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Evolution of the Perception Dollar


Evolution of the Perception Dollar

Perception Dollar - first version

Many, many years ago, I was inspired by a book entitled “Debt Virus: A Compelling Solution to the World’s Debt Problems” by Dr. Jacques S. Jaikaran, which clearly elucidated the problems of our debt-based monetary system. Since then, much of my life has been devoted to changing our economy from a war-based debt system towards a life-honoring gift economy. In the process, I learned that in order to change the monetary system, one needs to change the belief system of the participants. In the United States, where money and power are more highly revered than God or religion, bank notes command attention. For years I advocated “Community Currency,” or local currency, to get people’s attention and make them think about questions like these: Where does money come from? How does it flow in our society, our world? How can we redesign it? Can we create money that serves people and life rather than empire and the destruction of our world’s oceans, forests and life-sustaining habitats?

Version #9 of the original Deception Dollar

Nearly eleven years ago, in the wake of September 11th 2001, I organized the first rally and march to demand an investigation into 9/11. That dramatic event, which redefined reality, was used to launch wars against many countries as well as to undermine civil liberties in the U.S. and throughout the world. I had questioned the official story about 9/11 from the very beginning, for a number of reasons. I soon realized that the events of 9/11 were suspiciously convenient and lucrative for a small percentage of people, and I noticed that damning facts and information were being ignored or buried by the corporate media. I was part of a growing network of people around the world who questioned the official story. Soon I was contacted by a talented young artist in Canada, Blaine Machan, who shared with me some of the artwork he had created to draw attention to problems with the official 9/11 narrative and the behavior of the U.S. government following the attacks. I strongly encouraged him to continue his artwork and asked permission to use some of it in the flyers I was distributing at anti-war rallies and marches. Blaine agreed to my request and then went on to create the art that later became the front of the “Deception Dollar.”

First version of a "solution oriented" dollar

The idea of distributing a Deception Dollar appealed to me due to my earlier research into the monetary system, which made me aware of the power of symbols like the dollar bill to maintain the debt-based economy. I believed that we could transform the symbol of the dollar bill into a powerful means of getting people to think about new alternatives, especially since we would be giving them away for free and thus subtly suggesting a gift economy. I therefore encouraged Blaine to create a backside for the Deception Dollars as well, which would make them more similar to dollar bills and more effective to distribute as flyers at anti-war rallies. I especially liked his idea of adding websites to the bills to draw people’s attention to the growing number of websites that were critical of the official story. These Deception Dollars were the most popular flyers I ever made. People actually gave me money for them, and we soon realized that the Deception Dollars could help fund and grow the budding 9/11 Truth movement. Donations for these Deception Dollars helped to keep a number of key websites alive and helped us produce the first films and events, such as the first Citizen’s International Inquiries into 9/11. Since that time I have published and distributed over 7,500,000 Deception Dollars and variations on the original theme, including Election Deception Dollars, Media Deception Dollars, and Billion and Trillion Dollar notes.

Five years ago I published the first “Conception Dollars,” which developed from an awareness of the need to point toward solutions in addition to bringing problems to light. They were a collaborative effort partially inspired by a gathering in Colorado, the Storyfield Conference, which brought together artists, authors, and filmmakers interested in using the power of “story” to shift our culture from serving the needs of empire to serving the needs of community. “Peace mom” and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was featured on the bills, after she announced that she would run for Congress on an Impeachment platform. The word “HOPE” appeared on the back of those Conception Dollars, a word that resonated with a vast majority of people and was later co-opted by the Obama campaign.

The Perception Dollars, which were published in the spring of 2010, were an evolution from the Conception Dollars. The major change involved the use of a keyhole with a glimpse of a better future, to replace the previous portrait of a person. At first I had tried to find a compelling photograph of a beautiful setting, believing that nature herself is the supreme artist, but soon I was pointed toward the work of Mark Henson, especially his large painting “New Pioneers,” which is described on his website as follows: “The epic drama of life, death, war, peace and the inalienable right to choose is depicted in a huge panorama. Refugees climb out of a war zone, a pioneer comes to a graffiti wall where the choices are scratched out. We all want to live in peace but somehow many are attracted to values that are so dissimilar, war seems to be the only option for a humanity gone berserk. The pioneers and refugees make it to a new world of awakened consciousness.” I used the hopeful fragment of this painting, where the pioneers have entered a world of awakened consciousness, as the art that appears through the keyhole on the front of the Perception Dollar. On the backside of the bill the word “LOVE” was used to replace the word “HOPE” that was in the Conception Dollar, and I added another beautiful image, created by artist Gaelyn Larrick in her visionary work “Elemental Alchemy,” which depicts a crack in the Cosmic Egg as it is embraced by the Gaian spirit. The Perception Dollar was another collaboration of kindred spirits, inspired and helped by numerous friends, books, ideas, and events. I provide a detailed explanation on the Perception Dollar page of my website for those who are interested in the meaning of the symbols, and the links and ideas expressed in words around the edges of the bill. There are stories within stories that I hope will inspire people and help connect them to other people and great ideas.

In the new, improved, evolution of the Perception Dollar, I replaced the painted image that you see through the keyhole with a photograph of a beautiful waterfall in Ecuador, but I also printed new “Greenbacks” for the Green Party of California that continue to use Mark Henson’s painted image, in addition to promoting the ten key values of the Green Party. I asked Gaelyn Larrick to add more color to the bills because I thought they could be even more beautiful, irresistible, and fun to give away. I had hoped to publish version number two sooner, because we were nearly out of the original dollars, and I was running for Congress and wanted some new ones for my campaign. There were numerous delays, unfortunately, and the last-minute changes and errors were not corrected before they went to print, but that is life. The Perception Dollars now include the website for the Occupy Movement, which I hope will help that movement to grow and nourish the gift economy. I printed a large number of them, but I haven’t had time to promote them aside from distributing them to people when I’m out and about. I hope that people will enjoy them and be inspired by them. I am happy to give them away so that they will inspire more people to join together in creating the peaceful world that we want for ourselves and our children.

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