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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

TimeBanking is the switch to illumine a world we took for granted, had never seen. We are inheritors of a world that we did not create. Darkness to light. We can turn on the light, to see what had not been seen, to reveal all our previously hidden and invisible assets.

We can all do hundreds of things that are not listed on our resumes. We are not even fully aware of our own capacities. We certainly don’t know what our neighbors can do, — neighbors whom we have known for years and years. And we have not tried to find out what they can do or ask them for  help – except when an emergency like a flood or snowstorm or fire brings us all out together.

There is now a switch. We need the light turned on to document unknown and untapped capacity, to link us all together, to access reserves we did not know were there and did not know how to activate. Turn on the TimeBank switch and a different world becomes visible.

I have just returned from Taiwan and South Korea where TimeBanks have sprung up in community after community. Their world lights up. We still measure economic activity by GDP – Gross Domestic Product. GDP is determined by exchanges documented by money. Now with TimeBanking, an invisible economy becomes lit-up. We see a different GDP. Once that economy becomes visible, new possibilities multiply. Small investments generate a multiplier effect that can grow indefinitely. Knowledge plus trust plus access when activated will light up previously darkened spaces. It will reveal a vast hidden inventory.  The TimeBank switch can be flicked up to meet previously unmet and unknown needs – of individuals and of entire communities.

Find the Switch. It is right there behind the refrigerator of politics and economics. Now flick it up. Turn on the light. Today’s mandate. A new level of connectivity, provided by digital technology, can light the world.