Mark Boyle is an Irishman who lives completely without money. His initial plan after getting his business and economics degree was to get a job and earn enough to fulfill every need. He did that for a while. He was successful at his job in an organic food company. But his life changed after he had bought a movie called Gandhi.
One evening he was sitting on his yacht with a friend and discussed matters like environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labour. This further led him to realize how much people are consumed by the stuff they buy and effect it has on our environment.
Money is the main cause of suffering among people. And most people are unaware of this.
If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste it as much. We wouldn’t change our interior décor on a whim if we made our own tables and chairs.
In order to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” he had to give up money. The initial plan was to live without money for a year.
During his first day he succeeded to feed a three course meal to 150 people comprised of waste and foraged food. Throughout the year he ate his own crops and only 5% of his diet consisted of waste. Despite bad weather conditions, he always cooked outside.
He used a caravan as a shelter. He didn’t have electricity so he used wood to heat himself. He did everything in nature. His bathroom served as a compost to make manure for his crops. He bathed in a river and used washed up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds for toothpaste. He obtained newspaper from local newsagents and used it as toilet paper. For such purpose, he even used paper with an article about him. He used a bike and a trailer commute to the city. The 55 km ride on a bike became gym replacement. He used beeswax candles for lighting.
Instead of being labeled as anti-capitalist, he favors nature, community and happiness. He observed that sources of unhappiness, like depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and other are increasing. He concluded that more money is not associated with more happiness.
But, this is the happiest year of his life. He has more friends than he ever had. His health has improved and he has never been in a better shape. He discovered that friendship is real security, and not money.
But the question is whether all people could live like this someday. The only way to do this would be to develop communities of up to 150 people. The only thing he misses is the odd pint of organic ale with his friends. On the other hand, his new lifestyle has given him life without stress, traffic jams, bank statements and bills.