Katana vs. Credit...
I'm going to take this ID theft as an opportunity to reacquaint myself with money. I've always had a strange relationship with the stuff. As some of you know, I am really interested in the idea of a non-monetarily based society, how that might look and function, and that obsession will not change.
What will change is the way I deal with money in reality - I will have to stop looking down my nose at it, and get beyond what I perceive to be inherently evil about our current monetary/credit system. That core bit of anthropomorphization turns me into too much of a reactionary, which in turn has inspired the lamest possible participation in an all too real and powerful system. If you ignore the game the game will eat you.
Now that I know that the monetary system is ripe for human abuse, and that these abuses become mass-addictions that really undermine our potential and kill off so many other more interesting and fruitful ways of being, what will I do? I'll climb right into the devil's most fiery furnace of course!
I am talking about credit here. Seen from one angle, credit is a particularly magical thing, and a credit card really has the potential to be nothing less than the Samurai sword of our day. However, due to rampant greed and oppression and a general disrespect for credit's enormous power, this is not the case for most of us.
Furthermore, unlike the Samurai sword, each person is "entitled" to a credit card, even if there is scant instruction on its use and inherent dangers available. Imagine if every person in pre-industrial Japan were carelessly given such a precision instrument of death and destruction. There would be no Japan today! But for some reason, our American brand of democracy, which touts so many bold unfairnesses, is extremely egalitarian when it comes to putting a credit line in every pot.
So, wrapping up, I'm thinking about approaching credit in 2009 with all the discipline and respect a Samurai shows towards his sword. Because I acknowledge my previous abuses and pursuant dismissal of the credit system, I will start very small, taking on something like the Samurai equivalent of a butter knife. But I will (re)enter the game cautiously, methodically, realistically, conscious of my distrust, confident of my ability to master the game.