Connection and Community
What’s Money Got to Do With It?
To say, all writers come to Medium to make money, is one heck of a sweeping generalisation ! (Kristy Lynn, ‘I Wrote on Medium for One Year and This is What I Learnt). There are in fact, a lot of articles on Medium singing from the same hymn book. Not Kristy Lynn, but others are writing repeatedly about how to drum up ideas for writing, how to drum up views etc etc, all with the view of the Holy Grail, what’s become the First Commandmant of Market Fundamentalism: Make Money, or ‘Turn Your Time, Into Money.
Yes, in the capitalist, Western-imperialism’s resource-chomping world order, in which each person’s worth is calculated by how much we earn and what we possess, with the endless repetitions of this manta, we can get misaligned from our true purpose and deep needs.
We were taken away from self-sufficiency within communal forms of living, and pushed into industrialisation and concomitantly, the atomisation of life. In being forced to leave villages, due to the capture of the commons by the self-serving ‘landowners/aristocrats’, people lost touch with their communities of birth, and individualism and the nuclear family were promoted.
Then, with compulsory education, came enforced patterns of competition inculcated in children. Your loss, becomes my gain was the wedge driven deep into friendship, and so from school grades to jobs and promotions, the badges of wage slavery, where we exchange parcels of our life’s time, for money became encoded as the norm. Yes indeed, we cannot exist without food, warmth, shelter, and the world has got structured in such a way that few of us can live, ‘off the grid’. We must pay the bills for necessities like water and heating, since the elites organised society in such a way that we cannot get water from a communl wll, or wood from a replenishng forest.
So we are billed for the necessities oflife, the bills that get racked up, to buy these ‘commodities’. But truly, our material wants do compose, the ‘bare necessities of life’.
To make life really worth living as human fully being, we need a sense of belongingness, of community, of feeling that our life’s breath is part of the circle of Life, that we in receiving, also are giving.
So, no… my purpose here on Medium is not to make money, (though if some were to come my way, I won’t complain!). I must suppose there will be others too, who see their writing more as a means of giving voice to the less-heard stories, or because they enjoy writing and sharing their observations, and engaging with others... connecting with others and building a sense of belonging within a community matters hugely, especially for those of us, like myself, isolated in enclaves of relationships which we did not necessarily choose, but which ties of blood have forged....
So indeed, in the face of every kind of persuation, money is not the ONLY motivation, for EVERYONE in this capitalist controlled world! We are so enmeshed in this thinking that we have forgotten that, in the long arc of human experience, the mantras of White-dominant society such as, ‘time is money’ or bare-faced questions like, ‘what’s your worth’, are of relatively new purveyance.
As Marley K. describes in her brilliantly insightful essay, https://marleyk.medium.com/all-white-people-in-america-are-on-trial-with-derek-chauvin-2adad02dea22 white people in general, have a blind spot in terms of an individualism that denies the benefits accruing to each white person, belonging to a community. On a conscious level, white people too often, bow only to their own ego, on the altar of Individualism (which so easily and so often, transmogrifies into a nasty narcissism) and the worshipping of money that goes hand in hand with it. People of colour however, as Marley K. points out, are much more likely to define themselves and be defined, as part of a collective. But a collective, while giving comfort and sustenance on an existential level, material and emotional level, can also, be limiting to the point of suffocation.
I think what I am really trying to express is that, thanks to the internet and websites such as Medium, we can share experiences and build community beyond the limitations of our specific location in time and space. And that is hugely liberating. As case in point, I have never met Marley K. nor Kristy Lynn, but through engaging with their words and ideas, I have gained much clarity about my life situation here in the U.K and also, a sense of connection. This is truly priceless !