How I Learned To Spend Money

What is left is always writing: the force of words works even for those who feel absolutely powerless. When reality is overwhelming, you don’t trust your ability to write one proper sentence. And yet you see the words combine themselves on the screen in front of you, as if they are living their own lives. They have their own logic, their own order. You feel like the words originated from you, that you recombined them into an intelligible sentence. But the words are overpowering you, the order in which your fingers put them might intelligible, they don’t feel like your intention. They are of course symptoms of what you wanted to say, but the connection between symptom and meaning is severed. What you want to say feels like a floe drifting out of reach. You lose your grasp of your experience, the words your fingers type only strengthen the walls around you. You feel locked in an inner world you are trying to comprehend using your language, that tragically makes you feel more estranged. You are in a very cold place. There are no strong enough signifiers that can carry your weight. There are no authorities. There are no truths. There is nothing left to be dreamt of in your philosophies. You begin to imagine time itself as an authority.

In the absence of meaningful goals, time itself begins to demand things from you. She is the last authority, so you want to feel her as much as you can. That is why nihilists find temporary solace in amassing as much wealth as possible, and why they develop a psychological need to see their wealth always increase.

Money, as the highest abstraction of human promising, plays the role of time’s authority.

Why do I write? Are words the last or only thing I think I can contribute, or not even that. Words that feel like less than words. A pathos of thin air, annihilating all my understanding of the world. A kitsch-fest that makes the reader cringe to the seventh degree.

The possession of money can make someone confident. Or not. Like time, it’s never enough. You develop a pathology, a hatred of spending and of money itself. Either you have a lot of it and they see only your bank balance, or you lack it and they see a beggar. Who you really think you are is hiding behind, or in front of, the money. Money becomes the river that takes us all along.

I am afraid to spend money because I don’t believe I will earn it back. Even if I have set some amount aside, it still feels like I am borrowing from myself.

I know some people engage in financial planning, 30 years or more into their future. They assume that they will always generate income and use that as a collateral for a loan. I would naively say that I can’t grasp the concept of borrowing against the future, but of course I do, since I am a temporary being myself. It is just that I feel uncomfortable spending money without earning it back before sundown.

Perhaps that limit is artificial. I don’t want to sleep, perhaps I can’t sleep, knowing I owe something to someone. At night, they come for my financial blood, if you will. The sentiment could be the same that gave rise to vampire stories.

I drink a cup of coffee in a coffee shop, I take out my laptop and ‘make’ the few euros I just paid. I check in at a hotel and the first thing I do in the room is using their Wi-Fi to earn the amount on the bill. I couldn’t make enough money before sunset to pay for a house or a car, so no house and no car for me.

I admire people who have the confidence to be in debt after the sun sets. They make the important assumption that not only their money, but they themselves have value in society.

I describe this condition as a rupture between the totalities of time and society. They are no longer aligned. ‘Pure’ debt, understood as the call of the autority of time can not be represented as a calling within society. Instead, it becomes the anxiety of a fall. And rising up in society leads to the anxious nihilism of billionaires.

What a lovely load of crap! Long live everything not neurotypical!

But here’s the thing. I recently stayed a night in a hotel and made the $ 90 or so before I shut my eyes. But I had chosen to stay at the hotel because I knew its Wi-Fi would allow me to earn the money back, so the vampires couldn’t get to me. I slept well that night, and learned an important lesson. I can loosen the reigns of the galloping horse of money and time.

Borrowing money from yourself feels like making time flow faster and slower. It can open up a realm of freedom for the non-neurotypical.

How I Learned To Spend Money was originally published on Meandering home

Missionaries of Charity

Missionaries of charity, Calcutta

Kolkata, India. March 25th, 2010

Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of charity offer volunteer opportunities in the poorest parts of Calcutta and other cities for every visitor who is willing to help.

We donate food for the orphans resident at the center.

Name Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa), Calcutta
Aim The Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center is a non-profit organization established and directed by the religious family founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity.
Since Mother Teresa founded MC (Missionaries of Charity) in 1950
Staff 40 sisters, 30 candidates, about 15 volunteers work here, they stay somewhere between 2 weeks and 6 months

Donation 5,000 Rupees (111 USD)

We don’t need to search long for a Cause in Calcutta. Everybody associates this city with charity, because it was in the streets of Calcutta that Mother Teresa began her mission. Now, more than a decade after her passing, her organisation, Missionaries of Charity, is represented in far over 100 countries. We visit the “Mother’s House” where we have a glimpse at her tomb, a simple marble square decorated with flowers. It is explicitly allowed to take pictures of the grave. We ask whom we should talk to if we would like to make a donation and wanted to be shown around, and they send us to another building.
It is one of the orphanages run by the organisation, and they are just enrolling volunteers. Dozens of foreigners have flocked to the building and await their turn patiently on wooden benches in the courtyard. Everybody is accepted here upon presentation of their passport. No need of police clearance, application forms and fees, proof of experience in interacting with ovc’s – it is working according to what we have in mind. The volunteers are sent to orphanages or centers that take care of the fatally ill and destitute in high density areas, where they help out with all daily chores and basically relieve the burden of the nuns.
We talk to some volunteers about their work here.

“The Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center is a non-profit organization established and directed by the religious family founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity.

The Center’s aim is to serve as a centralized and authoritative source of information on Mother Teresa, to facilitate the spread of authentic devotion to her, and to safeguard her words and image from misuse or abuse. The founding of such a Center was first proposed by the Office of the Postulation of Mother Teresa in 2002 and is a development of that Office’s work of supporting authentic devotion and knowledge of Mother Teresa. “

We conduct a short interview with Eliza, a Canadian lady in her fifties volunteering here.

How did you find out about it?
-It is very well-known. This is my second time here, and I know about it through word of mouth.
How long will you be in India?
-This time I spend one year here, for travelling and meditation. It’s my fifth time in India.
What was your first experience like?
-Here in Shishubavan I worked with children for ten days, feeding and changing them, and giving physical therapy. My first time working for Missionaries of Charity however was in Khaligat, and that was a very special experience. I worked with adolescents there.
What is it that makes it special?
-The motto “do all you do with love.” They don’t ask special questions, no training is necessary, you are asked to do all sort of things. In Khaligat I ended up giving out medicine and massaging them.
Do you encounter any language problems?
-Often they don’t speak English, but we can use sign language. Or just hold hands, when emotional support is needed.
Have you done volunteering in other countries?
-No. It is not easy to find ways to do it.

Missionaries of Charity was originally published on Meandering home

February 3. Streetkids.

The plan is to organize an exhibition of the art created by the children at Muodjo. Potential benefactors will visit that display of the streetkids’ interesting drawings and might chip in. So Oswaldo and I take a bus to the city and look for materials. Since we can’t find them, we end up hanging out in the German cultural center where I talk to the local coordinator of DED. He seems interested in our story but of course doubts if we can organize it all by ourselves, “bypassing” as we call it, bulky bureaucracies.
It is a lazy day let me not pretend otherwise. Oswaldo takes me around Maputo a bit more and shows me a ruined grand colonial house. As I observe the dilapidated balconies I see a few children sneak into the building.
“They live here” Oswaldo explains.
Yes, they do, and now they come to ask us for something to eat. My friend gives them a few Meticaisand we continue. Even though I haven’t actually seen the living condition of Maputo’s street children, their sleeping places, their diet, abuse, sickness, I understand they are not living happy lives.
Oswaldo used to live on the streets himself, before he was rescued from the streets and brought up by missionaries. He was a good student and went on to study musicology, and actually earned a degree. Many of the projects at Muodjo involve traditional instruments from Mocambique or Zimbabwe.

February 3. Streetkids. was originally published on Meandering home