Living in a world of give and take

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2009 at 11:39 pm
Image from the very interesting times article Living without money ( read it while you can before Rupert takes it off-line )

A good friend sent me an article yesterday about German former teacher Heidemarie Schwermer. Heidemarie has been living without money for the last 13 years.

She is something of a minor celebrity in Germany having set up and organised a skills and goods trade scheme in Dortmund.  Her philosophy of life is based around the concept of trade rather than purchase,  Gib und Nimm (Give and Take).

Initially she was hoping to have an impact on the homeless but instead found the scheme resonating with the unemployed and the retired of Dortmund.   Heidemarie herself took things further than most by choosing to live without property and only a few possessions. She has been living nomadically since 1996 moving from place to place trading menial services for room and board and living without money.

People like Heidemarie show just what it’s possible to give up and still live happily in our material world.

She is admirable but is she an exemplar?

In truth I don’t believe she is, for me she offers an example from which we can learn a lot but doesn’t offer us a template. 

I think her mode of life isn’t one that masses of people could emulate. 

After all whose houses would they stay in?  

It is possible for a few people to live like Heidemarie but a whole society I don’t think so.

To me Heidemarie is like a modern day Diogenes of Sinope (greek philosopher who lived in a barrel). A humane cynic reminding us that people should be our focus and that we don’t need much in the way of material goods to be happy.

I'd be interested to find out what you think of her philosophy and her life?

Could we all really live in a world of give and take ?

Posted via email from Urban Ascetic


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