Money in Place and Out of Place

Money in Place and Out of Place


Signs I saw at the Communities Conference. If you can’t read it, see* below. Conference-goers told me “MOOP” comes from Burning Man but they were smart enough to organize MOOP Patrols, so for me MOOP is indelibly associated with the wisdom of intentional communitarians like those of Twin Oaks.

Money in Place and Out of Place

At a large, live conference event, I facilitated some wise thinking about money in place and out of place. This post contains that wise thinking by others.

The location was Twin Oaks intentional community, sponsored by both the Foundation for Intentional Community and the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

Community here means a bunch of different people who live together on purpose.  The Beloved Community is an accidental but all-inclusive community we can make an intentional community. (I seek to be part of that organizing.) Neighborhoods and small towns and blocks of big cities are communities that are seldom intentional. Intentional communities are organized along a purpose–an intention. Egalitarian communities are for the most part income-sharing and egalitarian in other ways. (Some of this I learned just this Weekend!)

Wise People Thinking Out Loud About Money

And we had about 50 very smart, loving, very alive! communitarians thinking out loud about our money wounds and our money healing personally and structurally. Below are my notes of some of what was said.

Important: none of the words or ideas below are mine, but errors in recording them are mine; everything below is worth reading but that doesn’t mean I agree with it or that all of it agrees with itself. These are words and ideas related to money by a variety of people thinking collaboratively but not thinking the same.

List of Ways to Free Your Mind with Money

    • we can break the money = value equation
    • we can reclaim money the way queers have reclaimed “queer” (which was once an insult)
    • we can make, spend, and use money in different ways than we have seen before
    • we can choose which of these ways we’ll support
    • money is a tool with no owner’s manual
    • money is a tool with no sharer’s manual
    • aversion to money creates a vicious cycle in which the people questioning money have less and less of it
    • we are too cautious and should dare more and dare to love each other more boldly
    • we can build bridges with others who aren’t here
    • a lot of money is blood money derived from exploiting the Earth
    • a lot of money is blood money derived from white people exploiting people of color
    • money is irredeemably evil
    • money is aptly named “currency,” as it is an energetic current we transmit to each other
    • if you think of it as energetic current, hoarding it makes no sense
    • money gives voice–unfairly
    • money’s too abstract to be understood and worked with
    • right now in the changing history of money it’s a painful time, like a baby being born is painful at first
    • the Slow Money movement is reconnecting money to soil–the origin of value
    • why are we forced to focus on money?
    • the future belongs to the organized: those of us having our labor extracted (like coal and gas) can organize ourselves
    • the response to us/them mentality is Love
    • volunteering is different from mutual aid
    • we need to ensure that what we organize for works for people who have to work outside communities as well as those of us working within intentional communities.

What does the sign in the image say?

The MOOP sign reads, “What is MOOP? MOOP is any material object that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Trash is a common form of MOOP. Abandoned dishes, cups and mugs are also very common. Articles of clothing and water bottles that were left behind when a person saw an old friend and ran to hug them and then forgot about their jacket or bottle is another good example.

MOOP tends to accumulate, get in the way, and look bad. The first line of defense against MOOP is DON’T CREATE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! Keep track of your belongings. Take trash and recycling to receptacles. Wash your dishes.

EVERYONE CREATES MOOP! No matter how much you think it’s everyone else and I don’t ever do that sort of thing, you’re wrong, you do. So, every time you see a piece of MOOP think, oh, I know someone else has dealt with MOOP that I created so I’m going to be a good communitarian and deal with this MOOP.

And thus the world becomes a better place.”

(Here is another favorite of mine in this vein, from the Upaya Zen Center. MOOP wisdom is truly “very simple and very deep.”)

  • Mattie
    Posted at 12:55h, 10 September Reply

    “money is aptly named ‘currency,’ as it is an energetic current we transmit to each other” — wonderful metaphor!

    • Beth
      Posted at 12:59h, 10 September Reply

      Mattie, thanks! I know you love these folks–it was cool to see someone from the Midden there! And feel free to write in with _your_ metaphors! I’ll share your kind words with the peeps from the conference!

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