Because you’re Worth It!

Because you’re Worth It!

I was talking to a girl about my desire to live without money. I’m still far from money-free but am down to living comfortably on around £25-£30 a week (minus housing benefit).
“But you can’t live on that!” From her reaction you’d have thought I just told her I was paying my way by robbing banks. “I mean,” She continues, “I need fresh organic vegetables and yoga classes and…” she reels off a list of things that she believes she needs lots of money for… “And you need that too… you deserve it!”

Aaah, I see. This is about you, not me. This is similar to the kind of reaction sometimes provoked when I mention I’m vegan – immediate defensive mode and a string of arguments against my chosen way of life, often ending up with the statement, “you can’t tell other people what to do!” No, I wasn’t. Are you?

Why is it we humans so often take somebody else’s difference as a direct attack on ourselves? Is it because on some deeper level we look for sameness with others of our species and are deeply offended if we don’t find it?

An extreme example: I was reading in the news this morning about a girl who was repeatedly kicked in the face and beaten to death. Her boyfriend who was with her was also beaten into a coma and has now reverted to a childlike state, afraid of leaving his house. Their crime? They were Goths. A group of teenage boys set upon them for no other reason than that they looked different. The ambulance men were unable to tell the genders of the couple because their injuries were so severe.

The word ‘deserve’ is a dangerous one. Do I ‘deserve’ to eat organic fruit and veg? Is there anybody who doesn’t deserve to eat organic fruit and veg? I recently gave up alcohol for a month and then conned myself into going out on the piss because I ‘deserved’ a break. Did I then deserve the hangover which wiped me out for two days and then turned into a cold? Did the assholes who kicked that girl to death think in some way she deserved it? Who gets to decide what we deserve? Surely what’s important is what we need? Do I need money? Not necessarily. Do I need food, shelter, clothing and a warm place to sleep at night? Yes. Do I deserve that? Hmmm…

One of the reasons I ‘need’ so much less money these days is that I’m no longer a wage-slave. Back when I was working I thought I deserved all kinds of stuff because I had been working so hard, or because I was hung over, or because I was hungry and couldn’t be bothered to go home to eat. Marketing really prays on this kind of mentality… ‘Because you’re worth it!’

Worth what? Worth entering into a cycle whereby I’m earning money just to pay for all of the stuff I deserve to buy because I work so hard?

7 thoughts on “Because you’re Worth It!

  1. I finished reading a biography of Apsley Cherry Garrard today. Due to misadventure he spent several weeks stranded in an igloo and later said that “The luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create”Thanks for an interesting post. If you don’t mind, could you post your weekly budget? It would be interesting to see how someone survives on so little.Good to see you last weekend,James

  2. Have you read this man’s blog: man has spent the last 7 years living completely without money. It’s fascinating stuff. I love the idea of being unemployed, but instead choosing to donate your time to voluntary organisations. We can’t force the government to support causes that we value, but we can do the work ourselves. Please continue to post, as I’m really interested in what you have to say.Isabel

  3. A question: Would it be appropriate to add housing benefit into the money that you spend each week (if you decide to post your weekly budget for James)? Money is changing hands there, just not directly through you. As housing is most people’s major outgoing, adding this into what you spend might provide a clearer picture of how much money it is possible to live on each week. What do you think?

  4. I do not agree. I was un-employed from 1990-1993 and was studying A-levels part time. I hated the humiliation of taking benefits but started to understand how and why people have to. ‘Have to’ not choose to. People who decide to take benefits as a life style are not escaping consumer society but are allowing themselves to become ‘subjects’ of the state, reliant on and subject to direct financial control. My objective in life is to never have to work for anyone in a culture of capitalist exploitation. To do this I decided I would continually try and develop two things:1. To obtain work or a job who’s pleasures exceed the wage.2. To obtain enough capital that could escape the rat race altogether.This might sound like a contradiction but makes complete sense. What you do with the money you earn is a completely different matter. The things I enjoy do not cost too much money and I don’t consider myself a consumer victim I am very astute about purchases. I am not materialisticly driven but consider that you have to join the system to make change or escape it. Freedom is a process not neccessarily an obtainable goal but an ideal that drives many people particularly in business.

  5. I was really enjoying your blog until I came across the part where you say you are not a wage slave.This hit a sore spot with me. The thing is, I work and I pay my taxes and therefore I could be seen to be a wage slave. I, like many others, don’t like this and yet have no option. What do you think would happen to your housing benefit if people like me stopped working and paying our taxes that supported people like you to live the lifestyle you choose? Sorry, Jo – I am very sympathetic and agree with a lot of your points but it galls me that you are so naive to think that your ‘low impact’ lifestyle does not have repercussions on others.

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