The Economy of Human Connection

Four years ago I started my Masters in Social Change. I started studying this field seriously for a few reasons, first of all because I was living in a village in the middle of no where and around me I saw a world that was fraught with poverty, poor education and a lack of health care. I studied by correspondence with the worlds slowest internet connection and intermittent electricity. I studied in between surfing and slashing rice fields. I studied in between wandering the local Pasar and eating off banana leaves. About 12 months into my Masters I realised just how naive I had always been. I looked at the world I lived in differently. I looked at the wealth of the village I lived in. The wealth of community. A kind of wealth that it is hard to find by just looking at the surface of western societies. A wealth that is often overlooked and undervalued by the constant need to buy.

When I returned back to Australia I was determined to find community.

As I was completing my masters here in Australia, with a faster internet connection and all the access to resources I could possibly need – I realised that often development and privilege comes at a price that is far higher than we have ever truly discussed. The price of connected communities. Instead of working together, we work in competition of each other. We compete in every area of our lives. We don’t celebrate each other often enough. We don’t come together to share what we have. We work for our own glory, for our own satisfaction, for our own financial gain – not for the growth and the good of the ‘village’.

My masters was very economics heavy, and while I was doing the economics units I remember thinking to myself ‘I will never in a million years use any of this,’ economics and me have never been great mates. But then one day, not all that long ago, I realised that economics isn’t just about data and dollars it’s about the way that we structure our communities, it’s about the way that we go forward, it’s about the way that we consume.

The Nothing New Project was born from these realisations. It was born from the desire to do more outside of my own perceived need and to connect in a way that I had seen people connect in that beautiful village. It was born from a need to push back against materialism and consumer culture. It was born from my primal desire to truly connect with other human beings. To be a part of something much bigger than just myself.

When I started the project I never thought that I would have the opportunity to tell this story in front of 2,000 people. I never thought that I would find such incredible connections. But I did. In one of the most transformative, whirl wind weeks of my life, something changed. I was able to put into words what this project was and I was given the platform on which to present one small (but very large) angle of my project.

What if we prioritised people over things. What if we built an economy that was about sharing and giving and connecting. Not giving up purchasing, because we all know that economically that is not sustainable in the big picture, but thinking differently about the way that we go about it. What if we used every purchase as the opportunity to connect with another human being? How different would our world look.

With connections come relationships. With relationships come community.

We are all in this together after all.


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  • January 30, 2015 - 9:19 am

    Sophie - Well done – how terrifying speaking in front of everyone. You must be really proud, of both the speech and breezing through your project. Inspirational.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:49 pm

      Sash - Thanks so much Sophie. Truly. It’s so kind of you to say those things. I am proud, quietly proud πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2015 - 2:15 pm

    Jessica Smith - Sash, you speech was incredible. I just listened to it and felt so captured by what you had to say. Your words transported me to the places you told stories of. Wow, what a wonderful woman you are. Well done on articulating such a masterpiece up on that stage. XReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:49 pm

      Sash - How kind πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for your words of encouragement Jessica! xReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    Joanne P - HOORAY FOR SASH!
    I’ve been waiting for your talk to be posted – thank you for sharing it with us all here on your “online community”. That was brilliant. I know you were terrified of talking, but you did amazingly well – and you look like a seasoned pro! What you said and how you explained it was just fabulous. Congratulations!!! Joanne PReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:48 pm

      Sash - Hooray for you too! It was a nerve racking thing that’s for sure, but I’m so honoured to have been given the opportunity to do it. Thank you so much for engaging, for sharing your thoughts, for being involved. xReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2015 - 6:20 pm

    Jewels - Waving with hands in the air, Fantastic. Thank you
    I would like to learn more about the degree you studied the economy of human connection. I would like to find out more about living this way…as I agree totally. I rarely buy anything new & the items I buy create meaning in the exchange. I chat to stall holders at markets, I build connections. People remember this, because it gives meaning to what they are doing & really I need what they are doing through growing something I cannot etc & thus a connective exchange happens due to appreciation & acknowledgement.

    I felt you may be interested in this very sacred book, of Sienna’s true story.
    Here is a link for it.

    Here is the link to the facebook page for this book I have written, as a promise to my daughter, Sienna, before dying in my arms, that I would write her story into her very own book for sharing and reading with the community. This awareness will create greater sense of inclusion and humanness.

    I share a link here an invite to this book launch for this book to be welcomed to the community:

    I welcome you to share & read this very sacred book, come along to the book launch to meet.
    Kind regards
    Jewels SmithReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2015 - 6:24 pm

    Cath - You, lovely lady, are still as captivating on stage as you ever were. Still love the project (I’ve recently adapted it for me and my ‘fur-baby’ πŸ˜‰ ), wish the media wasn’t twisting it all up but it’s still awesome that you got the message out so widely. Love xxReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:47 pm

      Sash - You’re great. Thanks mate. It was nice to be on stage again – in my own voice -that’s for sure. xReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2015 - 6:54 pm

    Helen McGeoch - Congratulations Sash! You did a brilliant job. Keep it coming.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:47 pm

      Sash - Thanks Helen!ReplyCancel

  • February 1, 2015 - 1:32 pm

    Lila - Loved getting to see you speak, and hearing your passion for your project in your own voice uninterrupted by media spin.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:47 pm

      Sash - Haha, the media spin drives me nutty. Thanks Lila πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2015 - 5:23 am

    Rebecca - So glad to finally see this. Thank you for sharing your project, process and life.ReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:46 pm

      Sash - THANK YOU! THank you for reading. Thank you for contributing. Thank you! xReplyCancel

  • February 4, 2015 - 11:03 am

    Becs :: Think Big Live Simply - Yes! I loved it, so glad it’s up finally. You spoke so passionately, well done xReplyCancel

    • February 10, 2015 - 12:45 pm

      Sash - Gosh, thanks Becs xxReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2016 - 8:18 am

    Angela - Just brilliant! You are truly a gifted speaker. Seeing and hearing the emotion in your voice and what you had to say, now that is CONNECTION. Congrats on the opportunity to spread your message from an amazing platform xReplyCancel

    • March 14, 2016 - 1:10 pm

      Sash - Thank you so much Angela! πŸ™‚ xReplyCancel

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