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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

Public systems like transportation are wonderful – except when they aren’t.  They meet needs that individuals could not address on their own: public safety, universal education, crime control, environmental protection, historic preservation.

Systems are systems.  And people are people.  Sometimes they overlap and converge.  Sometimes they don’t.  Timebanking creates an arena where they can choose to overlap.

There is a value in just “being” who you are that systems do not create, cannot define or control, and may not necessarily satisfy what one wants.  In this case, just “being” meant Cindy had a quirky desire to go to the beach.  One does not have to justify “being” who one is.  The freedom “to be” is at the heart of those so-called inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Exercising those rights may need protection.  But “to be” means that one matters, that one’s existence makes a difference.

We are not simply isolated atoms or molecules floating in space.  How does one convey the significance of an interaction that redefines one as no-longer a stranger?  Cindy is no longer an anonymous stranger.  Going to the beach may seem trivial.  It is not.  Having the ability to create a possibility that enables a stranger to come forward and say: “I’ll take you” represents power.  Timebanking awakens that invisible power.  It creates that special safe space that invests “just being” with the magic power of changing what one wants into what can be.