Posts Tagged ‘Mindful Consuming’

In Evaluating Communards I was a bit dismissive about the P2P process, but on reflection it has great potential for the mindful consumer. I am going to describe how it might work in Thailand, particularly as there are a group of digital nomads in Chiang Mai.

One focus of mindful consuming is organic food. There is good potential for an organic food network in Thailand because there is a plant-based diet called cheewajit, and people following this diet would love access to an organised network of organic food.

At the same time in my town there has recently appeared a farmers’ market, and I have a feeling it is being promoted by the military government.

Thailand is a large country and has distinctive growing regions, rice in Issan, root veg in the North and fruit and leafy veg in the South. As far as I can gather there are two main distribution centres, Chiang Mai in the North and Bangkok in the South. This is probably a gross simplification but it will suffice for an initial proposal. Root veg from the North appear in markets down South, and fruit from the South appears in the North; existing distribution deals with this – somehow. I live in Eastern Thailand (in one sense the South), and local farmers take their produce to distributors who weigh and then pay them; somehow it is then distributed elsewhere.

In Bangkok they have an organic distribution network of sorts. People pay and a box of organic veg is delivered to them. Because the people have paid already, farmers are prepared to grow proper vegetables for that distribution. Together with farmers’ markets in the more affluent areas like mine there is tremendous potential for the mindful consuming of organic veg to be organised.

It is my understanding that many Thai farmers have a patch of organic veg for family, the farmers understand how much pesticide they are forced to use for distribution so they have an organic patch for family use. At the same time the Bangkok network managed to tap into farmers willing to grow more organic if there was a demand. P2P could tap into that demand.

Suppose there was some kind of noticeboard which advertised organic veg. People could order from this noticeboard, and goods could be despatched from distribution centres in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Through Line people could advise the notice board of what they have available to sell and could deliver to the central distribution centres. It is done now so it could be investigated as to what changes were needed for the organic produce to fit into the noticeboard. If the noticeboard could liaise with existing limited infrastructure there is potential for an organic food mindful consuming network in Thailand.

In addition I’m a big fan of community currencies. It seems to me that such a P2P community could use a community currency. Depending on trust such a scheme could just be held online, and money would return to being the facilitator of trade or barter. I am not a user of Bitcoin, not do I understadn whether those that have a go at Bitcoing have a vested interest. But a P2P currency monitored successfuly would be a great benefit from P2P

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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In Brad’s latest blog he discusses amongst others monasticism:-

“Yet Nishijima Roshi said that retreats lasting more than three days removed a person too much from what he called “daily life” and strongly advised his monks against participating in such practices, let alone making lifelong commitments to monastic communities. Instead, he wanted his monks to integrate their practice fully into their daily lives in the work-a-day world.”

This is noble but for me it raises two issues:-

• Monastic Training
• Mindful consuming in Daily Life

On monastic training there are two sides, for the monk themselves and the lay they teach. Perhaps the monastic life is the most fulfilling it can be for that monk, developing her/himself and teaching others the Dhamma.

A monastery provides a place of learning and a place for retreats, these are both necessary for those in daily life. I note both of these points on monastic training, am judging from a distance and don’t feel I can say too much on these as it has to be a personal decision.

On mindful consuming in daily life I want to address the question of 1%-world. For most nowadays daily life means contributing to 1%-world. Most jobs are working for the 1%, and most consuming is also consuming produce made by the 1%. And what does the 1% do? Anything to make a profit – including starting wars. When a “monk” makes a noble decision to go back to daily life, he is making a decision to contribute to 1%-world and all its implications.

Can we then choose not to be a part of daily life in 1%-world? Off-the-grid communes. Amongst other things that Occupy did was to start organic communes, I think. Anyway that is what I mean – a commune in which people work for themselves and try to trade with like-minded individuals. Ideally this would be barter, (or even a community currency) but any monetary involvement with the currencies of 1%-world should be limited.

Monastic communities do not usually consider the economic implications of monastic existence as it is usually about the Dhamma or faith. In other words their priority is the teaching and they involve themselves with 1%-world to obtain the finance to continue their teachings. In this I feel there should be questioning, how much is their economic involvement contributing to the global damage caused by 1%-world? Can they fund their teaching in ways that limit their involvement with 1%-world?

In this day and age where economic relations govern all and are controlled by people who cause such suffering – the 1%, is it acceptable for monks to separate themselves from the economic implications of their lifestyle? In terms of seeing what-is-what, how much should they be presenting awareness of 1%-world?

And in the end what is the noble purpose of returning to daily life about? Helping people cope with life, helping people cope with the conflicts that are caused by working in 1%-world. I am no expert on communes either but coping with human frailty in relationship has got to be easier than dealing with the overpowering suppression of 1%-world to prevent a compassionate and caring society.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.