The Gifting Experience

An amazing gifting phenomenon emerged during the occupation of Zuccotti Park (Liberty Square) in which strangers spontaneously organized themselves to provide food and shelter to anyone in need.  This organic emergence of mass generosity flowered for two months amidst the sky scrappers of multi-national banks and the cynicism of abused souls who looked upon the ‘occupation’ as an unsanitary oddity.

While it may seem odd to the mainstream personality that people would work night and day to feed, cloth, shelter and secure each other without receiving any type of financial compensation, to those who participated in the process of occupation, nothing could be more natural – or rewarding.

Mainstream society is build on the assumption that “resources are scarce” and that “incentives drive decision-making”, but gifting society see things differently.  Gifting societies assume essential resources such as sunlight, water, food and shelter are abundant (but possibly mis-allocated) and that personal passion drives decision-making.  The assumption of abundance allows people in gifting societies to escape the crippling fear of poverty that most people in mainstream society experience on a day to day basis.  When people let go of their fear of poverty, they can begin to embrace their true passions, but the transition isn’t always smooth – in fact it can be quite frightening.

The occupation of Zuccotti Park frightened many people not because it was unsanitary or dangerous, but because it showed people that another world is not only possible, but practical – and may ever provide better services at lower costs. Everyday that the occupation provided shelter to hundreds, food to thousands and entertainment to millions, was a day that the mainstream world-view was not only challenged, but replaced for something more interesting and authentic.

The original occupation of Wall Street is over, but the gifting society that spontaneously emerged out of it is not.  Those involved in the occupation experienced, for a few short months, a society free from money, coercion and hierarchy.  Occupy activists are not going back.  In fact, they’re determined to recreate the experience and spread it far and wide.

The mission of PermaBank is to give people the tools they need to engage in and spread the experience of gifting.  Our first feature is a simple gifts/wishes application in which people “offer a gift” or “make a wish.”

All of PermaBank’s code is free/libre/opensource software designed, developed and deployed by folks from the New York General Assemblies Technology Operations Group.  Check out our other projects and please please please let us know if you’d like to get involved in the PermaBank project.  We need your unique gifts, seriously!

…Solutions through Solidarity through Solutions through Solidarity…

Trust People, Not Words

If there is one thing I learned growing up the child of ‘branding professionals’ it’s that words can’t be trusted because clever people are willing to twist their meaning to meet their client’s demands.  I believe this simple fact is responsible for much confusion throughout human history.

There is a defense against the manipulation of meaning and it’s simply to stop trusting words and start trusting people.  This is a defense the Eastern masters have been practicing for thousands of years.

Before discounting this approach to life as impractical, ask yourself this question: how can people lie without using words?  All people can do is act.  Your only task is interpreting that action.  This becomes easier as you develop preferences.

I prefer people with the following qualities:

  1. Honest – Openness – Transparency: Are you willing to teach me what you do best?
  2. Dignity – Integrity – Localism: Are you acting voluntarily and with authenticity?
  3. Passion – Energy – Love: Do you feel like you’re exactly where you’re meant to be?

A person or brand can use whatever lovely language they like, but if their actions aren’t embodying these qualities, they’re wasting my time and their own.

Life is too short to be afraid of yourself.