Timothy Leary, the Fed, and me


I was talking to a friend today who is concerned about his job. I am currently not working by choice, and as previous posts have spoken to, enjoying the chance to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I believe this is the right thing for me right now, but the more I follow what is happening in the world, the more I think this is the right choice generally. It was over 40 years ago that Timothy Leary spoke his famous quotation: “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” – and I think this best expresses my world view. I am not sure I support the values of the world these days. Prosperity has created a profound sense of entitlement, especially among those who have benefitted disproportionately.

The ethos of more is more is everywhere, and this system of values is being pushed against its limits by the contraints that a debt based economic system must invariably reach. But we don’t do denouement very well any more and we have enlisted new resources to keep the game going. I read an article yesterday that last year 61% of the $1.4 trillion US deficit was “financed” by the Federal Reserve – that is not funded at all, but rather made possible by the printing of money. This process of “quantitative easing” that began in 2009 has now added something like $2 trillion of money created out of nothing to the global economy. Why? Because we can’t countenance the concept of reduced consumption. So those dollars swirl around the world, mix with the ethos of more, and despite all appearances, we are deeper in trouble than we ever were before. A prosperity that is truly an illusion, except now, nearly no one understands whats going on. When you do, maybe you are like me and think about Leary’s quotation, and how you want to live amid all this insanity.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to flatter myself with a sense of economic or sociological clairvoyance, but I do know what my gut reaction is. Drop out. Live simply. Make things. I don’t know if these things will bring me happiness but releasing myself from the obsession of money, of acquiring, of entitlement, feels unbelievably freeing. The bemusement that friends and family regard me with only serves to edify this sense. My bohemianism will take some work. I still have credit cards and a car. Part of me still wishes I owned a (paid for) house. But those things are peripheral, ephemeral. They are nothing compared to a satisfactory bout of writing, working on an art project, volunteering or cooking a simple meal for a friend. Is this enough to sustain a “life”? More than enough. It is through these things that a sense of fullness comes for me, and isn’t that what we all seek with our state-sponsored, bloated lines of credit, at the mall?

Whew – that was a lot today but my mind has been dwelling on this theme a lot lately, and part of the purpose of this blog was to look at these ideas of “truth” out there, for me as much as for anyone who might be reading this. I feel better already.


About Tom Seeks Equanimity

Early 40s gay guy trying to make some changes in his life. Work in field of public transit as a project manager. Do some creative stuff too.
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