ physical experiences.

Most of the time, we don’t feel needs or are even aware of our needs, it is only when we lack our basic needs that we suddenly start being affected by them, first on a physical level – and if we see we can’t satisfy our needs, we’ll go into anxiety, stress and survival-mode. But when our needs are being met – they are ‘silent’ and go unnoticed, we feel they don’t really ‘add’ anything to our lives, because we have taken them for granted as just being a part of our daily living.

Desires on the other hand – do give us an energetic thrill or rush. We feel better thinking about our desires and fulfilling/satisfying them, we look forward to fulfilling them, they occupy our minds and lead us to daydreaming, they make us feel hopeful that we/our lives will be better once we satisfy them.

I’ll continue opening up this point in my next post – stay tuned…