If there is a place you go to show yourself, to test yourself, to stand up for yourself, that place is the market.
The market is where we face other humans in the essential test of power: getting other people to do what we want them to do.
My Aspergers parents did not have a strong relationship with the market.
My mother saw the market as a child sees it, a place to wander through and grab whatever caught her eye, usually because it seemed low priced. She loved cheap and shiny, not looking for “just the right thing,” but instead doing routine travels.
To my father, the market was a dull necessity he had to use to get the parts to create his designs, always made with only a limited and internal vision. He could never imagine actually engaging vendors to get expert advice or find a better way, because experts are idiots.
This means I grew up separate from the market, never encouraged to participate in it, never affirmed in the value of what I had to offer. They were the sellers and we were the buyers, distant and abstract. The best we could do is cut our expenses, never to reap the rewards.
My essentially flawed relationship with the world is very much my flawed relationship with the market. Whatever they wanted, it wasn’t what I have, and going into the market only means I am at the mercy of sharks who have no mercy.
Like so many things in my life, I understand the market conceptually, but viscerally, I don’t trust it. From my earliest days my understanding of life was in the meta; I wanted to get the concepts but not to be drawn into the whirl.
This power of meta is clearly my strongest gift, the ability to very quickly see, understand, and explain.
Other people tell me that this power of meta is valued in the market, helping other people see the bigger picture, working to make context explicit so it can be re contextualized. They see what I have as something very strong and very valuable in the market.
For so many reasons, though, I resist the market. I had to release my own desire to get clear, I learned that showing too much of myself was dangerous, and more than that, my basic home training was to isolate myself from the market.
After so many decades of staying out of the market, instead only prowling around the edges for scraps that I could weave into what I needed, I am challenged to actually enter the market, to take the risks of the market and, with smarts and hard work, reap its rewards.
And I very, very, very strongly resist that call.
The market does not reward observers. It only rewards participants who push past failures and find success.
The market does not reward people who fight it. It only rewards people who make it work for themselves.
It is not possible to get the assurance one needs to enter the market from other people who are also resisting entering the market.
We live in a culture where most of us are taught to be consumers, not owners, trained to be clients of the market rather than active participants in it. Those with capital like that training; they need buyers, not competitors. This is the ultimate cost of suburbia, removing us from natural and vibrant community markets and leaving us consumers, trying to stuff the loss of connection with products.
Not entering the market, not taking ownership of the value of our lives, leaves us economically disadvantaged, no matter how well off we are. We cannot make the most of what we have, cannot change the world in ways we believe would make it better.
I know why I resist entering the market. There are many reasons I have been scared off.
I also know why that resistance not only does not serve me. I know why it that resistance costs me very dearly.
That resistance also costs my community the power of my contribution, denies my world the benefits of my very hard won gifts.
Resisting entering the market, stopping at the gate and just peering in, is resisting entering the arena where humans have always come together to make life better by sharing what we have to offer.
Showing myself, testing myself, standing up for myself can only take place in the market. The market is also the only place where I can get what I need.
Exchanging our gifts, even the challenging ones, to get what we need is at the heart of the market. No one can escape that requirement. Even me.