I collected the most most frequent questions I received about the vow of wealth. I try to answer here. Don’t hesitate to write me or to contribute directly in the comments below!
- 1 General questions
- 2 Ethical, philosophical and spiritual questions
- 2.1 How do you define wealth?
- 2.2 Can you clarify what you call Truth, Goodness and Beauty?
- 2.3 What does poverty mean then?
- 2.4 Why does the word “wealth” appears so confusing?
- 2.5 Doesn’t the vow of wealth resembles the vows of poverty that exist in many spiritual traditions? Will you become a beggar? A homeless?
- 2.6 Doesn’t this vow push you to have exclusive relationships with those who have chosen the same lifestyle?
- 3 Questions about law and Nations
- 3.1 By leaving money, don’t you basically say that you do not recognize Nation-States?
- 3.2 Does this vow implicitly declare that you do not recognize society’s right to tax its members for the communal obligation to support the roads, the health care system, social security, etc?
- 3.3 How do you pay your taxes? Do you expect that governments work with other forms than money?
- 3.4 Doesn’t this vow by implication say that you place yourself above the law?
- 3.5 Do you see any relationship between this vow, and conscientious objection to military service, or to paying taxes that go to pay for war?
- 3.6 If governments only did things you liked, like they didn’t have an army, or worked diligently and well at ending pollution, poverty, etc, would you then use money that these government issue? In other words, does your vow object to the bad things governments do?
- 3.7 Does this vow also say something about ownership? If you pay for something in another currency system, do you still feel that you own it?
- 3.8 Do you belong to, or see yourself belonging to a political movement or ideology?
- 3.9 Even in the case post-monetary technologies become successful, won’t you reproduce the same world as before?
- 3.10 Don’t you just have yet another utopian dream? And doesn’t it trigger all the same dangers of dehumanization as all other utopian and social engineering experiments?
- 4 Practical questions
- 4.1 House, car, electricity, insurance, clothing, train and plane tickets… a shortlist of the many things we access through money in our societies. How do you get these necessary things?
- 4.2 What do you do about food, an everyday need?
- 4.3 If you get sick, access to treatment requires conventional money. Would you rather not get medical support than pay?
- 4.4 Did you keep a bank account?
- 4.5 Do you accept gold or precious metals as money?
- 4.6 How do you save for retirement?
- 4.7 Does owning a stock certificate from a company, shares in a mutual fund, or bonds issued by a governmental agency look the same for you as using conventional money? Do you see them as free currencies already because various organizations issue them directly?
- 4.8 Do you no longer put a coin under your child’s pillow from the tooth fairy? 🙂
- 5 Relationship with others
- 5.1 No matter what, you access things and services that others have bought with their own conventional money! Don’t you find it hypocritical?
- 5.2 Don’t you live off your friends and supporters?
- 5.3 Assume we agree with the goal your vow aims to fulfill, haven’t you chosen an incredibly impractical, not to mention risky and extreme, way to go about getting to your goal?
- 5.4 How many people do you expect to live with post-monetary technologies?
- 5.5 Do you expect other people to take the vow of wealth?
- 6 Your work
- 7 More personal questions
- 7.1 Are you really going to get rid of everything you have?
- 7.2 Aren’t you missing certain things?
- 7.3 How do you envision the day you definitely stop using conventional money?
- 7.4 Isn’t this vow irresponsible to your family obligations?
- 7.5 How will you pay for your child’s education?
- 7.6 Are you scared?
- 7.7 What is the main difficulty for you?
- 8 Unanswered questions
- 8.1 If the government doesn’t accept free currencies in the short term, will you try to fulfill your obligations to state in other ways?
- 8.2 Don’t legal tender laws require that you accept money as payment from someone who owes you something? In other words by taking this vow aren’t you vowing to break the law, to become a criminal?
Where does this vow come from?
This vow sprung in me in the early morning of September 7, 2009. I experienced an instant shift, like a phase transition in physics.
A long inner alchemy had operated before, linked to my research on collective intelligence and post-monetary society, combined with meditation. I see it as the combined result of an intellectual and spiritual journey.
What steps do you see for the practical application of this vow?
This vow implies that I transition from conventional money towards post-monetary technologies. Such a transition goes through many steps and faces many obstacles. Also it cannot come out of a lonely work. Only a collective move and effort will allow us to migrate towards a money-free society. I just play the role of a scout who goes exploring a little bit before the others.
What do you want to achieve?
Because of my research work on collective intelligence, I quickly understood that we can’t advocate synergy, sharing and unity on the one hand, and on the other hand we keep using a monetary system based on scarcity that stimulates competition and predation. This opened my eyes: the economy, and more particularly the monetary system on which it relies, beat at the heart of collective intelligence. My research work quickly placed me in front of this evidence that we have the capacity to create fair economic systems, controlled by civil society, transparent, plural, that represent the real economy. Only ignorance and obscurantism prevent us from doing it.
Ideas had to come into motion. On the external side, more and more people feel called to build the technical infrastructure of this new economy. On the inner journey, I don’t see how I can explore and open new paths if I don’t extract myself from the present system, at least to a certain degree, so I can see it from the outside. I don’t know any other way to understand the psychological potency that money has on human psyche, and how to free ourselves from it. Leaving money places me more and more in a vital threat in a society where we need to buy everything, including the most basic universal needs such as food and shelter. We need to pay to stay alive. Doesn’t the popular expression “to earn a living“, accepted by most people, show this absolute violence? Doesn’t it implicitly say that we don’t acquire the right to live at birth but we have to conquer it within a warmongering vision of the world? We don’t realize how much common language carries archaic ideologies that perpetuate violence and falseness.
No. I didn’t take this vow because of social activism. It came because of my inner journey, and because I love to explore.
What do you fight?
I fight against nothing and no one.
Although a good portion of society sees explorers as marginals or crazy, they don’t play against it. Explorers listen their inner call and allow them to take shape. In this sense I live an artistic life more than anything else. A life of researcher, explorer, free man.
Don’t you find it risky, unconscious, idealistic?
Exploring the unknown makes our life risky and uncertain, of course. People look at it as idealistic as long as it hasn’t become part of their collective reality, so, yes, idealism drives the process. Trials and errors provide the essential empirical learning. It serves as milestones on the path to success. Only the skeptics and those who do nothing usually point at others’ failures.
Ethical, philosophical and spiritual questions
How do you define wealth?
As expressed in the vow, I see wealth as anything that brings us closer to Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
In common language, wealth means someone who has lot’s of money. This underlines the confusion that exists between the means (money) and the goal (wealth). Money offers a mean to access certain forms of wealth, mostly in material form. Money covers only a small portion of the spectrum of wealth. How can we take it as an end? The end relies in wealth, in its deepest sense.
How can we define wealth then? Well, wealth becomes wealth simply because we acknowledge it as such.
In the material world, we encounter relative forms of wealth that only a portion of the population wants, and universal forms of wealth that every human being needs. For some, an apartment downtown represents wealth, for others a house in the countryside will do it. For some having livestock provide social status, for others it means nothing. These represent relative forms of wealth. Among universal material forms of wealth, let’s mention basic needs such as food, healthcare, a shelter, clothes, education… Interestingly, only money allow access to most of them. Other forms of wealth exist, intangible or immaterial, such as care, trust, friendship, family, self-esteem, joy, humor, listening, spiritual awakening… all these things that money will never buy.
It doesn’t matter whether we speak about a roof for a decent life, the beauty of a flower, the smile of a child, or drinkable water, wealth always come as the expression and harmony of Truth, Goodness, Beauty.
Can you clarify what you call Truth, Goodness and Beauty?
If you want to explore this question more deeply, I invite you to check the article called Integral Wealth.
Beauty refers to the creative impulse that lives in every human soul. Every human being possesses this spark, this impetus that invites him/her to manifest beauty by means of an art or a know-how. It doesn’t matter the means of expression, the level of mastery, the kind of art, the style, the canons of culture… Beauty emanates from the intimate subjective expression of the I. At the societal level, we link it to Arts.
Goodness introduces the other, the alter ego. We cannot considered something as good unless another consciousness has acknowledged it as such. The other, I mean a human being, society, nature, the universe, who expresses directly what a creation provokes inside him/her, in a verbal or non-verbal way (a tree that flourishes or withers for instance). Goodness comes from the You. At the societal level, we link it to Morals or Ethics.
Truth refers to reality principle, the external outsider differentiated from the I and the You. Reality principle works as a mirror in front of which we confront our capacities and creativity. Reality principle impartially tells the engineer if the nuclear plant can resist earthquakes or tsunamis. Reality principle provides us with harsh lessons on the consequences of our actions and choices. It operates like an external master from which we learn how to perfect our art. Truth emanates from the It. At the societal level, we link it to Sciences.
I for Beauty, You for Goodness, It for Truth. This ontological structure reflects our construct of the world, revealed by the basis of grammar.
Beauty, Goodness and Truth intertwine with one another. How can beauty exist in the face of lies? How can goodness manifest without truth? What use of truth if not infused with beauty and goodness? Beauty, Goodness and Truth operate like 3 diffracted colors coming from one same unique source of light. They compose what we name “wealth”.
What does poverty mean then?
Poverty implies the absence of wealth. It often comes from our incapacity to connect to the natural wealth that surrounds us, Truth, Goodness and Beauty.
Why does the word “wealth” appears so confusing?
Like many words, wealth creates an ambiguity because it locks us down in the materialistic part of our reality. In the common sense, being wealthy means having lot’s of money and material means. The contrary, being poor, means having no money and no material means.
I may not have any material possessions, but still might experience myself as the richest man on Earth, because of the people I love and who love me, because of the natural beauty that surrounds me, because of my health, because of my inner capacity to cultivate happiness. I could belong to the closed club of multi-billionaires and yet live as the most miserable man, surrounded by corruption, greed, cheating, superficiality, plots… Don’t you find interesting that we don’t have a real vocabulary to express what truly makes us rich or poor. Poverty and wealth perpetuate some of the most ontological jamming I know. We miss a language of wealth.
Doesn’t the vow of wealth resembles the vows of poverty that exist in many spiritual traditions? Will you become a beggar? A homeless?
The vow of poverty exists in every spiritual tradition I know. In order to develop a wider consciousness and open to the Divine, one must not entangle or distract or trap himself into material possessions. Leaving material possession leads to liberation and opens the path to true wealth.
Many confuse the vow of poverty with begging and misery. Although some spiritual practices rely on begging, most spiritual communities have built and generated incredible forms of wealth because of everyone’s contributions in the context of a gift economy. Look at monasteries, ashrams, temples, and most spiritual places: they surround themselves with astounding natural beauty, built with the finest art of their time, organized around fair economic principles. When authentic spirituality thrives, no one claims ownership on wealth. There we witness one of the deep aspects of the vow of poverty.
Today we live in a world where both material and spiritual poverty have reached peaks like never before, where consumerism and materialism became the form of poverty in industrialized countries, where people enslave one another other for miserable wages. At the same time wealth surrounds us. It exists everywhere around us if we allow it to exist inside us. We just have to expand our view. Hence this practical question: what kind of collective intelligence do we need to access, build, share and allow wealth emerge at a global level?
The vow of wealth stresses that material forms of wealth can leverage our capacity to become realized beings and realized societies, but only if we fulfil certain conditions:
that wealth doesn’t come from stealing or looting (otherwise we don’t meet Goodness);
that, on the contrary, wealth comes additive. The use we make of it benefits to others and the environment;
that, whatever wealth, we don’t consider ourselves as owners, but as trustees and stewards. Even better: as creative artists;
material wealth nourishes our joy and creativity, and vice-versa.
That said, it doesn’t matter how we call this vow – vow of wealth, vow of poverty or anything else – as long as the intention and the experience remain genuine.
Doesn’t this vow push you to have exclusive relationships with those who have chosen the same lifestyle?
Not at all. Everyone know how to practice generosity. I chose to explore the far reaches. It works only because other people manifest their generosity to me, while they keep a more conventional lifestyle. Pioneers can’t exist if a portion of society don’t support them.
Questions about law and Nations
By leaving money, don’t you basically say that you do not recognize Nation-States?
As far as my understanding and knowledge goes, modern Nation-States use constitutions as their collective ground. None of the constitutions I know stipulate that money defines citizenship. Citizens bind themselves through fundamental and universal values. The vow of wealth not only respects these agreements, but brings them to the next level by means of a greater freedom. For instance in France, how can one honor “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) in a society where conventional money triggers competition and predation? Humanity will make a great step the day when Nations respects their own constitutions. A requirement that they follow very poorly today.
On the contrary. Conventional money does not serve well the process of community contribution and solidarity because of the perverse effects built into its core (Pareto condensation, centralization, scarcity, opacity, proprietarization, etc). If we really want to honor our communal contribution, we should use appropriate technologies that sustain mutualism rather than power concentration. We have such technologies today.
Soon these technologies will kick in.
How do you pay your taxes? Do you expect that governments work with other forms than money?
I don’t pay taxes for two reasons: first, I don’t belong to the taxable category of citizens given the low amount of conventional money that I use. Second, seeing the way the State uses this money today, I don’t see myself supporting this system. That said, I give 100% of my time to the collective. If we converted it in classical money, it would likely make me a heavy taxed citizen. At last I choose where the riches I can offer go.
The day we have better technologies than money, I will become the happiest contributor. Who knows which forms of governance we will have in this moment? I know that from now on, it can lead to quite difficult situations.
Doesn’t this vow by implication say that you place yourself above the law?
We need an ontological distinction here. One single and unique word — law — exists to name superior principles and values, and to designate circumstantial choices made to regulate and mediate society (in particular by means of case law). In order to get rid of this ambiguity, let’s say Universal Laws (in capital letters) in the first case, and circumstantial laws (in small letters) in the second case.
Many circumstantial laws contradict Universal Laws. Two main reasons for this. First reason: many circumstantial laws arrived way before Universal Laws. Circumstantial laws thus carry past ideologies that don’t match with our epoch (the Napoleonic Code in France gives a good example of it). Second reason: systemic or secondary effects of a circumstantial law can provoke a result that is in contradiction with Universal Laws. This case happens precisely with conventional money. Because of Pareto condensation, it leads to an undemocratic concentration of power. This contradicts Universal Laws such as equality of opportunity and the right to the safety of the person, all of them pillars of modern Constitutions. If we refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then it contradicts articles 2, 3, 4, 17 and 25.
The vow of wealth does not contradict Universal Laws, it stands for their predominance over circumstantial laws.
Do you see any relationship between this vow, and conscientious objection to military service, or to paying taxes that go to pay for war?
Although I love peace, the vow of wealth hasn’t emerged as a response to any of today’s issues. Only my inner journey lead to practical choices, to creativity, innovation, exploration and the art of living.
That said, no one should count on me for financing violence, war and armament. Citizens today don’t have a choice.
If governments only did things you liked, like they didn’t have an army, or worked diligently and well at ending pollution, poverty, etc, would you then use money that these government issue? In other words, does your vow object to the bad things governments do?
The discipline of collective intelligence helps understand how social species — those of humanity in particular — operate like living entities, and how a currency system works exactly like DNA. We demonstrate that poverty, pollution, social disparities, exist as consequences of scarce money. Selfishness, cupidity, the drive for conquest and domination certainly belong to human psyche, but in most cases scarce money stirs them up, causing all the predatory ideologies we know.
I can hardly see how States, large organizations and society in general, will evolve towards a sustainable and virtuous future while using the conventional monetary system.
Rather than objecting, this vow means to embody another way of living, hoping that it serves better happiness and life. I couldn’t become more pragmatic.
Does this vow also say something about ownership? If you pay for something in another currency system, do you still feel that you own it?
Ownership constitutes one of the marks of fabric of pyramidal collective intelligence (the form of collective intelligence that widely prevails in modern societies). Ownership comes exclusively from a cultural origin, not a universal one as right can make us believe.
From the evolution of consciousness perspective, the sense of ownership (owning something) exists as a temporary developmental ladder of a human being, in pyramidal societies. A human who has spiritually evolved enough doesn’t feel interested in possessing something. He/she prefers to become the servant or the keeper for the next generations. Primary peoples have socially developed this level of wisdom a long time ago.
Given that ownership stands at the heart of pyramidal collective intelligence societies, most people don’t go over this stage in their personal journey, as nothing encourages them to do so. People remain entangled in the social thread of their time. Those who want to pursue the spiritual journey and walk the path to freedom realize the illusory aspect of property and possession. They become conscious of the archaic mechanisms of fear and separation that operate unconsciously under the banner of ownership.
The means we use to get to material goods influences the relationships we establish with them. Do they come from robberies, conquests, barter, purchase, loans, gifts, donations? Depending on the mean of acquisition, the fates and social dynamics attached to each object will differ wildly.
Conventional scarce money requires conquering in most cases. Each purchase, as neutral as it may seem, becomes affiliated to its origin: the conquest. This spirit of conquest, competition, proprietarization, possession, floats in the air, in the culture, to the point we don’t think about it anymore. It infuses every single transaction made with scarce money. We don’t see that anymore with the use of sufficient currencies that exist in direct proportion with our capacity to exchange (like the air we breathe, we use only what we need). As for the gift economy, it creates a dynamics that leaves all the previous flaws aside.
Therefore the very design of a currency triggers specific states of consciousness. Predatory, archaic, conquering in the case of scarce money. Open and generous in the case of sufficient currencies. Compassionate and creative in the case of technologies supporting a gift economy. The obsession of possessing torments us less in an economy of free currencies than in an economy of scarce money.
More and more people will realize how the evolution of consciousness of humanity implies the use of a new language, alive and non-Aristotelian: the language of flows. A revolution as important as the writing in its time.
Do you belong to, or see yourself belonging to a political movement or ideology?
No. Communism, capitalism, socialism, anarchism, liberalism, royalism… a long list of ideological categories that belong to pyramidal collective intelligence, to the past. They don’t make sense anymore for who has migrated towards holomidal collective intelligence.
Even in the case post-monetary technologies become successful, won’t you reproduce the same world as before?
Take a deep look at how these technologies work. Even better: contribute to their development. It will answer your question.
Danger arrives when reality doesn’t validate utopian dreams, when they don’t cope with the laws of the universe (Truth). A typical dangerous utopia arises when someone wants everyone to live in a specific way, to comply to a model. It creates an “industrialization” of one’s idea onto everyone else, hence the “-isms” from the industrial era. The famous French poet Boris Vian wrote so rightly: “What interests me is not the happiness of all men; it’s the happiness of each man“.
Those utopians who wanted to make objects heavier than air fly had to confront reality and universal laws. We know what followed.
The same confrontation with reality principle happens when we declare that civil society can conceive and control technologies that acknowledge, measure, exchange or produce wealth. We confront ourselves to a tangible reality. Indeed, doesn’t this same reality shows us how the current monetary system hits a wall? Future open technologies of wealth don’t impose anything, they offer a language to people so they can self-organize in a transparent and democratic manner.
An example illustrates this well. If I offer my child a built toy – a castle for instance – it doesn’t mean the same thing that if I offer him cubes or Legos. In the latter case he/she can infinitely create, re-create, evolve, invent more sophisticated things in an infinite way according to his/her own evolution. He/she remains free and sovereign whereas in the first case we imposed a form. This works the same with an open language of integral wealth versus money.
House, car, electricity, insurance, clothing, train and plane tickets… a shortlist of the many things we access through money in our societies. How do you get these necessary things?
Today most of these material riches come as direct gifts in my life, sometimes directly, sometimes in the form of money.
What do you do about food, an everyday need?
Food constitutes the last stronghold where I will continue to use conventional money for a certain time, in order to keep alive . I eat simply, following a vegan diet, raw for the most part when I don’t travel. This way of eating offers a good context for building harmonious relationship with local producers. Sometimes friends support me with some food. I feel so grateful!
If you get sick, access to treatment requires conventional money. Would you rather not get medical support than pay?
Let’s not forget that I do not separate myself from the society, even less from its most beautiful solidarity principles, on the contrary! If I get sick or if I have an accident I will benefit from the healthcare system and will have access to basic treatment given to low-income or income-less people. Monetary taxes finance healthcare and solidarity, I have the opinion that my own contribution to society allows me to benefit from social solidarity without any shame.
Did you keep a bank account?
No. I stepped out of the current banking and debt system.
Along with many others, I hope we will contribute to rebuilding and inspiring a good and fair infrastructure. Banks have a noble role to play in society, not as for-profit money making institutions, but as trustees of wealth and competent evaluators of risk.
Do you accept gold or precious metals as money?
No, as they represent early forms of the scarcity model. I want to use technologies that don’t create artificial scarcity.
How do you save for retirement?
I don’t believe for one moment in the durability of the current retirement system, public or private. I expect that between now and the time when I have to withdraw from the world, the monetary has evolved, leading to new forms of solidarity. Meanwhile I take the risk of ending my life resourceless.
Most of there things exist as direct derivatives and by-products of conventional money, therefore I don’t feel interested in them.
Do you no longer put a coin under your child’s pillow from the tooth fairy? 🙂
The tooth fairy also wants to evolve. She has already found lot’s of cool new ideas!
Relationship with others
No matter what, you access things and services that others have bought with their own conventional money! Don’t you find it hypocritical?
Most of the time this question comes after I shared that wealth comes to me as a gift, in a more sarcastic way. Something like “yeah, sure… don’t you think your generous donors did have to purchase these gifts for you, or hunt for the money they kindly offer you?“.
The mental plays its usual old tricks. If you think the same way, I invite you to process not in a mechanical and linear way anymore, but in an organic way. Follow the magic of life. The world changes because a few persons begin something, and that somethings grows on the soil of the old system, at least for a certain time. Do you really believe the first anti-slavery people lived 100% out of the slavery economy, right out of the blue? Entanglement with the old system doesn’t mean we don’t have to make a step. It took 1 person, then 10, then 100, then thousands and millions before the deep structure of the collective makes its transmutation.
So for now, some wealth comes as gifts in my life, I patiently play with other crazy gift economy aficionados like me around the world who want to create technologies and infrastructures that will carry this evolution. Some good news here: this community grows very quickly, some day it may not need the market economy to exist anymore.
In the longer run I want to access what I need exclusively by means of free currencies. Therefore the persons or organizations who will receive these free currencies will then have the opportunity to use them with someone else or other organizations, and so on. It is inclusive and inviting, that’s a seeding process. Many people will see the advantage it has for themselves and their community. Then comes a day when there are enough people generating enough diversity for a virtuous, sustainable and autonomous economic ecosystem. This ecosystem will embody more wisdom and more capacities than the current one.
Don’t you live off your friends and supporters?
Life weaves itself on a web of mutual support, we can’t live alone. We need our friends, our family, our neighbors, colleagues, peers, ancestors. The vow of wealth acknowledges and celebrates this fertile social soil from which we grow and that we enrich in return. I want fair relationships with my fellow brothers and sisters, based on generosity during every phase of our existence.
What difference exists between generosity and market? Market implies an immediate reciprocity: I give you this only if you give me that in return. Generosity doesn’t expect this immediate symmetry. It implies a act of trust towards the universe, and towards others. From a pragmatic point of view, the generosity economy has more power and efficiency than the market economy. But until now no one knew how to apply this principle to a large scale due to a lack of appropriate technologies made to regulate the exponential complexity it creates. Today this barrier does not exist anymore, except in our head.
So, do you see the difference between receiving $1,000 from a salary and $1,000 from a gift? Do you really think that in the first case you deserve it because of your productive work, and in the second case because you behave like a lazy parasite that lives at the expense of the others? Don’t you make gifts to people you appreciate? Do you consider them as useless and needy? I find very interesting these preconceived ideologies about utilitarism, stating what we deserve to earn or not. “Earning our living” has a very deep ground in the collective unconscious ideology of pyramidal collective intelligence. Gift economy definitely cuts off from these poisonous roots.
Hence the reason why I commit to offer – and never sell anymore – my talents and gifts. I think it is sane that, on this basis, I accept this same generosity in return, even if it doesn’t come from a reciprocal exchange.
As for living off others, the current monetary system enables 10% of the human population to live off the other 90%… So I don’t see how people immersed in the conventional monetary system can judge who lives off who.
Furthermore, the vow of wealth means to create wealth for all. It increases my capacity to contribute more than what conventional economy allows me to do.
Assume we agree with the goal your vow aims to fulfill, haven’t you chosen an incredibly impractical, not to mention risky and extreme, way to go about getting to your goal?
Explorers only come to know the level of risk they took after they took it. Until we haven’t tried, all interpretations remain possible.
From a more global perspective, I feel more risk – for myself, and mostly for the next generations – in coping with and perpetuating the current system. Somehow we face the emigrant’s dilemma: emigrating sends him/her into an uncertain and risky future, but it still remains a better choice than not moving.
That said, beyond these rational explanations, a creative call drives me at a deeper level. How can an explorer resist to the call of the open sea? 🙂
How many people do you expect to live with post-monetary technologies?
I hope that soon the whole humanity will shift to post-monetary technologies. It didn’t take much effort to predict the current economic crisis that hit today. They happen because of the inner structure of money, not because of external circumstances. This boosts the transition.
Do you expect other people to take the vow of wealth?
I have no expectations at all. This choice comes from an intimate journey.
For which organizations do you work for today?
Today with my partners I am developing CIRI – the Collective Intelligence Research Institute. This organization was founded early 2011. Today I am the President, but it won’t be the case forever.
Are you paid?
No, because the philosophy I follow is the one of generosity. However it is normal that the Institute supports me on different aspects of my life so I can continue my research work seriously.
The level of support I receive is an easy line to draw from the moral perspective. From the legal perspective this is quite touchy because any form of support towards a board member is easily considered as profit. We are currently trying to find what is the best legal setting.
How does CIRI deals with your Vow of Wealth?
For now and in the medium term, CIRI keeps operating with the world in a conventional way with conventional money. My ambition is that CIRI evolves towards free currencies as early as possible. We will proceed step by step, when the human context becomes strong and resilient enough. Our seminars already work with free currencies.
More personal questions
Are you really going to get rid of everything you have?
Almost. Except some small sentimental objects that were offered to me and that represent marks of love, I get rid of everything, step by step.
All the things I inherited are directly going to my little boy and his mom. They will decide what they want to do according to their own choices and criteria. My grand piano is also given to them, even though I keep the use of it. If someday they need to sell it, they can do it with no problem.
Today the only things left is my usual stuff: clothes and some dishes.
As for the computers and electronics, these are tools for work. They belong to the Institute.
Aren’t you missing certain things?
Yes, some, but not very much. This is part of the deal. But there are so many other gifts!
How do you envision the day you definitely stop using conventional money?
My intention is to create a rite-of-passage with my friends. Then we will see.
Isn’t this vow irresponsible to your family obligations?
The path I chose to take is also in the name of my moral and family obligations. It’s just a question of how far we see. Do we perpetuate the old system because we are stuck in short-term vision, or do we want to invest our love and energy for a greater future? I made my choice.
How will you pay for your child’s education?
As for the education of my little boy, his school, like many others, is stuck in the torments of undermonetization. Maybe the school will operate someday with free currencies. It will give quite some oxygen to grow. It will also allow me to support directly my son’s academic education.
For now a dear friend of mine has decided to pay for the school of my little boy. What a gift!
Are you scared?
On the surface, yes, sometimes a little bit. In the deepest part of my being, no.
What is the main difficulty for you?
The transition itself, which involves facing many issues. The most difficult one is facing the possible anger, judgment and misunderstanding of my close relatives.
Here I want to drop questions that have not yet received any answer. I am counting on our global collective intelligence to operate here!
If the government doesn’t accept free currencies in the short term, will you try to fulfill your obligations to state in other ways?
At this point I have no answer yet. There might be other ways to pay taxes, other agreements that are neither free currencies, nor conventional money. For instance it could come as service to the society. There are many interesting aspect in it: it doesn’t finance war and it creates social bonds.
We just have to be creative with me, because all these efforts are made for the greater good, not against the society. I hope governments will understand that people leaving the conventional monetary system are citizen explorers who deserve support and care.
Don’t legal tender laws require that you accept money as payment from someone who owes you something? In other words by taking this vow aren’t you vowing to break the law, to become a criminal?
Here’s a quick dialog with my dear friend Eric Harris-Braun:
Eric>> [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_tender] “Legal tender or forced tender is an offered payment that, by law, cannot be refused in settlement of a debt, and have the debt remain in force.” There is a section in this article on France… The law, as I understand it, forces you to take it in payment of a debt. That if someone offers you money to cancel a debt you have with them, then you have to take it. I think this may require you to never have people be “in debt” to you. Which is probably possible with free currencies. But of course the legal tender laws may be some of those laws that are against the deeper Constitutions.
JF>> We need more exploration here… There are probably subtleties between the function of measure of a legal tender applied to a debt, and how the transaction to close the debt is made, as long as the two parties are in agreement.