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?