Photos and anger

Actualizado: 12 de dic de 2018

This is a healthy and indispensable release of anger. Pure sacred economics, a gift. I allow myself the clumsiness, the foolishness of my rage, that boils from my entrails desiring to destroy and opening space for the new. Many motives for rage: all one.


As you might know, we are working intensively on the new website, together with my very dear brother Joe from Mighty by Design. One thing has come up, and that is that until now I have used in my blog photos that I have taken freely from the web, mostly without explicit permission from the photographers. As I write this I am insisting on getting the permission of the brilliant Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. Not only do his photographs captivate me, but I also feel that they communicate powerfully and authentically with the views I intend to share. Well, anyway.

On the new website I will stop using all photos that I do not have permission to use, out of respect. An apology if anyone might be offended. It's about my radical way of feeling free. 

But first let me make this strong claim: I disagree with the narrative behind this ethics in the use of photographs.

First of all, who is the owner of a beautiful photograph of a flower, the photographer or the flower? Who should I ask for permission from, then, the photographer or the flower? As the immense Atahualpa Yupanqui used to say, "thank you for celebrating my songs, but it's not me who puts the beauty of my song, it's the mountains, the horse, the earth and the tree. I just sing it" (something like that, I don't remember his exact words, anyone who can help me correct this quote?).

Charles Eisenstein talks at length about this in his book Sacred Economics. In short, our obsession with putting private property into everything started with the land (there was someone who at one time simply usurped it), went on with water, and continued with culture. And so on, with every bit of the gift of life. Where before everything was in the gratuitousness or in the natural reciprocity of life, the colonizing idea of ownership appeared. This notion has beautiful and healthy aspects too, such as the right to intimacy, but at the same time it deserves to be urgently questioned.

A special mention to all my friends, artists, musicians, photographers, etc., who are mostly treated without respect by the conventional system and who rarely manage to live abundantly as a result of their work (except for the famous whom by definition are always few).

What I am expressing may be unacceptable to all of them. I am with you in your legitimate claim for dignity! Only that the solution you need and which is urgent for the beauty and health of life does not require stricter control of your property rights. It's more radical.

An example that reflects this situation: the owner of a restaurant that has just opened, and asks a musician friend to come and play for free so that he can make himself known to the public. The musician answers: why don't you bring the food from your restaurant for free to my concert, so you can make your food known? The musician, the artist, is always asked to do his/her job for less money or for free, isn't it true? Why don't we do the same with the restaurant or the carpenter? Believe me, I too am tired and angry that my work in economía sagrada is not valued properly. And I want to get it off my chest: HOW UNFAIR!

In the conventional paradigm, we look for the culprit and blame him. In this sincere expression I do the same, how unfair that so many people buy the system as it is, and do not question these profound and unacceptable things. To understand what I am saying is to understand fundamentally this phrase of Krishnamurti: "It is not a measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society". (And of course, I will not forget to come back to the truth I know: there is no one, nothing to blame).

What I do in my job is zero appropriable

Coming to a sacred economy workshop has zero impact on a person's future income. Why. Because economia sagrada is not about how best to adapt to a deeply sick system. It's about a sincere relationship with money, with everything that that means from the intimate to the global situation. It is about going beyond the mental and cultural schemes that falsely choke the range of the possible.

Who will pay me to write the things I write and who will pay me to live this vision of sacred economics from the inside out? I mean to be paid well, as well as to eat well, dress my kids, go on vacation to the beach, buy a new computer (this one I'm using is very slow - thanks anyway, Mac). Buy a new car! In my rage I would like to shout that NO ONE!! But it's not true. (In fact, I hope I regret having written this very soon hehehe).

Like any expression of anger, however legitimate and healthy it may be, it is never fully true. It is in fact always absurd, clumsy. Supposedly, anger is "inconvenient". 

And yes, I am supported, I have multiple demonstrations of support and I know I will continue to have them (for example, 60 donations and more than $4,000 in the campaign for the new site). As I said at the beginning, this is a healthy, humane expression of relief.



The Consequences of Rage Without Permission (Photo with permission by Daniel Dancer)

How anger for one reason is at once the anger of all reasons. Anger everywhere, all one. How all emotions are woven. Near this anger there is a sadness too, because there are so many people who feel this oppression of the system, even misery... Sadness about friends who have been very close and who are now very far away.... And near sadness there is a fear: once again, what am I going to do this next month when I run out of all the money I have? And close to that fear is honor because I have no choice but to choose the one thing: my heart.

Property rights over land, water and scientific and artistic creations are partly illegitimate. In reality all our creations are the fruit of life itself, influenced by the sea of culture and the gift of life around us, and by the whole history of creations backwards. A creation is really only the last step in a long history of experiences and insights, necessarily collective. Necessarily the gift of life itself. It belongs to no one, and at the same time it belongs to the whole, to everyone.

Do we not want new ideas, new paradigms, new creations to emerge as freely as possible? As a creator I experience it, and my creations have nothing to do with generating income, because as I said, nothing I do can be appropriated. And if I write a book, it would be under Creative Commons, not copyright. That is why I say that I am at the service of a vision that, if I truly understand, I know very well that it does not belong to me. And I suspect Sebastiao Salgado would say the same thing. (I hope he says so).

I am upset that the appropriable is more valued than the unappropriable. The chargeable. The certifiable, for example. For a certified service, you charge well (and the more certificates the more expensive). And what about the loss of the subtle, the intimate, the different, that which doesn't fit into a transaction story? I believe that what is most valuable is usually what is left out.

In this way, I hope, I encounter the creative aspect of anger

I've despised her so much, I've feared her so much. Every time I've had anger in my life I've been terrified that the one most hurt and beaten as a result will be myself. I've been embarrassed. I have felt naked and ridiculous, weak and helpless.

I wonder about the warrior aspect present in all our history as men. In all our love and new age speeches, we talk about peace. Maybe we repress who we are. I revalue our innate warrior, the nobleman who has been present throughout our history. The disciplined martial arts practitioner in the East. Or the indigenous warrior of America, the warrior of the northern warrior societies where belonging was a spiritual honor. And in the South: the great Leftraru of the Mapuche nation. My son, who naturally wants to fight over and over again with his sister. And there is one thing I do know with the full certainty of my soul: there is nothing wrong with my son or any child, there is no need to 'educate' him to be a better person or to repair the innate evil in him. 

No more domestication.

I know this is going to get a lot of reaction. Instead of anticipating and speculating on what you are going to think, dear reader, let us express ourselves and reflect. Anyway, there's one thing I don't want to do: to do something against the will of another human being. For that reason, I'll stop using any photos I don't have permission to use.

Finally, thanks to the talented and visionary photographer-anthropologist Pablo Mardones (AlpacaProducciones) who has given me permission to use his photographs on the new site. I must also mention at least four great photographers who have also supported me with photos, Doris Palma, Dante Pitrella, Mariana Domic and Mattias Meyes. Sincere gratitude to all. I admire your work, your ability to see.