Think you couldn’t live without money? Irishman Mark Boyle challenged this notion and here’s how he finds life with no financial income, bank balance, and no spending.
“If someone told me seven years ago, in my final year of a business and economics degree, that I’d now be living without money, I’d have probably choked on my microwaved ready meal.” According to Boyle, the plan back then was to ‘get a good job’, make as much money as possible, and buy the stuff that would show society he was successful.
Like most individuals raised in a consumer-driven society, he never second guessed those goals. For a while he had a fantastic job managing a big organic food company and even had a yacht in the harbor. If it hadn’t have been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi, he’d still be pursuing the same life. “I’d still be doing it today. Instead, for the last fifteen months, I haven’t spent or received a single penny. Zilch”.
The change in life path came one evening on the yacht while philosophising with a friend over a glass of Merlot. “Whilst I had been significantly influenced by Mahatma’s quote “be the change you want to see in the world”, I had no idea what that change was up until then.”
The two friends began talking about all the major issues in the world – environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labor – and wondered which of the issues they could best devote their time to. Mark didn’t feel he could really make any difference, however “being two small drops in a highly polluted ocean”.
That evening, though, a revelation came through: “These issues weren’t as unrelated as I had previously thought – they had a common root cause. I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment, and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems.”
Boyle believes that the degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means most people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the ‘stuff’ they buy.
It can be agreed that few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don’t have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalized format.
“If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it today” is one of Mark’s examples as to why it’s important a reconnection with natural/source living is established. “If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior décor. If we had to clean our own water, we probably wouldn’t s**t in it”.
The above arguments all honestly assess the undervalue most objects now have. With convenience at our fingertips, most don’t consider where their trash product or unwanted items go.
Deciding to be the change, this then spurred Mark to fully dive into his new viewpoint and give up money, which he only planned on doing for a year. “I made a list of the basics I’d need to survive. I adore food, so it was at the top. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering and using waste grub, of which there are far more”.