52 Books - Book 26
Charles Eisenstein is a philosopher and author of Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and the Age of Transition. What is the role of money in your life and business?
Eisenstein invites us to consider a vision of a return to an economy based on gift giving rather than an economy that is about servicing debt. This vision is an expression of our nature as humans who are aware of the abundance around us and express gratitude in the form of gifts.
Two actions I considered by reading the book include:
1. Re frame my thinking about greed. We blame greed as a "the root" of all our problems. He invites us to consider greed as a symptom of a deeper misconception. The misconception that we live in a world of scarcity. Like all symptoms, greed can be the beginning of transformation.
2. Make do with more. Eisenstein disagrees with environmentalists who say we are going to have to make do with less. He writes:
"In fact we are going to make do with more: More beauty, more community, more fulfillment, more art, more music, material objects that are fewer in number but superior in utility and aesthetics."
Personally, I appreciate the perspective of being in a state of transition and seeing our ills as symptoms of deeper problems. I found the message hopeful. However, the vision that is so eloquently stated about making do with more, feels difficult for me to maintain. It is clear for a moment and then I get immersed in a mindset of scarcity and the vision slips from my awareness.
This experience of a ghost like-vision, being clear at one moment in time and then quickly fading away as the mundane details of our lives take up space, is a challenge. This is the true work of a leader. No matter what our vision might be, anyone who applies the leadership process will face this obstacle when he or she is creating a new reality.
Current reality is like an ocean in which we are immersed. Occasionally we look up to the surface and see that there is another reality. Then we get busy swimming along and feeding off the bottom of the ocean to survive. We think that is our job. We are afraid there are only so many fish to eat so we keep hunting and eating fish. Each time we use our imagination, we are looking up as the sun streams full force into the water in which we swim. Soon a cloud passes over and we go back to swimming and feeding off the bottom of the ocean.
To overcome this challenge, we need to develop our superpower of x-ray vision to see through our current circumstances. As we return again and again to this upward perspective, we take new actions. These new actions are joined with the actions and aspirations of others and together we reach the point of the sea actually changing and new current reality matches what we envisioned all along.
By writing this book, Eisenstein projected a vision that we can choose to see. As we see it again and again and use our influence to share the vision with others, we help to bring about a new reality.
What do you think, might you consider the idea of money being a gift and living a life of more beauty and more community? If you have read Eisenstein's works, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me a tweet about your vision or upward perspective.
Every week during 2014 I look forward to sharing books that I am reading. The lens of the leadership process will be the filter for which I recommend books. Books are powerful vehicles for providing us with inspiration and new ideas.