We say over and over again that we need to shift away from valuing possessions and power, yet we are asking for financial support. Why is this?
(For an overview of our expenses, see our wishlist and budget for the Cooperative Living Immersion Documentary)
The Bridgers are about shifting our culture toward prioritizing people and well-being, but right now we still live in a culture which values power and possessions and which expects people to pay for almost everything they need. Bridgers do not seek profit or power, but we do need capital or at least donated items (such as a space for our program) in order to manifest the necessary infrastructure to support people to try on a different way of life. Our philosophy is not about rejecting or abandoning the culture we live in. It’s about building a bridge from where we are now into something new, utilizing the resources available to us in our culture and redirecting them toward new priorities.
Also, money in itself is not the root of our problems. It’s what we choose to value with it that makes the difference between a life of stress and a life of health. As we shift our values, it would make sense for us to create businesses which adhere to the values of self-care and cooperation.
For example, it would clearly be beneficial for heavy equipment operators to live in the same “kin-unity” where they share shop space, train apprentices, and can wholesale order supplies and tools. This way they can each pitch in money toward a shared living space and also fill in for each other when sick or injured or needing vacation time. As a working community, each person can labor the right amount each day for their needs without forcing themselves to pull 12-hour days regularly. This makes space in each person’s life for personal growth, family and social time, and overall health. The community could share a strong guideline where each person could strive to balance their time each day equally between work, service, and play. The shop would be able to compete with other businesses by getting everything done as usual, but the work would be divided and resources shared so that each person could live in balance. That way, the output of each worker would likely be higher quality since exhaustion and attitude play a large part in productivity.