Money Money

A majority of Americans (hell, lets not single them out when most of the world has such problems) are in trouble. They’ve built up credit card debts that are barely managable, are just clinging on to their mortgages, and praying that their jobs will remain secure in the coming months. It’s a common problem everywhere and I understand the fear. All it takes is for that source of income to be suddenly reduced or taken away and it all starts falling apart. If only there were a way to get rid of money altogether, take away that worry, comfort that fear.

Money – my personal saviour.
Money – material lust.
Money – that’s all they treasure.
Money – in god we trust.

Daniel Shellabarger was thinking about these problems back in 2002 and came to the exact same conclusion – eradicate money. Since that day he hasn’t spent any money at all and, for the past three years he has lived in a cave in Utah, in a beautiful canyon lined with waterfalls. He’s usually filthy and smells like he has been for a long time. His hair has collected various forms of trash in it. He begs for food and warm clothing on the streets of Moab, a small town about an hours walk from his cave, eats roadkill and takes leftovers from trash cans. Occasionally friends in the town will feed him, something he freely admits while boasting that he’s never missed a meal. Basically Daniel is a regular hobo, so why am I writing about him like he’s different and how do I even know about this man? Under the name Daniel Suelo he updates his blog using the computers at the public library in Moab, keeping people informed about his quest to live without money, his methods and what led him to this decision.

When I lived with money I was always lacking. Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.

So he’s insane then? Not really, more that he’s better educated in the ways of the world and a little bitter (aren’t we all?) about how people destroy themselves. You see, Daniel has a degree in anthropology that saw him joining the Peace Corps and monitoring the health of an Ecuadorian village for two years. During that time he saw the people of the village adopt new methods of economy, selling the excess food grown in their fields for cash and using the cash to buy things they hadn’t needed until they were offered them – televisions, junk food, etc. As he measured their health he saw that his charts showed their health steadily declining as they spent more money on these things. In his own words, “It looked like money was impoverishing them”. It was a turning point in the way he viewed the world. Ten years, a bunch of charity work and one Buddhist monastery later Daniel decided that in order to have a happy life he needed to live a free life and not be involved with money at all – a Sadhu in the most capitalist country in the world, in his mind.

But is money that easy to get rid of? While Daniel sees himself apart from the capitalist world he still lives off of its scraps, taking what others have left behind and wouldn’t have had if money wasn’t involved. And that’s probably the reason I felt compelled to write this post and point out this man. A man who preaches regularly about the good parts of living without money, the character building toughness of it all, how it brings you closer to grace and therefore closer to God. A man who is as much a part of the system he reviles as any of us simply for the way he’s chosen to opt out. A man who seems to have missed the point.


70 thoughts on “Money Money

  1. I would've but lost about thirty of my posts (most about this size) when I reset my phone and it affected the hard drive too. :awww:

  2. He should live like the guy in the tv series Man vs Wild.Btw, if he wants to make a family then money counts. He would have to marry a tribal woman if he wants to make a family without money.

  3. Money makes the world go around. :PSure he can live of other people's leftovers and charity, but if those people hadn't be spending money on food…etc…Anyway. A man that smells like a goat… :yuck:

  4. A friend of mine's dad lived in the forest for three years, hunting and foraging. That's possible in Sweden because they still have a lot of wild forest. It worked for him 'till he got sick. Doctors like to get payed.In Ireland, that wouldn't have been possible; there is basically no wilderness. Land possession has made living wild more or less impossible.My dad and were talking about hygiene. He was telling me that it's what you're used to; showering daily wasn't a possibility for most in the countryside when he was growing up, people bathed weekly; but because that was the norm, that was okay.The thing is, money is a total convention; it's only worth something because we say it is.

  5. Originally posted by Mik in the post:

    He's usually filthy and smells like he has been for a long time. His hair has collected various forms of trash in it.


  6. So basically he's a snob who happens to be a deliberately yet subconsciously parasitic hobo too ๐Ÿ™„ No great insights from him, he might as well go live off his parents and be marginally more useful. The guy lived in an Ecuadorian village for two years and learns nothing about living off the land.

  7. So the whole thing about computer keyboards being dirtier than your toilet comes from this guy … ? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ :lol:(I wouldn't wanna use the computer in a public library after him if he smells that bad …)

  8. Couldn't he live from lets say a field, a garden, a cow and a lot of hard work? For millions of people on earth this works.

  9. Exactly. True self-sufficiency is possible in this world without spending any money past the initial start-up fee, although that can be offset by bartering for things you've found, made or whatever. Thing is, it takes hard work and living off others is easier in a way as it requires no specialist knowledge, just the pig-headedness to not really care whether you live or die. It's also not quite as "glamorous" a story for your ego, or for magazines, websites and newspapers to print. I'd be very surprised if this guy really never thinks about money, especially as his story must be worth quite a bit.Don't think I read that Carol. Did I comment there?David, have you seen his site? Nothing constructive could come from disagreeing with his ways there. I'm willing (if a bit apprehensive) to disagree with the smartest guy in the world as I know you don't gain intelligence by just agreeing with everything you're told. Arguing with someone like this on their own page would only kill a few hours as he tries to outsmart me and prove his way is better than my selfish capitalist ways.

  10. Yes you commented. Sorry I deleted it awhile ago. It might refresh your memory if I tell you that I said I wished that the world didn't need money. You and others thought that wasn't a good idea. I can't remember who, if it was you or you and others that thought trading would be better then the no money at all idea. Some people would do all the work while others wouldn't for nothing.

  11. I remember that, Carol. I also remember I was one of those who didn't think it was a good idea.In a way, I think he is indirectly using money, only it's others spent money turned into leftovers and such.

  12. Hmmm, still not ringing bells. :sherlock: Oh well. The world would be better off in some ways without money and ownership as long as everyone respected each other equally. Unfortunately that's not the human way. We need that drive to have more than others in order to be better off in society.

  13. Suelo (aka Daniel Shellabarger) writes:Wow! I didn't realize I'd ever met you, Mik Furie! Sorry, it escapes my memory! Check out most all your data about me… you seem to know things about me I don't even know! OMG, you know me so intimately you even know my personal hygene! Maybe I'm a multiple-personality whore & 1 of my personalities is having intimate relations with Mik, & I don't recall it!My eyes have really been opened about American media, eroneously called "journalism". Thus far, only ONE, yes, ONE writer (for Details magazine) in ALL American media who has EVER written about me actually interviewed me, in person, & even his facts were sensationalized & distorted, to make it palatable for a fashion-rag audience. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the other droves of articles you see written about me, floating around the net, including this one, are hearsay (2nd, 3rd-, 4th-… 50th-hand info), except for one from Germany. An old-fashioned journalist there had the odd idea of actually interviewing & gathering facts, before publishing). And 2 journalists in Italy also regressed into archaic ways & thought to interview me! Although, I never even met them in person. Maybe my body odor is so strong it wafts even to Europe & they have an intimate knowledge of it, too! Funny, I'm not even bitter – it all makes me chuckle – because Truth is bigger than us all, and works itself out, even amongst the gossips. People aren't denouncing me, in person, they're denouncing a media image. Something else to consider: actually read the website, more than a passing sensationalist glance. It's as 1st-hand as you can get on the web:

  14. You don't remember? It was a few seconds ago when I was reading this comment. Before that I was just the guy actually reading your website, although I'm glad you've pointed out that I obviously hadn't. I was also the guy who, on this very post of my own website predicted your reaction to someone disagreeing with your ways with almost one hundred percent accuracy. Obviously we haven't met, if we had I'd have said so in the post, talked to you about your reasons and methods and then written that up. As we haven't met, I went by the very public information available (including from the websites you run that I haven't read) and drew my own conclusions.Why you seem so upset that a little known blog like this, written by someone who hasn't met you, has gotten some information wrong when you say that you're not doing this for sensationalism I have no idea. Perhaps you've isolated yourself from real people for too long and think that a snide starting paragraph is the norm for a comment that states you're not bitter? Perhaps you really do have a book deal in the future and don't want anyone to threaten it by having their own views on your motives? Perhaps you missed the bits where I blatantly agree with parts of your way (even quoting something particularly well said) and only focussed on the bad things in the post? End of the day, I really don't care.If you can stay polite I've got no problem with you sticking around and educating people here on the facts that I got wrong (although I'm pretty sure I can link to most places apart from your own pages where I got this information, so perhaps you'd be better off dealing with the sources) and your real reasons for doing this in your own words. Hell, if you stay polite then you can have the rare privilege of putting up links to your own things here. It all depends on if you can stay polite?

  15. I will have a look at that site. Only three journalists from Europe did not rely on 3rd-hand-info? I would not wonder if they would have been fired in the meantime.

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