Daniel Suelo has embarked on a life long journey to find his spiritual truth and to find happiness. He has struggled with other people trying to impose their beliefs on him, with severe depression, and with alienation from society. At the end of a long path, or rather along that path, he gave up all use of money in 2000. Since then he has not paid a penny for anything and has not received a penny for anything. He also does not barter in the conventional sense, though he does barter in a broader sense, he is willing from time to time to work for food or shelter though he does not make that agreement enforceable.
Essentially Suelo seeks to live the way the world’s greatest prophets have said we should live. He has synthesized the words of Jesus, Aristotle, Buddha, St. Paul, and many others, into a single philosophy of living without attachment to material things. He lives freely and without planning or possessions. He has found tremendous freedom by doing this and peace of mind. He has conquered his depression, survived a suicide attempt, and escaped all the trappings of the material life.
What does this mean for most of us?
There is one thing that Daniel Suelo, Jesus Christ, the Buddha and most of the rest of the prophets Suelo emulates have in common: they had no family to support. They had no spouse and no children. They had no responsibility to care for anyone but themselves.
When you live a solitary life you can live it any way you choose. If you are single and have no responsibility to anyone else and this life without material connection sounds appealing there is no reason not to try it. If you find the peace that Suelo has found I say more power to you – you may well have redefined true wealth for your life.
But if you are like most of us and you have spouses and children to support and care for you do not have the luxury of renouncing this world and living without financial security of any kind. You cannot, as Suelo does, depend upon the good graces of other people, go for days without food or live in a cave high in the Utah mountains.
For most of us who want a life with family and responsibility this solitary life has little relevance. We must earn our bread and put a roof over our family’s heads. For most of us there is no living without jobs, money, things and obligations.
To be sure there is a lot to be learned from those who are not mired in the material world, which is why mankind has always been fascinated by those who manage to escape it. It is also true that most people living well in developed countries have too much money and too much stuff and are too tied to materialism. Most of us would do well to contemplate the genuine need for all the stuff we accumulate and trim it down from time to time or forego accumulating it to begin with.
This fits very well with the principles of frugality I discuss here so often. If you cannot afford it, don’t buy it. If you can possible avoid debt avoid it. If you have debt pay it off.
I highly recommend Sundeen’s book, The Man Who Quit Money because it is an entertaining book, it is a thought provoking book, and a good tonic for all of us who live in this material world.
In the end however few us will live in caves, give up money and obtain most of meals through dumpster diving as Suelo does. It just is not possible to raise a family and care for loved ones with this lifestyle. This book is a good wake up call to force us to ask good questions about our accumulation of stuff and our relationship to people and things. It is not however a blueprint for a lifestyle that many would want to live or could live.
In addition to reading Sundeen’s book take a look at Daniel Suelo’s blog and website (all of which is free to him and written from free web access at public libraries).
Daniel Suelo’s blog: http://www.zerocurrency.blogspot.com/
Daniel Suelo’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/
Wishing you success and prosperity,
Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.