It’s fine (and fun for some) to talk about future technologies, planned future mega-cities, energy systems, transportation systems, water producing systems and the like, when contemplating transitioning to the RBE. But if you’re really wanting the RBE to become your reality, you’re going to have to start focusing on changing people.
Technology is not going to make the transition happen. Psychological change within a critical mass of humanity will. In a The Young Turks interview, Peter Joseph talks about how the transition must take place within each person. He says “When you talk about [the transition] literally, it’s the change of the human being, the change of you and I”. Peter’s quote is interesting to me. One, because he’s 100 percent correct. It’s also interesting to me because I have yet to see a comprehensive transition plan producing the kinds of personal changes similar to what is happening with the Copiosis RBE Transition Plan.
Sure, there are lots of people encouraging ecovillages, community gardens and personal behavior changes. But those approaches, in my opinion are preaching to the choir: The people participating in these projects are young, idealistic, and interested in lifestyles and values aligned with such practices. They are not, in my opinion, representative of the people we need to reach to make the transition happen.
It’s ok to preach to the choir. I’m doing that in this post. To make the RBE a reality though, we’re going to have to reach people who have no idea what the RBE is and no interest in finding out. We’re going to have to reach people who are apathetic to the RBE. We also must reach people in denial that we need a RBE.
The Copiosis RBE Transition Plan is effective at reaching both.
What Peter is referring to in my opinion are deep personal changes, changes which cause a paradigm shift born of hope. In our world, that hope must come from realizing there are practical solutions to problems blocking our path from capitalism to something better. Without such solutions, none of the apathetic/in denial majority – the people who have to “see it to believe it” – will support our work. I believe changes must include coming face-to-face with one’s conditioning, conditioning from having lived in capitalism all one’s life. It must also include a realization that there is another possible way of living, one that allows a remarkable – but well thought-out – alternative.
What’s fascinating is, the Copiosis RBE Transition Plan is producing exactly these kinds of results. We don’t focus on future technologies. We believe technological advancement will take care of itself. Instead, we focus on changing people’s perspectives. Not by convincing them with words and pictures and movies, but by creating demonstration projects where they can see and feel the difference between living in capitalism and living in a future where earning a living is no longer necessary and you get all your basic necessities at no cost.
Here’s an interesting conversation that happened just back in December. It’s indicative of the kind of deep, personal changes, changes I call “psycho-emotional-social shifts” that happen when people take part in our demonstration projects.
Erica lives in Chico and is a participant in the demonstration project there. My partner Bridget and I offered our home for her as a way point between her home in Chico and Seattle where she was heading to visit her sister for Thanksgiving. We hosted her and her daughter, providing a place to sleep (in a separate, private studio building in our yard), a yummy dinner, small breakfast, and snacks. Bridget Towles thought this would be a great transaction for the Kenton project, which I agreed.
Erica, while here provided Bridget with bookkeeping services to help Bridget with her business finances. Bridget planned to pay Erica for that work in capitalist terms although that too could have been a demonstration project transaction. At a break, Erica and I went for a walk. She asked me how the transaction might work where she could trade her accounting services for the room and board as part of the Kenton demonstration project. I explained that’s not how Copiosis works. Copiosis, I said is not a barter economy, where “trades” happen. It is a gift economy. The gift of housing and food we provided came at NO COST to Erica. No cost includes no obligation to give something in return for getting something at no cost.
Erica admitted feeling very uncomfortable about that. The word she used was feeling “pain” over it. After a short talk, we discovered her pain resulted from feeling this obligation, an obligation born of the belief – a belief created by capitalism – that nothing is free and that if someone does something for you YOU MUST GIVE SOMETHING IN RETURN.
In Copiosis, the role of the consumer is to gladly, lovingly, appreciatingly RECEIVE what the producer is lovingly, gladly offering. There is no reciprocation. In return for the producer’s generous act, the producer is rewarded by society (via the payer organization) with NBR.
What both Erica and I found fascinating was how ingrained capitalism’s conditioning is. Our conditioning teaches us to feel GUILT and PAIN in receiving something for nothing, when, in fact, receiving things for nothing is the natural state existing just beneath all the artificial contrivances capitalism creates….including money. Have we forgotten what it’s like to lovingly receive? Have we been taught by the system that receiving gifts is bad, particularly if we don’t give one back? Where is the freedom in that? Where is the love and cooperation?
On a positive note, many people in our demonstration projects are having similar epiphanies, but these kinds of epiphanies result in joy and enthusiasm. Serene Love, the leader/coordinator of the permaculture project being run in the Chico project is a great example. Serene (she also goes by Mah) is very excited about what she is learning and what she is building. She is coordinating five households’ backyards, turning them into permaculture beds wherein she expects to grow enough vegetables to feed not only people living in the five households, but all the project participants. Her success has spawned more success: she now has a local private school also participating. It is certain Mah would not have started this project were it not for her participation in the Chico project.
If Mah and Erica’s example are not indications of what Peter is talking about, I don’t know what is. There are many other such examples in our fully operational projects. Such examples are also happening in our emerging projects too. Leaders of our eight new projects see potential and are excited. Nearly all of them are either TZM members, TVP members, or RBE enthusiasts. I think they see in Copiosis a way to finally do something practical in the real world to make the RBE happen. By creating and leading a demonstration project, they are, in the realist terms possible, making the RBE a reality.
All these personal changes are the kind of deep soul-searching our demonstration projects are creating. These changes are the KEY ELEMENT of any attempt to shift humanity from capitalism and money to something better. Maybe Peter would agree. Without this cultural, social, psychological, emotional shift among a critical mass of people, the kind of shift we want to see is just not possible.
The RBE begins in the hearts of people.