Finding Your Self at Work: The Second Step, Power beyond capitalism raising us to sanity

Finding Your Self at Work: The Second Step, Power beyond capitalism raising us to sanity

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Step Pyramid: “This is the Step Pyramid, built for the Pharoah Djoser (Zoser), the 2nd king of the 3rd Dynasty, who ruled Egypt from 2667-2648 BC.” Image by Ed Yourdon uploaded to Flikr, accessed by Creative Commons Search. See image for much more detail on this photograph.

This post is second in a series inspired by the “12 Steps” to look hard at our relationship to money, our lives and our work. Here is the first post in the series.

Capitalism, we acknowledged in Step One, has made actually living our worklives impossible. What can help us as we awaken to this situation? It is too soon to seek alternatives. Let’s feel the true horror of our collective situation for a little while longer first. What can help us do this? I turn to Step Two of the 12 Steps*:  we

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

What on Earth could be a power greater than capitalism? I know we are supposed to feel money is unimportant compared with big stuff like Love and G-d and cats and really good-quality experience. We are supposed to feel money is the root of all evil, hardly a greater Power.

We do feel that way, that money is evil!

But we’re conflicted: we also feel money is a necessary evil.  Feeling caught and bound this way is basic to capitalism’s addictiveness. We entertain the idea of ourselves as more adult, rational and empowered to just go ahead and give capitalism its due. We treat people who do otherwise as childish and irrational. But to addicts, the addiction is the lesser of two evils.

I have come to see healing from addiction as choosing good feelings. Any addiction gives us a good feeling. When we heal an addiction, we choose a higher-level good feeling. I rank good feelings this way:

  • pleasure (body-centered)
  • happiness (emotion-centered)
  • joy (spirit-centered)

My spiritual work is learning to choose whatever arises to bring me joy.

To repeat, there is nothing evil about money that I can see. It isn’t even necessary, it’s just longstanding, and useful, like grammar. Like grammar; it helps you accomplish stuff. You can use it to bring you pleasure, or happiness, or joy.

The pleasure we got from capitalism was security. Its cost is high. Too high for us. This series–and RAISING CLARITY’s work–is for people who want to explore a worklife alternative that gives joy.

As we take our time exploring recovery from capitalism, we can look to the alcoholics, cocaine addicts, sex and debt addicts who have worked the 12 Steps to light our path. The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous quoted here about Step Two says we don’t even have to believe in the “Power greater than ourselves”! We just have to be willing to believe that there is one.

Part of us already believes capitalism is a shell game. We already sense there is more to life. We want there to be more to our worklives. We are ready to believe, willing to believe, and that is enough, until Step Three. All the Steps to Recovery from Capitalism are here.


*”This version of the 12 steps is an adaptation from the original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous…intended for general use with any addictive or dysfunctional behavior. We have also compiled a list of different versions of the 12 Steps.”

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