The lineage project has many influences. It is the culmination of a lifelong examination of how economics defines relationship. From anecdotal to scholarship it was finally birthed during my last semester in an interdisciplinary art master’s program at Goddard College and will no doubt continue on well into finishing up my doctoral work at Prescott College.
Even so, the concept is simple. If we don’t know the lineage of the money we spend backward and forwards it is nearly impossible to understand how the money that changes hands through us influences our world. This project begins with the moment of exchange between individuals. It is true, corporations often market themselves in regard to how green they may be, and it is possible that when one buys a local organic apple, for example, from a farmer through a CSA or a farmers’ market that person knows a bit more about the influences.
This project takes it a step further to become more personal and connected in relationship. I include my personal intention which I will share below, but it is my belief that if we simply told each other where our money came from and the person we are giving the money to shares what needs this exchange will address for them, then it will make us more informed about how economies meet (or don’t meet) our needs.
Let’s pretend a hypothetical criminal pays us a dollar (though I doubt they will play this game since silence is one of their key super powers.) By taking his dollar and spending it on food we might get a clearer picture of our economic reality. We might decide we make the money better because we are putting it to good use, or we may decide that we want to gather our dollars from another source. Regardless of our moral determinations, our decision would be a more informed decision. On the other hand, if by playing this game you find out that many people you know are collecting unemployment or disability it might shift how you feel about those programs.
The late David Graeber discusses in his tome, Debt the First Five Thousand Years how slavery happens when we remove the context from a human being. It is the purpose of this exercise to reconnect the context to the very moment our personal money changes hands. Feel free to add any context that feels relevant. I am spending this money with you rather than buying it from so and so because… or maybe even this was a hard choice because I am at risk for being evicted but this is THAT important to me. Or our story might even be a bit happier, I got this money for my birthday or I am going to use this money to buy my child a present.
I fully recognize that in modern culture it is taboo to talk about our money. Breaking this taboo might be a scary or shame riddled act. It may come with a variety of personal risks or embarrassments, and yet I hope there is also a capacity to be brave and build greater relationships surrounding money and the people we connect with within a moment of exchange making our world a little less disconnected.
If this resonates with you, feel free to try it out, but please keep the lineage of the idea intact by referring back to this project. Also look for future ways to participate in the lineage project on this blog. I am planning a space to include our stories here. In the meantime, please enjoy my personal intention for this lineage project and a digital story I made in my early questions concerning economy and family. It shares the crucial role my lineage played in seeking this understanding.
My Personal Lineage Intention at the Moment of Exchange
Backwards and Forward I plant the seed
to reclaim a context of connection
with liberation for all, in all transactions.
Note: In case you are wondering, why is this on our farm page?
Re-connection to all the players (both human and more than human) that feed into what we do here is in a word, lineage.