Speaker to address 'Growing a gift economy'

Charles Eisenstein, author of "Sacred Economics and The Ascent of Humanity," is traveling to the Rogue Valley from Pennsylvania for a series of talks in Medford and Ashland this week en route to deliver a keynote presentation for a Reality Sandwich conference in Utah.

"Humanity is uniting to create a more beautiful world," Eisenstein said. "We sense that one era is ending and a new one is beginning. Our society is in crisis, in fact, a convergence of many crises, with economic meltdown at the heart of it. Parallel to the way our understanding of nature has changed — from a competitive model to a symbiotic one — the way we perceive 'the economy' is shifting. We are beginning to get it, that the health of one organism, or the wealth of one person, depends on the health and wealth of all. We're all in this together."

On Friday night, May 1, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. ($10, students $5), participants will consider what a gifting economy looks like. Other events take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The presentations take place at the Hidden Springs Wellness Center, 635 Lit Way. Seating is limited. Call 488-8858 to reserve a place.

"People ask what they can do to protect themselves Buy gold? Stockpile canned goods?" Eisenstein said. "I would like to suggest a different kind of question: 'What is the most beautiful thing I can do?'"

Those words live in an Eisenstein essay, "Money and the Crisis of Civilization," which circulated on the Internet months ago. Several Ashlanders read it, shared it with friends and eventually contacted Eisenstein with the proposal to visit and do some talks, according to event organizers.

"I totally resonated with that sentiment," said Bill Kauth, one of the local organizers. "We all have gifts to share, every one of us. So, we invited Charles here to do three events and grow this idea."

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