Money, Sex, and Power

Roland Stahl
November, 2021

     Nothing new here – I’ve said it all before.  

     Money, like Sex, is an illustration of the Primary Mystery of Philosophy and Life.  Power is another one, but I think Money is the more primary, more abstract theophany.  To fully understand the meaning of Money, Sex, or Power is to see God.  I remember my early Statement on the founding of the Church of the Living Tree, in which I was thinking of some Authority to hold the Power in the world, vested, perhaps, in the Advocate of the Seminary of the Church of the Living Tree.  But my latest thinking has shifted to Money as the focus of attention.  Money is the éminence grise underlying Power.  Forget military expressions of Power – it’s all about the Money.  Whoever has the Money, has the Power.  The Chinese seem to have figured this out; perhaps the Americans haven’t.  

     I imagine a whole new definition, meaning, and system of this universal abstraction we call Money.  The present day expressions of monetary philosophy are distinctly Medieval.  The whole system of private banks and all money based on debt is a very primitive way of managing the energy of money.  I want to define the political Authority (vested for example in the Advocate of the Seminary of the Church of the Living Tree) as the source of Money.  What that would mean is that my hypothetical Advocate would create Money ad libitum, and use it to pay for all expenses, in pursuance of whatever policies the Advocate or Steward wishes to promote.  For example, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, parks, free farms, and local transit would all be directly underwritten in funding from the Advocate, as managed through the Bank.  In addition, a large army of tree planters would be put to work planting trees, under the direction of professionals in land use and forestry, according to priorities of importance.  Anyone who is otherwise unemployed could always be hired to plant trees.  The Bank, basically a huge computer system, would put out all of this money for all of these projects, along with any other activities that they wish to promote.  

     With the climate change emergency which is currently threatening our world, there should be no question of raising money to pay for the costs of ameliorating the effects of climate change.  An Advocate who creates Money as needed could simply do whatever needs to be done, and issue the Money to pay for it.  What makes the “money” have any value is that it must be used to pay for rent and taxes, and as much rent and taxes will be taken from the people as needed to maintain the value of the Money within its targeted range.  

     In my original presentation of ideas relating to all of this, to offset money expended I was counting just about entirely on a universal property tax as the simplest and most fundamental source and basis of wealth, the land of the earth, and the easiest to administer, worldwide.  In addition to this, I imagined a system of taxes or fines relating to any resource depletion or ecological degradation (e.g., carbon tax).  As I have explained previously, all “money” received from taxes and fines in this way would be simply extinguished, as it would only serve to regulate the value of the money disbursed.  I imagine that everyone would have an account at the Bank, with some universal identifier, hexa-decimal number for every individual on Earth (oh, yes – here is that terrifying meme that everyone must have a number).  Certainly any land owner who would have to pay rent would have to have an account at the Bank, as would anyone receiving funds from the Bank for any reason.  Instead of a multitude of banks and bankcards and endless numbers, everyone could simply have a single number and a single account card and I.D., perhaps with a biometric identifier to be sure that the cardholder is the authorized holder of the account.  

     This account could be used for all purchases from anywhere, to pay fines and taxes, and also to receive funds from the Bank or from any other person.  Whenever you buy anything from any merchant, they would have a card reading machine through which you could transfer funds directly, customer to vendor.  You could also use any of these machines to access your account, send or receive money to or from anyone, see balances, charges, etc.  All money would transfer at once, like a debit card, directly from customer to vendor, or from employer to worker.  Suddenly a whole whirlwind of financial transactions through private banks would all become unnecessary, as all transactions would happen immediately.  

     All of this assumes, of course, that you have a positive balance on your account.  But what if you default?  Well, if you run out of money, of course the Bank would allow some grace period carrying a negative balance before stopping the card.  But, finally, there must come a point at which the Bank stops authorizing payment for charges, at which point the holder of the card and the account can either live with friends or relatives, with their support, or else go to live on one of the Free Farms, where everyone is welcome to live for free, all paid for by the Church.  

     There would be a lot less criminal behavior, since it would no longer be necessary.  Who wouldn’t rather just go to the Free Farm than commit criminal or violent acts to get food or money or a place to sleep at night?  And for most of those charged with criminal behavior, they could simply live at a special Free Farm designed for that purpose, like Free Farms dedicated to single parents or other special groups.  Anyone requiring greater constraint than that would either be social failures or insane (pretty much the same thing), and would be treated compassionately as such.  But a safe and free resting place of last resort must be made available to everyone on the planet who is still alive.  This ultimate cushion would relieve a lot of the stress and social problems plaguing people all over the world.  Just the relief of food insecurity would obviate the need for most wars.  

     The Bank could make automatic deposits to the accounts of persons with special needs – the elderly, the sick or injured, mothers, even children up to a certain age could receive a regular stipend.  But then, as soon as you leave school, the stipend would cease, and you must earn your keep until you are old or infirm.  

     Employers would always look to the Free Farms to find people looking for a place to get back into the world again, so the Free Farms wouldn’t just be modern debtor’s prisons, with no way out.  If someone goes bankrupt, they probably need more than a loan – they need to make some wholly new arrangements about their life.  Going to a Free Farm and living in close social conditions of dormitories and cafeterias would provide people with an opportunity to form new social connections and new directions.  

     In terms of Power and Control, if the Bank were able to dispense money as needed, they would be more omnipotent than Lily Tomlin and The Phone Company [okay – my jokes date me – ask your grandparents].  And so, instead of relying upon maintaining some big arsenal of weapons and bombs to maintain social order, the power to direct Money in any direction, would exercise control over just about every important aspect of life.  There will be very little need for police forces, and none at all for armies and warfare.  It’s another example that the pen is mightier than the sword.  

     The amount of money that must be taken from the money supply every year to maintain the value of the currency doesn’t all need to come from rent, or from taxes on property.  A tax on total wealth could replace current taxes on income; i.e., the meaning of property would be expanded to include all sources of wealth, so it is total wealth that would be taxed, not just income or real estate.  

     [Metaphysical coffee break:  It is the nature of Money that it rises up in a pyramid formation, with the value distributed according to the principle that it funnels ever upwards to the Few wealthy at the top and the Many poor at the bottom.  Ever see this pattern before, anywhere?  It is misleading to say that this is a picture of God – Heraclitus knew what he was saying when he said that nothing could be defined without its opposite.  So you might say that this pattern of Money illustrates not only God, but God and the Devil.  In order to know God, you must know Error.]

     So, if you look at the world from the perspective of the Church of the Living Tree, you could easily take all of the funds needed to balance the equity books exclusively from the ranks of the most wealthy.  The most wealthy are the ones who can most easily pay these taxes, and they should be willing to – after all, anyone billed for taxation at that very rarified altitude of wealth must be among the wealthiest people on the planet (and wealth equals power and privilege), and should pay the tax graciously.  The traditional tax on real estate would serve to spread out the remaining tax among the less wealthy.  The poor receive services and pay nothing.  The middle classes pay nothing except a tax on property.  The wealthy class pays most of the tax burden required to offset all expenditure of the Church.  

     Everything discussed so far, as in the overview of the Church of the Living Tree, omits entirely all of the commercial activity otherwise going on, which is none of the Church’s business.  There are commercial projects going on all the time, all over the world, and, with the exception of the fees and fines relating to damaging our environment, the Church would have no interest in any interference with the free management of anyone’s commercial projects, or other affairs.  That is, the Government would only exist to provide services, leaving everyone perfectly free to live their lives as they wish.  

     My whole plan to re-organize the social, economic, and political arrangements of the Earth is, of course, fundamentally authoritarian, which is as widely considered as unquestionably bad as free market democracy is considered unquestionably good.  Well, free market democracy and other incarnations of the Law of the Jungle has been ravaging our world for millennia, and one candidate for the fundamental problem underlying civilization is the absence of any final source of authority, leaving the Earth exposed to the ravages of that famous law of the jungle.  The solution to this problem is to understand that the problem is not “authority” itself, but the source of that authority.  In theological terms, the chaos on our planet which has been increasingly ravaging our fragile earth these past few centuries is a consequences of the loss of the presence and influence of God.  What I want to do is to establish an institution that will encourage the manifestation of an avatar of God on Earth.  Authority must come from God, and there must be some institution that could vest this authority in a spokesperson (“Advocate”) who would incarnate the word of God for the benefit of the planet.  

     A Seminary of students representing an alchemical vessel would be sure to produce the desired Avatar of God – it is a direct expression of classical magic, which any student of magic or Hermetic philosophy should understand.  If such a Seminary were to be established, I would expect that, after about twenty years, the incarnation of an Avatar of God would be immediately obvious to everyone, and the world would be transformed on a dime as soon as God returns to the Earth.  Kingdom of God?  Return of the King?  Garden of Eden?  We must return to the Garden.  Plant those Trees !

     All of the most common causes of human misery could be transcended, such as hunger, poverty, and ill health.  No one would have to lie or steal or assault anyone – if you run out of luck and/or money, just go to the Free Farm and retire for a while, until something else comes along.  Health is the greatest good, of course, and the least we can do is to make health services free.  

     Most of the money required to pay for all of the expenditures of the Bank could probably come from a tax on a small group of the wealthiest persons on the planet, since the operation of private commercial enterprises consumes such a large part of the world’s energy.  If most of the funds needed to offset expenses could come from the extremely wealthy, then lower rates could apply to the tax on property, reducing the burden of taxes for the less wealthy.  

     From an abstracted view, I could imagine a whole new world going forward with natural trees and gardens as the basis of the health of the Earth.  We might see the rapidly diminishing use of fossil fuels, a transition to electric vehicles, and the rapid evolution toward the sustainable and greener sources of power like solar and wind.  I want to see ocean going sailboats instead of airplanes.  I am sure that new technological designs utilizing both wind power and solar energy could produce very fast and efficient boats to replace the use of airplanes.  Bicycles must replace the motorcar for most uses, and fresh food must be grown locally.  

     And we can see our poor ravaged and denuded Mother Earth finally growing a new suit of clothes.  All of the Trees which have been lost on our planet must be re-grown, and the whole planet must be cultivated as a garden.  

     And life could go on, merrily.  Within one or two thousand years we might be able to repair much of the damage caused by the last few generations of humanity.  Our planet, drying out, burning up, and blowing away, might be nourished back to health and vitality by supporting living systems instead of rape and pillage.  Instead of the pattern of alternating droughts and floods, we must have healthy forests of Trees to maintain the ecology of our planet, and to provide us with food.  

     Nuts.  And this shall be to you for food.  It’s a better way than to eat the flesh of animals.

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