Charles Eisenstein and Sacred Economics
It was many years ago that I first heard of Charles Eisenstein. He wrote a piece on the Economics of Frementation back in 2006, and a couple years ago his book Sacred Economics was published. Of course that title is so close to my own work of Spiritual Economics that I immediately wanted to see what he had written. Going to his website I found his book online and glanced through the chapter titles. I saw a lot about to currencies and concluded that this was another book written about the problems of currencies without offering anything about the solution. Immediately I lost interest as I was not interested in reading anything more that simply described the problems.
Well, on October 29 I was in Amsterdam speaking about Spiritual Economics and I learned from a friend that Eisenstein was speaking there. We took the opportunity to hear him speak.
He talked about the culture of ownership, the culture of money, how money affects our relationships with each other and with the earth. He spoke about current changes in people’s relationship with money. He spoke about the relationship of money economy and the environment, and he spoke about the gift economy. To be honest, what I heard sounded a lot like my presentations, not to take anything away from him though. My point is that his Sacred Economics is very close to Spiritual Economics. Granted our approach is different, and some of the details are obviously different, but the basic conclusion is the same—that we can change this world by living according to our values of love and giving instead of living according to the ways of taking given to us by the money powers. That living by giving is the process that can make our own lives rich beyond measure, while at the same time easily solve the economic problems—simply because there can be no economic problem in a gift economy. Neither is there a loneliness problem, a boredom problem, or an alienation problem.
Charles walks his talk. He asks for no speakers fee, and in fact was concerned about the fee being charged for admission. As it turned out the admission was free and Charles’ speech was his gift to the community. In return he stated that he would be happy with whatever was gifted to him by the generosity of those in attendance.
All in all I was/am very impressed with Eisenstein. He is a man of great integrity. When I returned home I had another look at his website and at the book Sacred Economics and was chagrined to find that I had focused on the wrong things in the Table of Contents, overlooking the many things that he wrote about gifting! The subtitle would have caught my notice if I had read it: “Money, Gift & Society in the Age of Transition.”
And the chapters and subheads contain such topics as: transition to the gift economy, relearning the gift culture, non-accumulation, working in the gift…and more. To say that I have changed my opinion is an understatement. I must say that I am very happy to find this kindred spirit who is teaching the same thing that I am teaching.
Here is a great video that explains the idea of his Sacred Economics. I hope that we can have such a nice presentation for Spiritual Economics one day.