On the Value of Needing One Another

Our site is brand new, and Maya and I are two experimenters just about to set sails on the ocean of experiments…

ANY feedback is very valuable at this stage. We have heartfelt reason to say thank you to everyone who has so far interacted with us regarding this new site. So… Angela, Sanja, Cattis, Sarika – yes, you are only four, so far 🙂 – THANK YOU.

Let’s now tell you something essential about our community-building initiative: we believe in spreading the word about our site person-to-person. We believe in spreading the word about it in an organic way that builds RELATIONSHIPS.

Of course, we would love for the site, and its core message, to reach out to people on a larger scale. This is in alignment with our vision for it. BUT, we don’t want that to happen at the expense of the QUALITY of relationships it builds on. We need it to be built on REAL relationships, or otherwise chances are slim that the core message of the site will be applied IN PRACTICE in our site visitors’ lives. Or, if it will be applied (or already is), it is not likely that people will come back and share their stories about it with our community.

Therefore, the way we go about building this community is by notifying people about it individually. So far, it has been a very spontaneous “as-it-happens” process. It feels really good that way; it feels like simply flowing with the site within the flow of everyday life. And, here is the essential point to be emphasized: any DIALOGUE with a site visitor thus initiated, IS what is building our community; and advances the site towards the vision for it. Just so that you know that, Sarika, Angela, Sanja, and Cattis… 🙂

For, remember, the primary capital in any gift economy is not money, it is GRATITUDE. And gratitude can only be nourished through relationships where giving/receiving takes place. THIS, one might say, is maybe the most fundamental reason why we NEED one another. We need one another so that we may feel gratitude! Or… would you feel grateful to be alive, if you were the only one here?

Human relationships is, as Charles Eisenstein points out, one of the several core values that is being severely damaged by money-as-we-know-it. His work is imbued by this understanding. Let’s pick one quote from his book The Ascent of Humanity:

“We don’t really need each other.” . . . What better description could there be of the loss of community in today’s world? We don’t really need each other. We don’t need to know the person who grows, ships, and processes our food, makes our clothing, builds our house, creates our music, makes or fixes our car; we don’t even need to know the person who takes care of our babies while we are at work. We are dependent on the role, but only incidentally on the person fulfilling that role. Whatever it is, we can just pay someone to do it (or pay someone else to do it) as long as we have money. And how do we get money? By performing some other specialized role that, more likely than not, amounts to someone paying us to do something for them…

The necessities of life have been given over to specialists, leaving us with nothing meaningful to do (outside our own area of expertise) but to entertain ourselves. Meanwhile, whatever functions of daily living that remain to us are mostly solitary functions: driving places, buying things, paying bills, cooking convenience foods, doing housework. None of these demand the help of neighbors, relatives, or friends. We wish we were closer to our neighbors; we think of ourselves as friendly people who would gladly help them. But there is little to help them with. In our house-boxes, we are self-sufficient. Or rather, we are self-sufficient in relation to the people we know but dependent as never before on total strangers living thousands of miles away.

In the vein of this quote, we hereby declare that we’re VERY HAPPY that we NEED YOU. It is our RELATING with all of YOU that builds our site and community.

With love,

Maya and Shanto

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