“How’s it possible that humans always have money for killing and for exploitation, but struggle to find resources for good causes?” Joy asked.
It seemed illogical and unjust. The human value system was upside down. Caring professions that in the past were deemed valuable – like nursing and teaching – were now taken for granted and were superseded by high-paying but near socially irrelevant career activities like playing football, singing pop songs and selling derivatives on the stock markets.
This degraded value system was being held in place by two major illusions: that the more money a person has, the more esteemed they are – no matter how they acquire their fortune; and that people who work for good causes should earn only a basic salary – hence the term not-for-profit. Joy felt the urge to shatter these myths that were keeping the masses imprisoned by materialism, the power-hungry in positions of control and those motivated by the will to do good financially disempowered.
“It’s not just about people in positions of power making the right decisions,” remarked Gino, who always viewed the base of the global population pyramid to be as critical to human transformation as the more exclusive tip of power-sharing elites. “Normal people need to take more responsibility for human action and find value in simplicity and sustainability.” He was pensive. “The first thing they have to do is to start seeing through the media images that have locked them in a world of useless aspirations.”
Gino’s words made Joy think back to a holiday they had enjoyed in Tuscany. Sitting in a café in one of the piazzas in Florence, they had watched people walk by clad in the latest designer outfits and jewelled accessories. Joy had an eye for aesthetics and appreciated the visual beauty of forms and appearances. All the same, she remembered thinking: I wonder if they’d still know who they were if they had to give up everything they possess.
“Possessions aren’t the problem of course,” echoed Gino, seemingly picking up on her thoughts. “It’s the attachment to them that so easily develops.”
“The attachment of having and the never-ending desire to have,” replied Joy. “The test, I suppose, is to be able to have and not have without any sense of neediness.”
Excerpt from “My Name is Joy”.