Mark Boyle wanted to know if he could live without money for a year. His experiment turned into a three year exploration that brought him closer to the land, to others and himself. He discovered that removing money from the equation transformed the way he viewed and interacted with his environment:
More than anything else, I discovered that my security no longer lay in my bank account, but in the strength of my relationships with the people, plants and animals around me. My character replaced sterling as my currency. If I acted selfishly or without care for those around me, then in the medium-term my ability to meet my own economic needs would diminish. My moneyless economy was one in which helpfulness, generosity and solidarity were rewarded.
I include here a link to the full article, which includes a short video. Mark has also written a book about his experiences called Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi.
Living Without Money: What I Learned
With little idea of what I was to expect, or how I was to go about it, seven years ago I began living without money. Originally intended as a one-year experiment in ecological living, I wanted to explore how it felt as a human being to live without the trappings and security that money had long-since afforded me. While terrifying and tough to begin with, by the end of the first year I somehow found myself more content, healthier and at peace than I had ever been. And although three years later I made a difficult decision to re-enter the monetary world – to establish projects that would enable others to loosen the grip that money has on their lives – I took from it many lessons that have changed my life forever.
For the first time I experienced how connected and interdependent I was on the people and natural world around me, something I had previously only intellectualised. It is not until you become physically aware of how your own health is entirely reliant on the health of the great web of life, that ideas such as deep ecology absorb themselves into your arteries, sinews and bones.
If the air that filled my lungs became polluted, if the nutrients in the soil that produced my food became depleted, or if the spring water which made up 60% of my body became poisoned, my own health would suffer accordingly. This seems like common sense, but you wouldn’t think so by observing the way we treat the natural world today. Over time, even the boundaries of what I considered to be “I” became less and less clear.
What I took from this was that if we want to secure the long-term health of ourselves and future generations of life, we need to start defending these ecological systems with the same fierceness and determination as we would an attack on our own body, an idea I explore in my new book, Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi. While we may be able to detach ourselves from the spiralling instances of ecocide that we are now used to hearing about on a regular basis – after all, it tends to be distant and sometimes abstract things that are under threat, and nothing so concrete as our own bodily sovereignty – these attacks are, in the long run, no less serious…Read more.