Money as gift vs monetizing our gifts

This piece is written building on my previous two posts - Confessions of a broke change agent  &  Mobilizing imaginal cells

This is an inquiry I have been in for some time. More and more we are seeing the rise of a sharing culture in the world. Thanks to being globally connected now, and facing the same challenges all around the world, we are waking up to the potential of sharing information, resources, ideas, networks, and more. Open source everything is springing up all around the world, from open source software, to time banks, to skill-share to wikipedia to ride-share.

Yet, when it comes to money, we are still fearful, we are still hesitant. In most cases we’re willing to share our time, our ideas, our presence but not so much the money. There’s still such complex social and emotional baggage around it. It’s almost the pinnacle of our attachment to our separation, a kind of primitive survival fear and all the social construct – assumptions and beliefs – around money – If I have money, I am powerful. If I don’t have any, I am a failure.

The crowdfunding phenomenon definitely opened the pathway to evolve & heal this pattern and offered us a way to support one another financially in creating stuff. But it needs to go further than project-based crowdfunding. It was only the beginning of what’s possible…

At the edge of the new world, while we’re still in between worlds, instead of deconstructing money and mainstream economics, even the edge-walkers coming up with new principles and structures to shift systems of all kinds, tend to monetize the brain-power and innovative services. Some feel that they have to, to survive. Some, I guess, just love monetizing.

I am not against money, I don’t think money is evil. I don’t have problem with people going that direction, or monetizing their services as long as they are in alignment with the wholeness of the Earth and life. But when I look at the world, where we are and what we are facing as humanity, monetizing is not my primary concern. What calls our attention is huge and we are called back to the essentials of living and co-existing with other beings on this animated Earth in a radically different way. In the modern world, we have been continuously diminishing our ability to sustain ourselves and the organism that give us life in the first place.

At the critical point where we stand, the pendulum can swing in any direction, and the new story is really up to us. I do not choose to monetize my gifts to the world. I offer and will continue offering my gifts regardless, whether they are considered ‘monetizable‘ or not. I will only fine-tune my gifts based on increasing my joy in offering those gifts as well as to be in greater service to the whole. I will not fine-tune my gifts to “monetize” them.

Nick Jankel, founder of wecreate commented to my original post on this topic:

My own experience of 8 years on the edge of the transformation (personal and global) is that meta-innovators have a tough time unless they are institutional. Money will flow to social entrepreneurs who have a sexy, one-line projects (crowd-funded or foundation-funded) but these projects almost invariably manage the symptoms and avoid tackling the origins and deep causes. The world needs us deep layer be-ers / do-ers but the economy doesn’t know how to value us. Neither does anyone else! That is fine if you made it to MIT, the New Yorker or the billionaire club in a former avatar. But for those of us who wake up early in life, – and literally cannot work for the system that kills anymore – it is a long, long, long looooooong heroes journey. I am just grateful that I get to walk at all – and with such exemplary folk. Bright light ahead – I sense the sea change is a-comin’ and networked thinkers and agents of transformation will become valued above all else. As Sartre urged – whether this is true or not matters less than if we act from this place.”

To shape things to monetize them, in my humble opinion, is repeating the old pattern of an old economic system which is not really about providing for needs but concerned about growth and profits. Charles Eisenstein puts it nicely in this article:

Economic growth turns social reciprocity and gift relationships (two components of Gross National Happiness) into paid services. It converts pristine ecosystems into sources of timber or minerals. It converts silence into noise, starry skies into urban lights, kitchen gardens into supermarket purchases, mom’s cooking into fast food takeout. It replaces the village storyteller with the TV cartoon, mothering with day care, outdoor play with video games. A society that still has these former things intact, and meets its needs without much money, is called, by economists, an “undeveloped market.” The process of liquidating social and natural capital is called “development.” 

I am more interested in designing and creating what will sustain me, you, us, and next seven generations.

My interest in this conversation here is how we can share/re-distribute wealth/abundance/resources in a way that will accelerate the clumping & clustering of imaginal cells as well as enhancing the well-being and capacity of the individual imaginal cells.

I am not interested how to measure the capacity and authenticity of imaginal cells, whether or not they will deliver something of a benefit to the funders or not, etc. And why anyone should gift anyone if they are not getting a return. And why not? There are millions of good reasons. I am convinced and don’t want to argue why it is not possible. I am past that point in the conversation.

What I am suggesting here is, whether we can create a container to create a flow of resources – including money – from those who have excess and are looking for venues to invest (not only for their own benefit or return) as a gift based on trust, dare I say, intuition, imagination. Can we build friendships, relationships, partnerships, networks across the globe based on gifting, abundance, trust, co-creation that will mobilize a generation of people that will turn things around?

I have a model in my mind and I want to think about this further. I believe in gift culture and in gift economy. Well, at the end of the day, whether you and I believe in it or not, it will save our bottoms, when shift hits the fan. I am pretty sure about that!

If you are intrigued and would like to join a constructive/possibility-oriented conversation about this, get in touch, leave a comment. I am not interested in conversations whether this is possible or not in the current system. Do only get in touch if you see and feel it’s possible.


* First photo taken from 




  • [...] * Take a look at the following post Money as gift vs monetizing our gifts [...]

    April 18, 2012
  • YES <–the simple answer :)

    Live your gift = let yourself be seen

    Trust and value the reflections that come back.

    Money is most familiar, agreed-upon fluid / currency, but very one-dimensional, and controlled at the "source" for old-think objectives.

    Credit based on personal relationship is a much richer and more flexible medium to play in, and it turns on the gift. It is generative, or 'value-added' at each exchange, and thus taps into the limitlessness of life…dangerous for controllers!

    There is a lot of psychological and even emotional baggage around money for most people to slowly unpack before a community-scale transition to new-paradigm social ecology (probably a better word for what we usually think of as 'economy') becomes visibly, thriveably, established in conventional sort of critical-mass scenario.

    But I see more and more people who have found there way into 'right relationship' with currency, in many different situations and frameworks. The process is very much a healing of inner wounds, doubt, anger, confusion, in order to shine and share very purely and purposefully. And I say that somewhat theoretically, as a keen observer, and someone in the midst of much personal healing there, but finding promise and reward in unexpected ways.

    I very much want to discover how to tell this new story in simple, inviting, authentic, amusing terms :) I have just started an experiment to do so from the ground up (i.e. no beginning $ budget) creating intentional abundance in open community live-work-play-learn space on old farm in Vermont…will be reporting soon!

    April 19, 2012
    • filiz

      Hey Benjamin,
      good to hear from you! Thank you for reflecting back, seems like we’re pretty much on the same page. The process is on, and it’s inevitably happening. The question is, can we or do we need to intervene to accelerate or quicken this process of gift culture/sharing of resources, creating flows of abundance for those who are creating the new?
      My answer is yes and I am inviting play-mates to explore this further.
      Please do share your adventures from Vermont! :)

      April 19, 2012
  • Ben

    L.O.V.E. it… Thank you Filiz.

    April 19, 2012
    • filiz

      Thank you Ben!
      and I appreciate your gift very much…

      April 19, 2012
  • I believe what you envision is possible, perhaps it even is inevitable. We are in the middle of that transition from business over everything to a world where giving is at least as important as getting ‘value’ in exchange or ‘monetizing’ the gift.

    My personal contribution to the discussion is an imaginary system of money that loosens up our conception of value and brings the idea of giving (with an expected, but rather uncertain return) into our relations. I call it fuzzy (or yin, or soft) money and I have laid out my thoughts in this post:

    April 22, 2012
  • Dick Durning

    Dear Filiz:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts…this, I believe is a similar journey I am embarking upon. I am now in an immersion first stage and need to digest this wisdom/information/community share/

    I invite you to read my blog as found in Wisdom Exchange web site…it refers to a major fundraising event my wife Lina and I attended. Keep up the wonderful exploration

    Dick Durning

    April 28, 2012
  • [...] 4 Tweet This idea is an outcome of a series of writings from a month ago. If you’d like to see how the idea was born, take a look at “Confessions of a broke change agent“, “Mobilizing imaginal cells” and “Money as gift versus monetizing our gifts“. [...]

    May 29, 2012
  • [...] Money as Gift vs. Monetizing Our Gifts. [...]

    August 21, 2012

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