Hike at Montseny park

Yesterday I went hiking with some friends at the Montseny park, near Barcelona. With the train we arrived at a small town called Figaró-Montmany, 1 hour trip, and from there we started our walk. I really enjoyed it, even if my bones hurt all day. Here is some nice nature scenery that I saw.

old videos – da caricare

What is the utility of the bank?

Probably you are used to the presence of the banks in the society. And you are used to bring the money you earn to a bank. To withdraw the banknotes from the cash machines of the bank. To ask them for a loan, if you have to buy a house.

In short, you see it since forever… you use it since forever… but did you ever ask yourself exactly what is a bank? And what is its utility? Today I try to explain it to you, casting a new light on its nature and making you understand why, actually, the bank represents mostly a problem for the modern society.

a-cosa-serve-la-banca-copertinaFor some aspects, nothing special

For some aspects, a bank is a commercial activity similar to all the others, in fact it’s a company that works with the purpose of making money.

From this point of view, it is perfectly identical to the butcher, the barber, the bar in the neighborhood. In the morning the employees of the bank wake up, executive, cashier, financial advisor, and they go to the office to give their labor contribution to make the bank earn more money, in change of a salary.

For one aspect, slightly special

But a bank often doesn’t have only one office, it has many offices, in different cities and often also in different nations. In fact it’s a corporation, a huge company, tentacular. And this is already a first remarkable difference with the little shop of the butcher.

But so far there’s not even anything too strange: there are a lot of corporations in the modern globalized world. For example, in addition to the banking corporations there are other types: food corporations (eg. mcdonalds, ferrero), fashion corporations (eg. versace, dolce e gabbana), consultancy corporations (eg. accenture, ibm), technology corporations (eg. apple, samsung).

For one aspect, SUPER SPECIAL

But there is one characteristic that makes the bank unique, absolutely unique.

All the other activities, from the little shop to the big non-banking corporations, earn money because they provide goods or services in return. The butcher provides meat. The barber provides the haircut service. The fashion corporation provides clothes. The supermarket provides food. The bar provides coffee. And so on.

What does the bank provide? The answer is: a gigantic nothing. The banking activity is the only one in which money is earned without providing any good or service in return. All the bank does is moving money. So the bank earns money… to move money! If you think about it it’s a very weird characteristic, that surely no other company in the world has.

It’s weird, in fact, that while all the other commercial activities revolve around “something” (meat, shoes, clothes…) with the desire of earning money, the banking activity revolves exactly around money, with the desire of earning money. It is very close to this object, for the very own nature of its activity.

This proximity gave birth to some really interesting situations.

They earn money with your money

A first interesting situation is the fact that the banking corporations have become so powerful, with time, that they influenced the approval of laws that give them huge advantages. These laws would probably be considered “scandalous” if made for any other commercial activity… that is not the banking one.

A notable example is the fractional reserve, i.e. the bank has the duty of maintaining in its office only a small fraction of the money you deposit, they can use all the rest the way they like: making loans to other people (earning money on it) and do speculations of all types.

The bank puts in circulation money that is not theirs to earn money, and this is the reason why, if you go to the bank and ask to withdraw 10.000 of your dollars from your account, two things happen.

First: you have to reserve them. The reason is simply that they don’t have that money in the office. Second: they’ll make up a lot of stories when they receive a request of this type. The reason is that, for them, that amount is worth much more than it is worth for you: by making loans with that money n times, since often after each loan the money comes back in the bank deposited by someone else, they can “magically” multiply the amount.

Paper money

Another interestinf fact is that the central object of the banking business, i.e. the money itself, it’s been transformed with time. For the worse.

Some time ago, the bank had some duties regarding money, meaning that they could only put in circulation banknotes if they had a corrispondence in gold in their safes. Let’s say that they could issue a banknote of 100 only if they really had 100 pieces of gold in their safes.

Now, this duty has been eliminated: money has become fiat, meaning that it doesn’t have any bond with gold anymore. The bank issues big quantities of banknotes, without having in their safes gold that actually covers those banknotes. This means that the banknotes are really just some pieces of paper, and their values is based now just on the reputation. A reputation that exists only until there is the ignorance, in the masses, of what money really is.

I want to clarify why it is important, in a negative way, that the banks got rid of the duty to own gold that corresponds to the banknotes they issue.

Gold is very different from the paper banknotes. Gold has intrinsic value, meaning that it has physical characteristics that make it perfect for medical, technological, industrial applications. Real life applications, that can improve people’s life. Instead, with paper you can’t do much more than lighting up a fire.

But gold is limited in the world: there is a certain amount and not more, and extracting it is also complicated. Paper instead is very easy to produce. So the move with which the banks got rid of the obligation to issue banknotes only if covered by the gold that they own, gave them the opportunity to create wealth for themselves… based on nothing.

More powerful than governments

A second situation is that with time the banks have become even more powerful than the governments of the nations. This is valid also for other types of corporations today, but the banks are definitely first in line.

The situation evolved in a way that today many heads of the governments, when they have to take decisions, almost always have to consult the bankers. Even more: often they have to ask permission to the bankers… and sometimes they even have to obey to the bankers.

When you hear in the news that the debt grows constantly (did you ever hear that the debt is diminishing?), the creditor of that debt are the banks. The reason is that these pieces of paper that we use to pay stuff, they print it and they lend it to the government, and the government commits to return it in the future with the interests.

But… how will the government pay the interests, if money is printed by the banks only, and it only has the money it borrowed previously? Simple: it will ask to more money to borrow, making other debt, always more debt. Debt that can’t ever be repaid.

This is the reason why it’s said, maybe you heard this already, that “money is debt”. They’re the same thing. Take a banknote in your hand and look at it. That banknote has been lent by the banks to your government, with the agreement that your government, one day, will give back as much as it’s written on the banknote… more the interests.

The bank doesn’t produce anything

I want to repeat and remark the central message of this article: the bank doesn’t produce any useful value for the society. At best, it can be defined as a freeloader that makes money thanks to the job of other people, a parasite. What people really need is food, clothes, medicine, technology, culture, art, and not a circus that make useless paper spin around.

The most humble workers, like the shoe repairer, or the farmer who grows potatoes, they produce an immense value for the society compared to that of the bank, whose concrete action is just to move money around.

Do you work in a bank?

Every morning millions of people in the world wake up, jump in the car and go to work for a bank. Lines at the bank offices, computers munching data, executives doing meeting, it would be nice to have an animation that could show daily how much motion is produced by the banking system in the globe. To realize, indeed, how much energy is sucked by this industry that produces the galactic nothing, apart from moving money. It would be comic and tragic at the same time.

Now, and if you’re inside this industry? And if you’re an employee who works at a branch? What if you’re an accountant? Or you’re the head of a branch? Or you’re a super-head of the european central bank? Or you even come from a family of bankers?

In this case I would say that there are two possibilities.

The first is that you’re in that place because you are unaware of the real nature of the company you’re working for every day (or at least you were before reading this). This unawareness is very frequent at the “lowest” levels of the chain, but I am sure that also many executives work for a bank without being fully aware of what is the real meaning of the company they work for.

I’ve been part of this group. I found myself working for a bank in the past. Actually as an external consultant, for few years, and in the technologic sector, but I’ve been definitely a small active part of this industry.

Those were the years when I understood what “bank” means, and that comprehension has been for me one of the strongest motivations to leave that job. I like to think that I can give, with my job, a contribution to make the world a better place, to help others, to produce something that can have a true impact of the life of people.

The idea of using my time -and my labor talent- in a circus that makes useless paper spin around is really depressing for me. I like what the professor of dead poet society says: life is a big poem, in which each of us has the chance of adding a verse. I surely don’t want that my verse is to have spent 40 years manipulating useless pieces of paper. Today I can imagine a million other ways to give more value to the society than I would do working in a bank. An example is providing education, writing articles like this.

The second possibility is that you live in denial. You know how the banking system really works, but you silence every voice that tells you that you’re contributing, with your work, to a futile cause.

The resources that your bank uses could be used to create concrete wellbeing, to make people happy, rather than load them with debt? You prefer not to think about it. You put your tie on and go to work without asking yourself too many questions. Similarly to those paople who eat meat produced industrially, when you ask them “but do you know how that is produced?” they reply “oh I don’t want to know, otherwise I will end up eating nothing”. Blue pill.

What is the adtantage of knowing this?

I want to clarify one thing: the people who understand how the banking system works and what is the utility of the banks (a big nothing) are a minority today, and will be minority still for quite a while. The majority of people are still unable to understand this mechanism, or they’re not interested in understanding it.

If you, instead, are among those who have reached this comprehension, and I hope I have given a little contribution, then in what position are you?

Well, you continue to play in a world where the bank is part of the rules. It’s unlikely that you will be able to do anything without entering in contact with the bank. The job salary is sent directly to the bank. You have to make bank cheques to buy a house. Everybody keeps on considering paper banknotes valuable objects, so they will ask you for them in return for any good or service.

But you can do several things. First, if like me you think that the meaning of life is to give to the world your unique and wonderful talents, you will stop employing these talents in a bank, if you work there.

Some time ago I watched an interview to some personality, I don’t remember who it was, who was asked “what would you do if you’d be elected president of the Federal Reserve?” and replied “I would shut it down”. I thought it was a great answer, because it’s exactly what I would do if I’d be put in command of such a mega-banking association.

Other thing, you can stop subsidizing this useless circus with your savings. Aware that the entire world sits on a giant paper ball that could burn in any moment, you can turn your savings into commodities (like gold and silver) that preserve their value with time, rather than keep on focusing on modern money that loses value gradually, every day, because its value depends on the decisions of the government and the banks.

Understanding how volatile the value of money is will free you from an enormous distraction. It will make you assign more value to other things, for example your time. It will help you understand that the indoctrination that you received since you were a kid, telling you that money is so important, is just an indoctrination. As soon as you reassign the proper importance to your time, you can use it in activities that make life more enjoyable and adventurous. And this looks like a big advantage to me.

Useful readings

To better understand the banking system I recomment two great books: the real story of money, health and religion by Loren Howe and you can profit from a monetary crisis by Harry Browne, that contains very intelligent advice on how to manage your savings. In the first book, instead, there’s a famous quotation that I write here too:

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. -Henry Ford-

It says a lot. A lot!

Notes: Translated from the corresponding article written in Italian, published in this blog on September 12, 2014.

Related: What is the “system”?, Inside an intensive pig farm

Come liberarti dal sistema

Ho osservato che molte persone vivono la loro vita coscienti che ci sono diverse limitazioni alla loro libertà. Per esempio, alcune limitazioni estremamente comuni sono la mancanza di tempo libero, essere intrappolati in un lavoro insignificante, la scarsità finanziaria dovuta a tasse/mutui.

come-liberarti-dal-sistema-fronteGran parte di queste persone capisce che le limitazioni esistono perché esiste un’ entità oppressiva, qualcosa a cui spesso ci si riferisce come “il sistema“. Però, spesso il sistema viene identificato con il governo soltanto, mentre io penso che sia importante prendere in considerazione due altri fattori che sono parti principali del problema anch’essi: i media mainstream e le corporazioni. Questo è il motivo per cui ho scritto il precedente articolo Che cos’è il sistema?, per aiutarti a vedere un quadro completo di chi sta causando le limitazioni.

Ora è tempo di cercare soluzioni. Nonostante quello che ti diranno i pessimisti cronici, liberarti dal sistema è possibile. Tutto quello che richiede è fare le cose in modo diverso dalla massa.

Infatti, sto per analizzare una lista di quattro reazioni differenti nei contronti del sistema che le persone possono avere. Quello che voglio mostrare è che, mentre le prime tre reazioni di questa lista sono molto più popolari, esiste una quarta opzione -una che considerano in pochissimi- e che “funziona” meglio di tutte le altre.

1. Lamentarsi, ma continuare a farsi sfruttare

Questa è di gran lunga la reazione più diffusa, vedo questo comportamento tutto il tempo.

È pieno di persone che hanno forti sentimenti negativi nei confronti dei frontmen del sistema (tipicamente i politici che vengono più esposti dai media), e che si lamentano infinitamente della loro condotta.

Queste persone esprimono disappunto e disusto in ogni conversazione relativa alle decisioni del governo, borbottano davanti alla televisione, scrivono post arrabbiati nei social network. Ma poi, il giorno dopo si presentano a lavoro e continuano la schiavitù. Facendo questo, in realtà nutrono quelle stesse persone di cui si lamentano.

Infatti, i membri corrotti di governo, media e corporazioni non si nutrono dell’ apprezzamento della gente: si nutrono del lavoro della gente. Non si preoccupano molto degli insulti, il loro ego di solito è grande abbastanza. Finché quelle stesse persone che li insultano continuano a presentarsi a lavoro, fornendogli denaro (attraverso le tasse) e specialmente beni e servizi (che loro non vorrebbero mai fornire svolgendo lavori non piacevoli), sono perfettamente a posto.

Un membro corrotto del governo probabilmente non darà le dimissioni per gli affronti che riceve nei social network. Un quotidiano online non smetterà la sua propaganda solo perché la gente lo accusa di mentire nella sezione dei commenti. E il capo di una corporazione non smetterà di distruggere l’ambiente semplicemente perché la gente dice che è immorale.

Essi smetteranno solo quando i cittadini smetteranno questo comportamento duale di lamentarsi di loro e anche finanziarli con il proprio lavoro.

Ora, se proprio ti piace lamentarti, non ti preoccupare: sei in buona compagnia. Puoi unirti alla maggioranza e lamentarti tutti i giorni di quanto i politici siano immorali, e di quanto oltraggiosa sia la loro condotta. Puoi sentirti soddisfatto di essere abbastanza coraggioso da usare la tastiera di un computer per insultare i tuoi politici via internet. Poi sei pronto per un altro giorno di schiavitù. Sii cosciente solo di una cosa: sei nel gruppo che costituisce la linfa vitale del sistema.

2. Combattere il sistema

Combattere il sistema è una seconda possibile reazione. Non altrettanto popolare quanto lamentarsi soltanto come fanno in molti (preferibilmente dietro lo schermo di un computer), ma è comunque un approccio che è molto attraente per parecchie persone.

Il desiderio di combattere il sistema è un indicatore salutare che alcune persone non accettano passivamente di essere sfruttate da governo, media e corporazioni. Capiscono che digitare alcuni insulti in internet, o borbottare di fronte al telegiornale, non serve ad alcuno scopo pratico. Allora si organizzano attivamente per produrre un cambiamento, e la strada principale che scelgono di solito per raggiungere questo obiettivo è la politica.

Sfortunatamente, per quanto questo approccio venga generalmente considerato “coraggioso e generoso” ci sono diverse ragioni per cui non lo considero un’ opzione intelligente.

La prima ragione è che, se decidi di combattere il sistema, dai via molto del tuo tempo personale e della tua energia -entrambi limitati e preziosi- nel farlo. Questo tempo e energia vengono sottratti dal tempo/energia che in realtà potresti usare per godere della tua libertà.

Molte persone decidono di fare il sacrificio comunque, perché sentono che stanno combattendo anche in nome degli altri, ma spesso stanno solo vivendo in una utopia: credere che gli altri cittadini vogliano essere liberati, così tanto quanto lo vogliono loro.

Se spenderai altrettanti anni quanti ne ho spesi io cercando di liberare le persone dalle differenti limitazioni causate dal sistema (per esempio spiegando perché molti lavori corporativi sono forme moderne di schiavitù, o contrastando la disinformazione diffusa dai media), alla fine concluderai che molte persone semplicemente non vogliono essere libere. Teorizzano di essere libere -si- ti incoraggeranno entusiasticamente a combattere, e ti applaudiranno persino. Ma poi si cercheranno un capo per cui lavorare.

Per molte persone la libertà è una bellissima teoria, e vogliono che rimanga proprio quello: solo una teoria.

Inoltre, non penso che sacrificare il tuo tempo/energia abbia senso anche perché la decisione di combattere il sistema è basata su un’assunzione sbagliata: che il sistema sia localizzato esclusivamente nel trio governo-media-corporazioni.

Certamente, queste strutture sono le tre più alte espressioni del sistema, e dovresti decisamente tenerle molto sott’ occhio. Ma la mentalità di ingannare e mentire che rendono governo-media-corporazioni delle entità così oppressive appartiene anche ai “comuni” cittadini, gli stessi cittadini che ti incoraggiano a combattere.

Di solito, la differenza principale tra molti cittadini e i politici è che il politici sono lassù, in posizioni di potere, solo perché sono più astuti. Ma per il resto, quei cittadini ingannano e mentono alla stessa maniera, solo in scala ridotta. Quindi ti applaudono se combatti per loro -sono felici, certo, se li aiuti a non essere più sfruttati- ma essi stessi non sono poi così disponibili a diventare virtuosi. Sei sicuro che ti vuoi sacrificare per loro?

E ultimo significativo svantaggio: se ti organizzi per provare a buttare giù il sistema, se aderisci a un partito politico o a qualche altra struttura, guadagni dimensioni. Se diventi grande, sarà più facile per il sistema notarti, e quindi si difenderà, e ti attaccherà di rimando.

Non nego che vittorie importanti possono essere raggiunte in questa maniera. Ma vedo una sproporzione tra queste vittorie e l’enorme ammontare di risorse (tempo/energia) che combattere il sistema ti richiede. Questa sproporzione, per me, non assomiglia molto alla libertà.

3. Unirsi al sistema

Se non puoi sconfiggerli, unisciti a loro.” dice un vecchio proverbio. È indiscutibile che unendoti al sistema, anche se solo ai livelli più bassi, metti te stesso in una posizione di favore.

Puoi ottenere un lavoro in una di quelle istituzioni che producono poco o nessun valore per la società, e guadagnarti da vivere predando quelli che il valore lo producono. Per esempio, nei miei precedenti articoli ho spiegato che considero gli stabilimenti politico e bancario dei grandi circhi che consumanto enormi quantità di risorse e producono quasi niente.

Puoi entrare in questi stabilimenti e, senza necessariamente dover raggiungere la cima delle loro gerarchie, godrai benefici che i lavoratori che hanno mansioni simili, ma in settori differenti, non avranno mai.

Per quanto mi costa ammetterlo, questo approccio funziona nel darti notevoli vantaggi. In generale, ci sono più soldi da fare. Più riconoscimenti. Più stabilità finanziaria.

Ma non posso evitare di sterzare nella filosofia qui, con una prospettiva personale. Per me, scegliere di essere parte del sistema è, se non “immorale” (una parola che non mi piace usare perché capisco che per ogni persona la moralità è differente), piuttosto deprimente. Non sceglierei questa soluzione perché mi piace lavorare per creare qualcosa di utile e bello per me e anche per le altre persone, piuttosto che solamente parassitare quello che gli altri producono.

Considera anche due importanti e più pratici “contro” di questa scelta. Lavorare come parte del sistema, ad esempio svolgendo un lavoro improduttivo per il governo, qualche media mainstream, o una corporazione bancaria, significa lavorare attivamente alla causa di questi produttori di problemi. E i problemi affliggeranno qualcuno di certo, prima o poi. Se non sarà questa generazione, saranno le prossime.

Anche se non te ne importa delle prossime generazioni, c’è un’ altra ragione per cui non raccomando unirsi al sistema come un buon modo di raggiungere la libertà: non ti pone in una posizione indipendente. Dipendi sempre da quella parte della popolazione che produce (beni e servizi concreti).

E poi, naturalmente, c’è una parte della popolazione che non potrai mai raggiungere nella tua missione parassitica, perché è molto elusiva. Sono quelli che scelgono di fare alla seguente maniera.

4. Uscire dal sistema

Sarai in grado di liberare te stesso se agisci individualmente, come un pesce piccolo e veloce.

uscire-dal-sistemaI pesci che adottano la reazione 1 (lamentarsi) resteranno nella rete per sempre, senza nemmeno provare a sfuggire dalla trappola.

I pesci che adottano la reazione 2 (combattere) sono pesci che provano a convincere gli altri pesci a spingere contro la rete, per distruggerla. Ma aggregandosi diventano come pesci grandi e lenti, che la rete tiene intrappolati anche più strettamente.

I pesci che adottano la reazione 3 (unirsi) stanno lavorando per i pescatori. Hanno bisogno di cercare prede, continuamente. A breve termine hanno alcuni benefici, ma a lungo termine essi, o le loro generazioni successive, soffriranno per i danni causati al mare.

I pesci che adottano la reazione 4 (uscire) sono una netta minoranza, agiscono individualmente, prendono il tracciato meno battuto, e sono quelli con le più alte percentuali di successo nel raggiungere la libertà.

Come uscire dal sistema

Sii piccolo e veloce. Sfrutta queste caratteristiche. Preoccupati di liberare te spesso prima. Non organizzarti ed evita di confrontare il sistema apertamente. Come primo passo, comincia col riconoscere gli errori che le altre persone stanno facendo.

Questo è importante, perché quei primi tre comportamenti che ho descritto sopra sono così diffusi, così tanta gente li adotta in reazione al sistema, che devi fare uno sforzo per realizzare che -non conta quante persone reagiscano in quei modi- non sono le strategie più intelligenti.

Il prossimo passo, devi realizzare che la cosa più valevole che puoi offrire, come persona, è il tuo lavoro. Quello che fai con il tuo tempo. E il tuo lavoro è quello che il sistema desidera veramente. Non sono i soldi: i capi del sistema sanno che i soldi, alla fine, sono solo un costrutto mentale. Loro vogliono i beni e i servizi che produci lavorando decine di ore a settimana in lavori noiosi, stressanti, duri, che vengono tassati pesantemente. Loro non voglio fare questi lavori, preferiscono che li faccia tu, e che tu metta sul mercato i beni/servizi risultanti in cambio di pochi pezzi di carta (che loro producono e controllano).

Molte persone glielo lasciano fare, ma tu puoi fare scelte diverse.

Viene spesso detto che in molti lavori impiegatizi paghi così tante tasse che finisci a lavorare 5-6 mesi all’ anno solo per nutrire il governo (che nutrirà, in cascata, i suoi alleati media e corporazioni), e solo il resto dell’ anno per te stesso. Non so se le proporzioni sono così cattive, ma mi sembrano vicine alla realtà. E io penso che sia troppo.

Non sei costretto a essere sfruttato in questa maniera. Apri gli occhi e vedrai alternative che usualmente la massa è troppo cieca per vedere. Puoi scegliere un lavoro che è tassato meno, specialmente di tipo imprenditoriale. Puoi generare reddito attraverso flussi passivi. Puoi trasferirti in un paese differente con istituzioni meno abusatrici.

Se lasci un lavoro che non ti piace, un lavoro che è pesantemente tassato da un governo che non fornisce alcun valore decente in cambio, ci sono degli effetti molto positivi.

Sottrai immediatamente una risorsa al sistema. Questo è davvero il danno più grande che puoi fargli, anche più che combattendolo attraverso l’azione politica. La linfa del sistema è il lavoro che i cittadini gli offrono. È il flusso di impiegati che si svegliano ogni mattina, bevono il caffè, si affrettano fuori di casa, si incolonnano nel traffico, e passano 8 ore al giorno producendo beni/servizi che verranno messi sul mercato per appena qualche pezzo di carta.

Ma cosa succederebbe se più e più persone abbandonassero questa routine, fino a raggiungere una massa critica? Il sistema collasserebbe per la fame. Questo non succederà presto probabilmente, ma distaccando te stesso da questo modello dai il tuo contributo in questa direzione. Nel frattempo, rimani concentrato sulla tua situazione personale.

Riconosci che quello che fai con il tuo tempo, il tuo “lavoro”, è un tesoro. Assicurati che questo tesoro consista in un’ attività creativa, che ti piace svolgere, che ti appaga, che produce valore concreto per i tuoi clienti. E assicurati di essere tu il principale beneficiario di questa attività, non i politici pigri o i banchieri che stampano rettangoli di carta.

Ricorda che non tutti i lavori sono tassati allo stesso livello: scegli quelli in cui il carico fiscale è più leggero allora. E se la situazione davvero diventa troppo oppressiva nel tuo paese, se è troppo difficile evitare di lavorare molti mesi l’anno per il sistema, allora vai a lavorare in un altro paese che ti permetta di prosperare. Vota con i tuoi piedi.

Agisci da solo, adesso, senza aspettare che gli altri si sveglino. Se cerchi di liberare tutti gli altri insieme a te, indiscriminatamente, diventerai grande e lento come le istituzioni da cui stai cercando di liberarti. Perderai il vantaggio di essere un pesce piccolo e veloce.

Non è un comportamento troppo egoistico?

Io penso che sia esattamente il contrario.

Non tutti quelli che vengono sfruttati dal sistema sono pronti per uscirne, e nuotare verso la libertà. Gran parte delle persone non lo vedono nemmeno il sistema, ne sentono solo il dolore. E tra quelli che lo vedono, molti insistono ad adottare le reazioni 1, 2 e 3.

Ma c’è una quantità di persone pronte per un passo successivo, che sono pronte per la libertà. Indica loro la strada, mostra loro come fai tu. Dare un esempio ispiratorio è decisamente la cosa più generosa che puoi fare!

Note: Per questo articolo sono stato ispirato dall’esperienza in Italia del “movimento cinque stelle”, il film the Matrix, l’ allegoria della caverna di Platone, e al solito dalle bellissime idee di Loren Howe e Harry Browne.

Correlati: Che cos’è il “sistema”?, A cosa serve la banca?

How to free yourself from the system

I observed that many people live their lives aware that there are several limitations to their freedom. For example, some extremely common limitations are the lack of free time, being trapped in an unfulfilling job, the financial scarcity due to taxes/mortgages.

how-to-free-yourself-from-the-system-frontMost of these people understand that the limitations exist because an oppressive entity exists, something usually referred to as “the system“. However, often the system is identified with the government only, while I think it’s important to take into account two other factors that are main parts of the problem as well: mainstream media and corporations. That’s why I wrote the previous article What is the system?, to help you see a complete picture of who is causing the limitations.

Now it’s time to search for solutions. Despite what chronic pessimists will tell you, freeing yourself from the system is possible. All it takes is to do things differently from the mass.

In fact, I am about to analyze a list of four different reactions to the system that people can have. What I want to show is that, while the first three reactions of this list are way more popular, a fourth option exists – one that very few people consider- and it “works” better than all the others.

1. Complaining, but keeping on being exploited

This is by far the most widespread reaction, I see this behavior all of the time.

It’s full of people who have strong negative feelings against the frontmen of the system (typically the politicians who are more exposed by the media), and who complain endlessly about their conduct.

These people express disappointment and disgust in every conversation related to the government’s decisions, grumble in front of the television, write angry posts in the social networks. But then, the next day they show up at work and slave on. By doing this, they actually nourish those same people they complain about.

In fact, the corrupted members of the government, media and corporations do not feed on people’s appreciacion: they feed on people’s work. They don’t care much about the insults, their ego is usually big enough. As long as those same people who insult them keep on showing up at work, providing them money (through the taxes) and especially goods and services (that they’d never want to provide working at unpleasant jobs), they’re perfectly fine.

A corrupted minister in the government will probably not resign for the affronts he receives in the social networks. A website of online news won’t stop its propaganda just because people accuse it to lie in the comments section. And the head of a corporation will not stop destroying the environment simply because people say she is immoral.

They will stop only when the citizens will stop this dual behavior of complaining about them and also funding them with their job.

Now, If you really like to complain, don’t worry: you are in good company. You can join the majority and complain everyday about how immoral the politicians are, and how outrageous their conduct is. You can feel satisfied of being brave enough to use a computer’s keyboard to insult your politicians via internet. Then you’re ready for another day of slavery. Just be aware of one thing: you’re in the group that makes the vital lymph of the system.

2. Fighting the system

Fighting the system is a second possible reaction. Not as popular as just complaining as most people do (preferably behind the screen of a computer), but it’s still an approach that is very appealing to many.

The desire to fight the system is a healthy indicator that some people don’t accept passively to be exploited by government, media and corporations. They understand that typing some insults in internet, or grumbling in front of the news, won’t serve any practical purpose. So they actively organize to produce change, and the main route they usually choose for pursuing this goal is politics.

Unfortunately, as “brave and generous” as this approach is generally considered, there are several reasons why I don’t consider it a smart option.

The first reason is that, if you decide to fight the system, you give away a lot of your personal time and energy -both limited and precious- in doing so. This time and energy are subtracted from the time/energy you could actually use to enjoy your freedom.

Many people decide to do the sacrifice anyway, because they feel they are fighting for others as well, but often they are just living in an utopia: the belief that their fellow citizens want to be freed, as much as they want.

If you’ll spend as many years as I did trying to free people from the different limitations caused by the system (for example explaining why most corporate jobs are modern forms of slavery, or contrasting the misinformation spread by the media), you will eventually conclude that a lot of people just don’t want to be free. They theorize about being free -yes- they will encourage you enthusiastically to fight, and they will even applaude you. But then they will search for a boss to work for.

For many people freedom is a beautiful theory, and they want it to stay like that: just a theory.

In addition, I don’t think that sacrificing your time/energy makes sense also because the decision to fight the system is based on a wrong assumption: that the system is exclusively localized in the trio government-media-corporations.

Of course, these structures are the three highest expressions of the system, and you should definitely keep a close eye on them. But the mindset of cheating and lying that make government-media-corporations such oppressive entities belongs also to the “common” citizens, the same citizens who encourage you to fight.

Usually, the main difference between many citizens and the politicians is that the politicians are up there, in positions of power, just because they’re more astute. But for the rest, those citizens cheat and lie in the same way, just on a smaller scale. So they applaude you if you fight for them -they’re happy, of course, if you help them not being exploited anymore- but they’re not so available to become virtuous themselves. Are you sure you want to sacrifice for them?

And last significant disadvantage: if you organize trying to knock down the system, if you adhere to a political party or some other structure, you gain size. If you become big, it will be easier for the system to notice you, and therefore it will defend itself, and it will attack you back.

I don’t deny that important victories can be achieved reacting this way. But I see a disproportion between these victories and the huge amount of resources (time/energy) that fighting the system requires you. This disproportion, to me, doesn’t resemble much like freedom.

3. Joining the system

If you can’t beat them, join them.” says a common proverb. It’s not arguable that by joining the system, even if just at the lower levels, you put yourself in a favorable position.

You can get a job in one of those institutions that produce little or no value for the society, and make a living by predating those who do produce value. For example, in my previous articles I explained that I consider the political and the banking estabilishments big circuses that consume huge amounts of resources and produce almost nothing.

You can enter these establishments and, without necessarily having to reach the top of their hierarchies, you will enjoy benefits that the workers who have similar job duties, but in different sectors, will never have.

As much as it costs me to admit it, this approach does work in giving you notable advantages. In genereal, there is more money to be made. More recognition. More financial stability.

But I can’t avoid to steer into phylosophy here, with a personal perspective. For me, chosing to be part of the system is, if not “immoral” (a word I don’t like to use, as I understand that for each person morality is different), quite depressing. I would not chose this solution because I like to work to create something useful and beautiful for me and for other people too, rather than just parasite what other people produce.

Consider also two more practical and important cons of this choice. Working as part of the system, for example by doing an unproductive job for the government, some mainstream media, or a banking corporation, means actively working to the cause of these trouble makers. And the troubles will affect someone for sure, sooner or later. If it’s not gonna be this generation, it’s gonna be the next ones.

Even if you don’t care about the next generations, there’s another reason why I don’t recommend joining the system as a good way to reach freedom: it doesn’t put you in an indipendent position. You always depend from that part of the population that does produce (concrete goods and services).

And then, of course, there is a part of the population that you can never reach in your parasitic mission, because they are very elusive. Those who react as follows.

4. Leaving the system

You will be able to free yourself if you act individually, like a small and fast fish.

leaving-the-systemThe fish that adopt the reaction 1 (complaining) will stay in the net forever, without even trying to escape the trap.

The fish that adopt the reaction 2 (fighting) are fish who try to convince other fish to push against the net, to destroy it. But by aggregating they become like big and slow fish, that the net keeps trapped even more tightly.

The fish that adopt the reaction 3 (joining) are working for the fishermen. They need to search for preys, continuously. In the short run they have some benefits, but in the long run they, or their successive generations, will suffer for the damages caused to the sea.

The fish that adopt the reaction 4 (leaving) are a net minority, they act individually, they take the less beaten track, and they are those with the highest rates of success in reaching freedom.

How to leave the system

Be small and fast. Take advantage of these characteristics. Take care of freeing yourself first. Don’t organize and avoid confronting the system openly. As a first step, start by recognizing the mistakes the other people are making.

This is important, because those first three behaviors that I described above are so widespread, so many people adopt them in reaction to the system, that you have to do an effort to realize that -no matter how many people react those ways- they are not the smartest strategies.

Next step, you have to realize that the most valuable thing you can offer, as a person, is your work. What you do with your time. And your work is what the system really craves. It’s not money: the heads of the system know that money, eventually, is just a mental construct. They want the goods and services you produce by working dozens of hours per week at boring, stressing, hard jobs that are heavily taxed. They don’t want to do those jobs, they prefer that you do them, and that you put on the market the resulting goods/services for few pieces of paper (that they produce and control).

Many people let them do it, but you can make different choices.

It’s often said that in most employee jobs you pay so many taxes that you end up working 5-6 month per year just to feed the government (that will feed, in cascade, its media and corporation allies), and only the rest of the year for yourself. I don’t know if the proportions are this bad, but they seem close to reality to me. And I think it’s too much.

You are not forced to be exploited this way. Open your eyes and you’ll see alternatives that the mass usually is too blind to see. You can chose a job which is taxed less, especially of entrepreneurial type. You can generate income through passive streams. You can move to a different country with less abusive institutions.

If you leave a job that you don’t enjoy, a job which is heavily taxed by a government that doesn’t provide any decent value in return, there are some really positive effetcs.

You immediately subtract a resource from the system. This is really the biggest damage you can do to it, even more than fighting it through political action. The lymph of the system is the work the citizens offer to it. It’s the flow of employees who wake up every morning, drink coffe, rush out of the house, get in the traffic queue, and spend 8 hours a day producing goods/services that the will be put on the market for just some pieces of paper.

But what would happen if more and more people would quit this routine, up to reaching a critical mass? The system would collapse for starvation. That’s not gonna happen soon probably, but by detaching yourself from this model you give your contribution in this direction. In the meanwhile, stay focused on your personal situation.

Recognize that what you do with your time, your “job”, is a treasure. Make sure that this treasure consists of a creative activity, that you enjoy doing, that fullfills you, that produces concrete value for your customers. And make sure you are the main beneficiary of this activity, not the lazy politicians or bankers who print paper rectangles.

Remember that not all the jobs are taxed at the same level: chose those in which the tax load is lighter then. And if the situation really gets too oppressive in your country, and it’s too difficult to avoid working many months per year for the system, then go working in another country that allows you to thrive. Vote with your feet.

Act alone, now, without waiting for the others to wake up. If you try to free everyone else with you, indiscriminately, you’ll become big and slow like the institutions you’re trying to free yourself from. You’ll lose the advantage of being the small and fast fish.

Isn’t it a too selfish behavior?

I think just the opposite is true.

Not everyone who is exploited by the system is ready to leave, and swim towards freedom. Most people don’t even see the system, just feel the pain. And among those who see the system, many insist in adopting the reactions 1, 2 and 3.

But there is a fraction of people who are ready for a further step, who are ready for freedom. Indicate them the way, show them how you make it. Giving an inspiring example is definitely the most generous thing you can do!

Notes: For this article I’ve been inspired by the experience in Italy of the “five star movement”, the movie the Matrix, the allegory of the cave by Plato, and as usual by the beautiful ideas of Loren Howe and Harry Browne.

Related: What is the “system”?

Sveltina col cactus

In una delle mie passeggiate senza meta a Barcellona, recentemente ho scoperto questo bel giardino chiamato Mossèn Costa i Llobera, dalle parti di Poble Sec. Tutto andava bene, finché tutto quel turgore vegetale mi ha fatto nascere nella testa delle strane voci.