Rudolf Steiner spoke of some very odd things, but then, these things he spoke of are only odd because most people haven’t a clue what he was banging on about.
I want to look at the nature of what Rudolf Steiner termed ‘Gift Money’. This is part of how humans can express themselves, should they want to. Should, that is, they be able to. It is a rare being today who understands what freedom truly is (1), leave alone comprehends the consequences of it (2). People today only understand freedom from within the constraints of their own ability to perceive. This is one example of it.
One of the concepts Rudolf Steiner put forward was the threefold nature of money – which is but another expression of the threefold nature of consciousness itself. That is to say, thinking, feeling and willing. These are three realms wherein we can experience both ourselves and the world around us. Anything that exists will be describable using these parameters. After all, this is what we are capable of seeing, and it is the only way we are able to see when here on earth with ‘normal’ consciousness. As mentioned in a previous post, Perry Marshall’s ‘Tactical Triangle’ is but one expression of this absolute in human terms: the threefold manner in which our consciousness expresses itself.
Because as with all people on a low income, I received a gift from the local churches in my parish. Now, a few years ago, I noticed that each year the amount they gave was reduced by five euros. This told me that they were discriminating against me, albeit in a manner that they must have thought right and proper.
But what is right and proper does not qualify as freedom. Not by a long shot. If they reduce something on account of a lapse of time, that implies they value the material aspect – in this instance, time – over their generosity. A gift in the truest sense of the word it is not.
Last year, I sent the letter back, stating the above reasons as to why I did not wish to receive their money. In our day and age, that which is not given freely is not given properly; that is to say, they are expecting something in return. Even if this is only the feeling that they are doing good in our society. They are doing no more good than the Pharisees did when they gave Judas his thirty pieces of silver.
In our day and age, it really has come down to ‘either – or’ and there is no escaping this because human society is now driving itself backwards, as it were, and it is this dichotomy that this has eventually led us to.
Nevertheless, they live in the illusion that they have done good.
I was also living in an illusion. Not hard here in Holland where people say things that you want to hear. The illusion is dispelled when they don’t turn up on the day they agreed to. The painter is turning up today, by the way. Eight days late. No matter, his boss is utterly unaware of our agreement and probably had him doing other things instead of attending to the things he so blithely agreed to. That I myself have a meeting planned in Amersfoort this afternoon means nothing to him: his needs come first.
I am but the customer.
I am here to receive his beneficence whether I like it or not.
Because yesterday there was an envelope containing the same present from my local community of churches. My heart sank. It told me that for all my trying to get myself removed from their register, they had not listened.
I intended sending the envelope back, unopened. On it I wrote, in Dutch, “God hears my prayers, Christians ignore them.” Only my question is, in the light of my experience: would they take any notice? Like my painter and my housing association: who am I to decide on such things? After all, this is not my money being given out, I must stand to attention, click my heels and perform the Roman salute in obedience.
Those of you who know me at all, know that I despise such things, and I truly despise such people who either organize these things or willingly engage with them. I do so because they are not working out of freedom. Not that freedom is actually that hard to bring into your life – a forthcoming post on another of Rudolf Steiner’s idiotic ideas will cover that aspect. The point is that in performing a truly free act, one firstly cannot expect anything from performing it. No salutes, no obedience, leave alone any thanks.
I assure you: in our day and age, perform a free act and you can expect people to spit on you.
Martin Luther knew this: he didn’t translate the bible because he wanted applause. He did it so that people could read it in their own language. That was a free act if ever there was. If you want proof of his veracity – and remember that even his name speaks of ‘Truth’ for Luther is an old word for it in the Saxon tongues – he spoke that “If I knew the world would end in a few hours, I would still plant my apple tree.” This speaks of something that is key to the nature of freedom: engaging in the act itself is reward enough. There are areas in my life where this is also true; and I must emphasize that in a life of duty to other humans in our society, it can only be a small part of our lives. I described this phenomenon in my post, ‘A Cerebral Flowering.’
Those who give without listening to those who would bid them not to are clearly going against the will of the bidder. Me. In our day and age, that means one thing and one thing only: it is an act of evil. In our day and age we have collectively forced our societies into a situation where we either do good – or we fall short of doing that good.
I will add that those who listen to their customers will find that their business is beating the odds. In a world economy pulled down by the collective effect of too many businesses ignoring this simple fact, too many good businesses are failing too.
My own was one of them.
What Can I Do About It?
What indeed! The most frustrating part of living in today’s society is that people disregard the words of others and regard only that which they must. The people in the administrative centre in Zeist were given no choices as to how this so-called gift money would be distributed. They based their decisions on the amount of income a person receives and leaves it at that. There are no other options available to them. The Churches have issued their edicts in the way a well meaning Priest would condemn Martin Luther to be burned at the stake.
Which, by the way, they intended to.
Christian charity existed even then!
No: talking with these people will do no good. They are not allowed to listen, and having a life of being told not to listen, have forgotten how to do it. Another road to dementia. There is no point in banging on the cages they have formed around themselves, for that would only drive them mad (2). There is no way out for them.
There is no solution for me.
So, I return to Rudolf Steiner. His concept of gift money is money freely given. And like forgiveness, is a balm. Forgiveness is the truest act of freedom, in that you cannot forgive and expect a person to thank you. The Syrian Army knows that: they forgave the terrorists in Aleppo and the terrorists thanked them by dropping bombs on them. During a cease-fire that these terrorists had agreed to. Such is the nature of modern society.
But there is another dimension to all this: if the money is given unfreely, as is the case in the money I was handed, for I cannot say it was given, can I? Not after all that has been said. This money is unclean, for it has been given in a way that has no respect for other humans. Freely given money expects nothing and demands nothing – and whilst ostensibly it fulfilled these terms, the manner in which it was given unveiled their true motives.
Money that has been given under duress, or through any other greedy motive, can be cleansed by giving it away.
I doubt that they have tracked the gift card they gave me, but just in case they do, I will put the card in the appropriate supermarket in some distant part of the Netherlands for somebody to find. I don’t mind who finds it, I don’t mind how they use it. How can I, if I have left it for someone to stumble on? That money will be transformed from ‘Purchase Money’ to ‘Gift Money’ and thereby redeemed.
I only hope that they accept it in full freedom.
(1) This is discussed in my last post, Two Portraits.
(2) This is discussed in my post, Live Wires.