We live in a world where people value money more than mostly everything you can imagine. There are amazing people, with amazing ideas and projects with great potential, that are never discovered or given credit because of the money based world. On the other hand, there are humongous amounts of money being pumped into almost nonsensical ideas and projects as highlighted in the “Spending money in today´s world” article.
When I created TROM, a 14-hour documentary, and provided it for free on the internet, everybody around me asked me how much money I made out of it. They weren’t even interested in what the documentary is about, but only its money value, although the documentary presented ideas about how to improve everyone’s life through the application of science and technology, and attracted many thousands of online viewers.
I come across similar situations all the time. For most of my life, I was that guy who repaired your computer. If you had a problem with your computer, you called me and I would come and fix it for you, for free. From such small gestures to projects that reached hundreds of thousands of people, I’ve always done everything for free. As a result, I’ve suffered when I needed money because, well, I had very little of it and in this world, everything costs. If I go to a dentist, he won't say, “Ah, you are that guy who made that documentary/website/etc, your treatment is free!!”. No, that will never happen! Nor will I be exempt from taxes because of my good deeds.
These kinds of actions, that we all do in our lives, are not paid in the society we live in. Meaning, from a monetary perspective, or let's say from the society’s perspective, they are not ‘valuable’.
This is one of the major problems with the monetary system we live in. It will not value something that is valuable for people; it will only allow some “valuable actions/ideas” to be sold, if properly marketed. If I help people by repairing their computers, maybe I should sell that service and ask for money next time they ask for help. This not only makes me an evil human being by not helping my friends without asking for a monetary profit, but it would also destroy my kindness and motivation by shifting my purpose to an egocentric pursuit.
You will never be paid for being a good parent, a good friend, or just in general a good human being.
If I create a documentary and then try to value it in the monetary system, how can I do that properly? How could I measure the books I’ve read my entire life, documentaries I’ve seen, articles I’ve read, people I’ve interacted with, all of which helped form who I am and helped develop my ideas towards making this documentary? Trying to value human creativity in the monetary system is like trying to map the entire universe by taking a single picture of the sky. You will not be able to do that just by picking a snapshot of a particular moment.
In the monetary system, a mother is not rewarded for taking care of her kids for the rest of her life. The little interactions, acts of kindness, sacrifices, and so on. I know of nothing in the monetary system that rewards such acts.
If you watch illegal online content, download pirated movies or other digital downloads, or even access websites that are supposedly illegal, you can be accused/prosecuted of piracy or possession of illegal content. There are many people of law who are actively hunting you for that and spying on people to search for that kind of behavior, which they punish drastically. Do you ever wonder why there aren’t people spying on you to see if you do acts of kindness, and then reward you for that? Or spying on you and, if they see you watching many documentaries about space, they come to your door saying “Hey, we saw that you are interested in space. We are offering you a free education to this university to study it even more!”. After all, if they catch you downloading pirated movies, they will label you as a “pirate”, and come to your door to arrest you. Then why aren’t they labeling you as an “astronomer” if you watch many documentaries about space?
It seems that they are only looking to punish people, but not reward them for good behavior.
Being paid to do something is such a normality in this world that the word “volunteer” seems to be more of an antonym. This is why people will look odd at you if you say you are doing things for free. In addition, because volunteering is such a rare act among ‘normal’ citizens, it emphasizes the false importance that money appears to give to things.
This is why the documentary that I made had no value for my friends; because it made no money. I am sure that if I had a huge money revenue coming from it, a screening in multiple cities, red carpet and all, they would have been extremely impressed.
It actually had around six thousands viewers on the day that I released it. Imagine if all these people would have come to an opening in the town I was born...and of course, paid a ticket fare to be there. Man, wouldn't I have been a documentary producer and a money maker? 🙂
This is why, if an asteroid dangerously approaches Earth in the future, I suggest to NASA that they make a short 3D movie, with cool special effects and a great background music, to let people know about it, otherwise people won’t pay attention to it. We live in a world of eyecandy, used to nonsensical movies, music, shiny colors, 3D images, brands, and pretty much everything about the package wrapper and not what is inside the package.
Is it any wonder why science is so often regarded as boring and not cool? I mean, people are more interested in Matrix (the movie) rather than their own life movie, which is at least one trillion times more complex than one billion Matrix movies combined.
This is a result of “what sells best, sells best”. It has nothing to do with the real value of things. People pump lots of money to promote anything that can produce more money, and the more money they produce, the more “cool” and “known” becomes what they sell. Unfortunately, this is also why people like those things, because they are exposed to them and learn to think of them as ‘great’, ‘fashionable’, ‘entertaining’.
That explains why many people are not impressed when they see news about a new treatment for cancer, a new exoplanet discovered, or a new type of material invented, and are instead more impressed and curious when they see a “celebrity” doing or saying something stupid on tv. It all depends on what makes more money and, therefore, what is more promoted in the media.
You know…there are so many homeless people who are great human beings, yet they starve in the streets because they do not fit an obsolete system.
Today, with the use of the internet and its billions of users, we are all doing things for free that are not rewarded in the global monetary systems. From comments, to posting videos and sharing thoughts & ideas, the internet is a huge place where people do stuff and get few or no monetary rewards.
I have seen many YouTubers who make great science shows, but are desperate to make money because they can’t continue their work otherwise. Of course, they are just a random example out of millions out there.
This system is like a pair of underwear that doesn’t fit anymore; they are too small and they crack every day. We try patching them and it seems to work, but it feels damn uncomfortable and you know that one day they will crack to the point of no repair. I think it’s time we get a new pair of panties. 🙂
In today’s monetary system, you can have great ideas and come up with great inventions that could improve everyone’s life, and yet starve to death if you don’t know how to sell them.
In saner no-trade worldwide society, no one has to sell their ideas. Their ideas are a direct, immediate contribution to the global society and themselves. All acts of kindness, all the small help you provide to others, everything you do is a direct value that does not need a ‘worthless’ price tag.