Living with no money

 

 

 

It’s half past nine a.m.. I am back from my early morning rounds. I stopped in front of the senior centre, watching the expressions of those retired people engaged in outdoor games. Bowls, cards, morra. By now they will have already gone back inside to shelter from the heat. However, they were totally absorbed in the game, as if they had overcome the concept of time, and that of their numb bodies. Despite their low pensions and ailments. The intimate solitudes and the tiredness of life. I remained there to fix them on the side-lines, impressed and a little envious. Then, I walked home.

Now I sit in front of the computer screen. It’s already an oppressive sunny day outside. Checking old notes, while heath and mugginess make bad company.

A couple of years ago, two initiatives related to exchange were born. Today, I do not know how did it end with that supermarket in Naples, where buyers could shop with a card. At the time of payment, their bill was switched in hours to be spent at the social services. Each one for the time they could give and according to what they could do.

I also remember that  bookshop in Bologna, where books were not sold, instead they were given free for the culture to circulate. The project lived with the donations of the readers and I too sent them some of my books. I hope they are still in business and it is not just for my books.

In my personal utopia, that consists on the hypothesis of living without working, these events are comparable to the moon landing. Let’s face it: every utopist is a great theorist, but also a naive, in some cases a lazy bugger, a comedian, and above all (I speak personally), alas, a big idiot. However, I am not so naive not to consider that the first obstacle to such initiatives is man himself. The problem is not represented by the human being as the keeper of an evil force: to oppose a society that must produce surplus and whose exclusive purpose is the revenue, disguised as collective well-being, is a titanic challenge. It requires the sacrifice of one (or -generally- of) life. Convenience and opportunism usually suggest adapting.

Analysis

Apart from everything, these initiatives, in a system based on wild consumerism, offer another model of analysis: existence based on forms different from money, and also different forms of interests.

What would become of everyone’s available time? What destiny for those who consider their professional role as a human and social meter?

The solution is in the problem given. Working on oneself – on a model of a new individual (or old, after all, bartering is nothing but recycling) – it is not simple, but it constitutes the primary node. To be or not to be? To have and not to have? Have or be?

The impracticability

Reviewing values, goals and ideals rooted in decades is something illogical. Some would argue, not wrongly, that various attempts at society have already been shipwrecked in 1970, like the Communes, and that these are my elucubrations that would simply undermine the only one really possible life system: the existing one. Actually, the evolution of the society that began with the first industrial revolution (1750) and developed with the second (1870).

After the ’70s (1970), in parallel with the decline of alternative experiences, there begun the process of what is called the third industrial revolution, with the use of electricity, the development of telecommunications and, later on, of the digital age. In short, we live in the most advanced era. What to take again?

The rearguard battle

Luciano Bianciardi would have called them rearguard battles. Every government that settles (or insinuates itself?) has to deal with the employment problem and creating jobs. A large majority would consider it a joke said only for the sake of making a headline, since intervening at the root, banishing work and money, would eliminate the issue, obliging everyone to reconsider the existence itself and its whole carousel.

Sons of an old song

It’s eleven o’clock in the morning and I gave birth to this article. No, I did not smoke weed and neither I drank. It must be the heat, yes, that makes me vain, because looking at the flowing river, only a trauma, a natural phenomenon, or an ache, can shake you.

I sit in front of the computer screen. I think back to the elders who played at the senior centre. I am past fifty and I learn from the social that in a few days it will be my birthday. I laugh because the song I’m listening to has a text that goes well with these lines of mine, even if there is always something that jars. It is called Under the sign of Pisces and I was born in July, a Cancer. The fact is that existence flies away and I believe only the illusion of a presumed happiness remains. In the end you would tell me, deep down, from inside this system, that you are really happy?

 

 


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