Wednesday, August 09, 2006


ATHANA: “Virginia, did you know that human societies used to be based on ‘Mother-Giving’ instead of money? You have X -- someone needs X -- you hand over X immediately. No questions asked, no strings attached.”

VIRGINIA: “Get out, Auntie Athana!”

ATHANA: “No, Viginia, It's true. The outcome was, everybody had enough, everybody happy, no crime, no violence, no murder.”

VIRGINIA: “But Auntie A., how would you get people to give away their stuff? We’re just naturally selfish!”

ATHANA: “Turns out we’re not naturally selfish, Ginnie. It’s only us patriarchals who are selfish. And even with us, it’s not natural – we have to be brainwashed into it by what you could call our ‘culture map’.”

VIRGINIA “Well, now I’m totally lost.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “It’s simple. Human mothers are natural Mother-Givers. When a newborn is hungry, does a mother say, 'OK, kid, fork over the dough and I’ll feed ya.'?"

VIRGINIA “No.... She just gives the food.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “Exactly. And without our patriarchal culture interfering, we’d all learn to behave just like Mom. We’d all be Mother-Givers. You need it, I have it, it’s yours.”

VIRGINIA [Snorts] “Boys wouldn’t be Mother-Givers.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “Sure they would. If their moms taught them to be Mother-Givers, they’d be Mother-Givers.”

VIRGINIA “But moms wouldn’t teach boys to be Mother-Givers.”


VIRGINIA “I dunno.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “Hm. Maybe it’s because moms have been brainwashed too. Brainwashed moms don’t think their sons should be nurturers.”

VIRGINIA: “Or Mother-Givers. Not ‘manly’ enough.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: [slamming her sun hat onto the deck railing] “Well, I say bull-pickles to that!”

VIRGINIA: (giggling) “Bull-pickles?”

AUNTIE ATHANA: [Replacing her hat on her head] “Yeah. It’s my new stab at fresh profanity. The old stuff’s wearing out, doesn’t pack a punch anymore. Whaddya think of ‘cess puddle’? That’s what I called my ex-boss today on the way to getting my car oil changed.”


AUNTIE ATHANA: “Anyway, back to Mother-Giving. Turns out there’s a lot of Mother-Giving going on -- even in patriarchal societies.”


AUNTIE ATHANA: “Yeah. But it’s mostly women (and a few of our brighter men) who are doing it. But it’s threatening to the patriarchal money economy, so it (the giving) gets swept under the rug.”

VIRGINIA “So giving is going on, but we don’t really see it?”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “You got it. Bloggers are a great example, actually. Typically, bloggers don't get any material rewards for their slogging at blogging. Their efforts are unpaid gifts to readers. Also, didja know that in a money economy ya hafta have scarcity, or the money economy won’t work? If stuff isn’t scarce, then scarcity is created.”

VIRGINIA “No way!”


VIRGINIA “Who says?”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “Go get a copy of Genevieve Vaughn’s book For-Giving. Or, you can read it online. I’ve been reading it all day.”

VIRGINIA “Oh, so that’s why you’re so excited about Mother-Giving.”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “Actually, 'Mother-Giving' is what Genevieve calls it. It’s usually called ‘the gift economy’.”

VIRGINIA: “So if I wanted to Google more about it, my search words would be …”

AUNTIE ATHANA: “’Gift economy’.”

VIRGINIA: “Bye, Auntie. A-Googling I will go, for ‘gift e-con-o-mo’….”

AUNTIE A: “Oh, quit it!"

VIRGINIA: (giggling again) "Alright, if you insist."

AUNTIE A: "If you're not going to read For-Giving, at least go to some good online articles."

VIRGINIA: "'Kay. Like what?"

AUNTIE A: "Like 'Creating a Giving Culture: An Interview with Bernard Lietaer'. Also, Dave Pollard's blog, "How to Save the World" has a fairly good posting on the gift economy. Or, Genevieve has a short article online called "Why We Need the Gift Economy."

VIRGINIA: [Bussing Auntie A. on the cheek] "You're a gift to me, Auntie A."

ATHANA: "Aw, shucks, Virginia! Likewise, I do declare!"


Andygrrl said...

Jeez, what I wouldn't give to have had my own Auntie A growing up! Thanks for all the new ideas to ponder, Athana

Anne Johnson said...

Giving, bartering, it's all mom stuff. Last night I walked my whole block looking for someone at home. I had three gorgeous home-grown, totally organic tomatoes in my hand.

Ka-ching! Guess who got them? The lesbian couple with the darling rescue greyhound! So I got to frisk with the doggie, and they got fresh tomatoes. Happiness all around.

And, speaking of that greyhound, once she got away from her house and was running in the traffic. Because she and I have such a good relationship, I was able to collar her. She came right to me when I called! And not even my dog.

I guess this has something to do with your post. Please write about visiting sister's church. I don't have the stomach to do that since my sister's pastor used my dad's funeral to tell me I'm headed for hell.

Paxton said...

By my estimation, compassion is a very manly virtue =) (which is not to say that it is not also a womanly one ^_^).

Morgaine said...

Wonderful post, Auntie A! Is Virginia ever going to see all these conversations collected into a kid's book? I know some kids I'd love to give to.