image: Wikimedia commons (Vineyards in California -- link; Dionysos and Eros -- link).
The world's ancient wisdom, given to every culture on our planet in remote antiquity in the form of myths, scriptures, and sacred stories, can free us from mental prisons -- whether self-imposed as is often the case, or imposed on us by widely accepted lies which can run through an entire society.
Many myths (such as the story of Thor's visit to the hall of the jotun Utgarda-Loki) and ancient wisdom literature (such as the Tao Te Ching) urge us to perceive the world around us as it actually is, rather than as our preconceptions or our past accumulations and assumptions tell us that it is (or tell us that it should be).
When we fail to perceive things as they actually are, and operate based on mental illusions or self-deceptions, we fall into prisons of our own making -- or into mental prisons which others fashion for us.
The examples which could be offered for this important concept are endless -- and range from the mundane to the profound.
In this short discussion, I would like to focus on a societal misconception which may at first seem to be completely unrelated to the deep teachings of the world's ancient wisdom, but which is in fact closely connected to their teachings regarding the gifts of the gods to men and women, and to the ways that we cheat ourselves out of those blessings -- a pattern which can perhaps be seen in many other aspects of our lives.
In the realm of economics, no concept is more fundamental than the definition of money, and yet it is widely misunderstood -- and because of this misunderstanding, society's ability to fully enjoy the blessings of the real resources which are the gifts of the gods (or, if you prefer, the gifts of nature) is severely compromised.
Perhaps the most concise and most highly readable short treatise explaining the way money really works in society is an illustrated book written by J. D. Alt in 2014 entitled Diagrams and Dollars: Modern Money Illustrated, apparently available only as a Kindle book but which can be purchased for $1.50 (USD) and read in its entirety on any networked computer or mobile device.
Once you read and understand this little book and its brilliant illustrations, you will gain a new perspective on the origin of money and the way it relates to the ability of society to make use of the resources in that society for both public and private purposes.
As J. D. Alt explains in chapter 6 of that text, a correct understanding of the way a money system works is directly related to an understanding of the way in which we as a society have the ability to "pay ourselves to build and create goods and services that make us collectively healthy and prosperous" -- and, even further, "that what can be accomplished is not limited by the number of Dollars available for Sovereign Spending [ . . . ]. The limitation, instead, is imposed by the real resources -- labor, materials, energy, and technology -- which are sustainably available to implement our collective goals."
In this assertion, author J. D. Alt is echoing similar assertions made by other respected economists who are challenging the conventional (and false) framework of the way money operates in society (and the conventional and false economics which continue to be taught to students at all levels of education, and which continue to inform the misleading news reporting which is drummed into us nearly every day).
For example, in a recent blog post by Professor Bill Mitchell of the University of Newcastle (in Australia), Professor Mitchell lays out a rather comprehensive explanation of the way money actually works, and declares at one point that: "it should be understood that the real constraint on government spending is not financial but real -- the actual resources that are actually for sale." This assertion is identical to that made by J. D. Alt and quoted above (I would recommend reading J. D. Alt's book first for an overview prior to diving into the much more in-depth discussions offered by Professor Bill Mitchell).
Once you begin to understand what J. D. Alt and Professor Mitchell are explaining, you will be able to understand the deliberately misleading mental frameworks being imposed on listeners through news stories we hear every day about how crushingly large "global debt" has grown, and how it is acting as "kind of a dead-weight for global growth," such as the recent radio piece embedded below and entitled "Global Debt reaches record high $184 Trillion, IMF says" (and similar stories are frequently featured in this and other countries about the national debt).
Although this subject can be somewhat confusing at first, the important assertion of J. D. Alt, quoted above (and echoed in somewhat more condensed form in the quotation from Professor Mitchell) reveal what is at stake in this discussion. The discussion is actually about making use of real resources, such as "labor, materials, energy, and technology" -- and when we allow ourselves to be tied down by false constructs regarding "balanced budgets" and "deficit spending," then we cannot properly utilize those real resources.
To take the very first of the real resources listed as examples by J. D. Alt, which is labor, we can see that the deliberate imposition of an obsession with balanced budgets and restrictions on the ability of governments to influence the utilization of resources through fiscal policy (by the monetarists of the Chicago School, beginning most aggressively in the 1970s) has led to completely unnecessary and extremely harmful levels of involuntary unemployment -- in other words, it has led to the failure to make use of one of the most important natural resources gifted to any nation by the benevolent gods: the labor of the men and women that the gods allow to be born in that country, and the gifts and talents with which those men and women have been blessed.
In the united states at this moment, there are well over 500,000 men and women who are homeless (including over 134,000 in my home state of California). In Europe, youth unemployment in France is presently over 20%. In Spain, youth unemployment is over 33%, in Italy it is almost 32%, and in Greece it is over 43%. And yet, even as the resource of labor (the human talent of men and women, and the gifts and abilities which they have been given by the gods) is being wasted at these unacceptable levels, we have politicians fretting over budget deficits -- and indeed laws which limit the amount of deficits which some governments are allowed to plan as part of their fiscal policy.
Again, the reader is recommended to consult J. D. Alt's short and brilliantly-illustrated volume in order to understand why the term "budget deficit" and "national debt" (or "global debt") are actually misnomers, and why these mental constructs are both false and misleading.
As both J. D. Alt and Professor Mitchell make clear, budget deficits and surpluses in and of themselves are neither inherently good nor inherently bad: there are times when a surplus is appropriate and there are times when a deficit is appropriate. The real constraints are the actual resources given to a nation by the gods (or, if you prefer, by nature), including the gifts of the soil, the riches under the soil, the croplands, and the fruitbearing vines and trees, and the forests, and the riverways, and most of all the gifts and talents of the men and women of that country.
All of these gifts (the resources of nature, and the lives of every single man and woman and baby born in that land) were explicitly described as gifts originating and having their ultimate fount in the Invisible Realm -- the divine realm, the realm of the gods -- according to the world's ancient myths and scriptures.
Thus to squander them, or to steal them from the people of that land, is an affront to the gods themselves, and to the divine realm.
Indeed, many previous posts have pointed to evidence from the world's ancient myths which suggests that the gods manifest in this material realm through men and women themselves, and thus to spread deceptive mental prisons in order to deprive the people of the use of those gifts and to deliberately impoverish the people of a nation can also be seen as a serious offense against the Invisible Realm.
Previous posts on this topic include:
Through a form of mind control or misleading illusion, we are being kept from making use of the gifts that are available to us, and which ultimately come from the Infinite Realm itself. However, the same ancient myths and scriptures which show us the Invisible Realm and its potency show us, through example after example, how to emerge from our illusion and our self-imposed separation from the gods.
The pattern described above for money and resources at a societal level is illustrative of the way the pattern works in other areas of life as well. We are being sold a mental framework of deprivation, limitation, and artificial scarcity, when in fact we are surrounded by the abundant gifts from the gods themselves, which are overflowing all around us and most of all within us.