Doing Business

Business

I haven't checked my bank balance in almost two months. I just don't want to know. My finances have long been the most stressful component of my anxiety. I remember that some time ago a lady asked me if I felt money was intrinsically evil. I thought about it carefully before answering in the affirmative. She told me I was "sick".

I do think that as a superior species we could have come up with a better system of society. And it is something I have long proclaimed - we live in a society, not an economy. So if the ideology of competition, of wealth creation, and of obsession with possession is the best we could have imagined, we are clearly flawed. I actually live the lyrics of John Lennon's imagine. And I'm proud and very comfortable with that. But, naturally, it has created so many problems in my life.

I have been employed as a business manager, including a couple of years at a major petroleum company. And I have run my own businesses, notably my last, Cards For Life. But I was not successful in any of these ventures because I didn't believe in the aims. My daughter, Kate, would at this point ask me "so what alternatives did you have?". And I now realise there were really none. I could have been a roving hippie, living off the scraps of others, or I could have been totally reliant upon welfare. Neither of these options appealed. So,while I was rebelling, I had no clue. Of course I now realise that in deciding to marry and have children I took on an important responsibility. To some extent I honoured that, but, in the end, failed it. As a result, I eventually became personally bankrupt and reliant on my partners for subsistence. It is something of which I am now extremely ashamed.

It’s difficult for others to understand how I’ve ended up here, broke and alone. But it makes perfect sense to me. It’s simply the result of the choices I have made in life, the fears I have held (or have held me), and the archetype person I became. And none of it was bad luck, simply bad management. I accept full responsibility for my life and that my destiny was created by me and is basically a symbol of my innermost self, what I believe (or at least believed) about the world and myself. And much of it had to do not just with my philosophy, but my lack of self-esteem and insecurity. The truth is that whenever anything started to work for me or I started to achieve the things I wanted out of life I think my built-in belief system started to tell me that I didn’t deserve it or I hadn't’t earned it by going through a sufficient level of struggle and compromise. Rather than accept it I chose to self-destruct the project or relationship and make things deliberately difficult for myself. This is apparently typical of the archetype psychologists label ‘The Terrorist’. And I fitted it perfectly.

It revolves around an overwhelming need for acceptance, and an overwhelming inability to acknowledge it when it was achieved. I always saw the few successes I did have as hollow, for what I craved was acceptance not success. I simply self-destructed my successes (including relationships) so I could move on to struggling at something else. Whenever I found myself in the mainstream (like having a job) I found fault with that situation, sneering at it in a vain attempt at changing it or destroying it. Usually my actions threatened those around me and I eventually had to get out. Because I felt I had to fight the system rather than use it I never got what I wanted. If anyone did support me I disregarded that and focused instead on all those aspects of non-recognition that seemed to dominate my life. The glass was always somewhere between half-full and empty.

It seems now that I was on one big ego trip. I was constantly struggling to save the world, which is of course futile and counter-productive to my own personal and professional development. It was because I saw the world within the context of my own emotions that it always seemed so flawed. Those types of perceptions, I see now, are finite and limited. An infinite view of the world reveals what I guess we all know, that it is constantly evolving and its destiny has most probably already been written. In addition I lived a lifestyle that befitted my super ego, a lifestyle that was mostly beyond my means.

And, so now it has all caught up with me. Now I crave a simple life, but even a simple life has needs. And I am without the means to provide for them. Ill health handed me a second chance as I became eligable for the DSP (Disability Support Pension). It is this regular payment that systanes me daily. As I look back I realise clearly that "doing business" was copntrary to my character and beliefs. At one stage I applied to enter the police force, and I wish so much I had. I admire these people so much as they daily make a positive difference to our dysfuntional society. I have always been an idealist, mostly disspiarte from relaity, and to work at something that catually contributed to the health of our community I think would have satisfied my needs, though Kate believes that the beaurocratical structure would have appalled me.

So having determined all this and realising that I was fairly intelligent (and with a super ego) I guess at some stage I just decided that I didn’t really need to participate in the system, That was promoted by my first full-time work experience. My parents had long promoted "security" as being the ultimate goal, so I joined the public serce in the Department Of Army. What a deflating experience. The vast majority of employees there contributed almost nothing to the viability or efficiency of the tasks allocated. I remember clearly walking the complex with a piece of paper in my hands for eith hours one day because I just didn't want to be there. As long as I had that piece of paper in my hands, I had nothing to worry about. And I remember one youg guy who was indecently ambitious, walking in one morning, sp;otting the boss, and procalaiming "I woke up this morning and just couldn't wait to get to work". A public service veteran up the back immediately replied "I know what you mean - I had a day like that - just the olne - back in 1958".

My last full-time job (apart froma programmin role in Eden that lasted less than 18 months) ws as a tutor and ultimately a lecturer in computer programming at Wollongong University. It was then that I felt the urgent need to do the only thing I had ever really dreamed of doing, owning and running a general store in a country town. Where the people came to you in their time of need for basic items, and where I sold them to them at more than reasonable prices and with genuine service. Where selling was not really required and where making money was not really the fundamental aim. But for one reason or another we didn’t go through with it (looked at the Huskisson Supermarket amongst others) and I chose to re-invent myself in the world of computing. I returned to university as a full-time student for two years while Elaine kept us. Of course that voice in my head made sure that I did very well at uni, while my other voice (increasingly growing in volume and consistency) was pleased that I was able to escape the real world for a while.

Then I embarked on a career as a gambler - on the gallops - using my programming ability. I discovered fellow professional punter and author, Don Scott, and embarked upon the infamous “horse system”. Don was so much like me. He was extremely intelligent, analytical, and left wing. He was so abhorrent of DB (doing business) in a capitalist society that he chose to gamble instead. Like me, he was reasonably successful for a while but was to later lose everything he had in the world, his money, his wife, and ultimately his life. A scary story for me because I have mirrored his existance aprt from the suicide (though, as you know, it has always been an option).

Today I still operate that horse system, but at a meagre level compared to the thousands I used to bet each weekend. In the end I lost most of it, but now I see it as just a hobby and if I lose $20 I'm disappointed. But I no longer am required to participate in the commercial world of buying and selling, and I've never been happier.

Geoff Mooney