- Why are you interested in politics anyway? You don't seem the type.
- I wanted to understand my family.
- Are your family involved in politics?
- No, they are politics. I needed politics to explain them.
I'm reading this famous, frightening, 500 page 19th century novel by
Gissing, "New Grub Street", about writers whose lives are destroyed or
corrupted by money.
- So nothing's changed.
- What's changed
is that any other way is not even thought of. To resist is considered
crazy. My family always considered me crazy.
- So forget them
Among other, let's say political things he did my brother stole a small
inheritance. I let him. But then came the speculator's crash,
redistribution of wealth from everyone else to the rich, throwing people
out of work. The money he took became more important.
- Accept it and move on.
- Or not accept it and try to get the money.
- I put the story on the internet where anyone searching for my brother's business will see it. (Legal Crime)
- And what did that accomplish?
- Your brother didn't care?
The rich don't make money by being honest, and don't have much respect
for the truth, for the power of truth to take away their money. They
don't pay attention to the truth.
- Interesting. You're waiting until what you wrote affects his business.
- Yes. If that happens. Maybe no one cares.
- Where do politics come in?
- Trying to understand how this idea that only money is real came to be my family's religion.
- Hasn't it always been for most people?
No. In "New Grub Street" everything else - love, art, friendship is
destroyed by putting money first: the point of writing the book was to
show this was wrong.
- How is it wrong if people have no choice?
If that is the way the world is going? Now reading the book it shows it
is right. That's why it frightens you. If you don't think of money
- Fine, let it go on being a guilty necessity. I want to be able to clearly say it is not good.
- Good luck!
- You think it's not possible?
- Eight billion people on our planet and you are thinking like an ancient Greek slave owning aristocrat.
I am thinking what is possible here in this time and this place for
this particular people, not everyone in this period of history.
- Everyone is subject to history, to the pressure of the times.
- Not equally. Sometimes not at all.
- But what do you want to do? If you don't chase money you'll die. Your 500 pages should have convinced you.
- I want to be able to talk about these things in a way that allows things to change.
- How can talk change things?
- Because things stay as they are because people keep talking in the same way about them.
- Because people don't think they can be different.
- Yes. To think they can be different they have to hear different ways of talking about them which are just as realistic.
How can that be when the other conditions don't exist? Writing about
them doesn't make them exist. That's what you are talking about, right?
The story you sent me?
- Have you read it?
- I didn't have time. I glanced at it.
- I'll summarize. You'll never read it anyway. (The Technology Of Good)
- I might. But save me the trouble.
- I took the three parts of the soul from the ancient Greek slave owning aristocratic times.
- So I was right, you're trying to revive those dead, outdated ideas.
No. I wanted to show that our times have already revived those dead
outdated ideas, but only one part of them, basing all of life on the
desiring, the accumulating, the possessing part, at the expense of the
reasoning and the passionate, the beautiful and the courageous parts.
- Just a lot of words.
- It's a summary. The argument is in the story.
- What good is the summary then?
To show that the present form of our society is inessential. That there
is no necessity behind it, not historical, not cultural, not
evolutionary, and not anti-revolutionary.
- Just because you split character into three parts?
- It is not me who has done it, but history.
- You said there was no historical necessity.
There's not. We're caught in something arbitrary. Something not good,
and something that can be different. The idea that history is
irresistible depends on limiting it to a single form, and saying that
aspect of ourselves is what is determining and nothing else. When you
admit that other things than acquiring and desiring determine history,
history becomes far too complex to talk about having any clear destiny.(1)
- And too complex to talk about at a cafe. Let's go.
- So go on.
- With the argument? In all the noise of the street?
- Some people think better resisting distraction.
- And you're one of them.
- Yes. Tell me. How are you going to save the world?
- You mean, how are ideas, if they were ever put into effect, going to save the world.
- What ideas?
- There are the eight billion, and then again, there is you and me. We're good guys, right?
- Speak for yourself.
No, I will speak for you too. I know I can. The problem with the
eight billion is I don't know what to say about them. I've been
thinking about what the internet can offer.
- To make people known to each other: feedback scores, ratings, reputation?
- But not just about money. About doing things, about inventing and thinking.
- You want the internet to keep track of these things.
- Any idea how?
- Let's take it one by one. I've told you about the Bayshare start-up.
- Remind me.
- The idea is people get mixed up in each others ownership of everyday items they put up for sale at auction. (Bayshare)
- I remember.
That's the desiring, possession part. Imagine then a social network
that sent people to each other as possible partners in new ventures, and
lead members to the necessary resources. That would serve the bold,
creative part of ourselves. (Entrepreneurs Of Our Lives Together) And imagine another site that allowed everyone to exchange promises with each other.
- That I don't get.
A promise to provide a service, or give something, is a kind of money.
On this social network people could buy and sell these promises, trade
them with each other, and use them to buy actual goods and services in
the real world. (The Promise Bank)- That's wonderful. Would it work? (2)
- It's old news. It was the only form of money in the U.S. before the Federal Reserve Bank was established.
- Then you're serious?
- I'm just talking.
- You can't do anything without money.
- I can talk.
"The reason there are classes such as 'the aristocrats', 'the rich',
'big business' is not because some demonic force of history wants to
play a joke on us. Rather, such classes of people who don't tell the
truth,don't listen to the truth exist only because almost no one else
tells the truth either. Everyone has agreed to play the game of
evaluating what is probable, what will likely be accepted, what the
successful say to get the job, make the sale, seduce the mate. Truth has
a very minor role to play in that game. Everyone has been convinced
that it is the only game in town, and that they have a chance to win
too, even if it is no better than a lottery. In the choice of public
officials, people admire, feel much closer to, have more confidence in
and understand better, not those who actually have ability to do the
job, but rather those who are a great success at playing the game they
themselves dream of succeeding at." (From How To Talk To Liars)
2) The Promise Bank (now open)