Eons ago, there came forth the gift of a byproduct—oxygen. All these untold years later, I am breathing oxygen in the air—enough to sit easy and not gasp. I can breathe oxygen directly. It does not need to be dissolved in water, as for those specialized to receive it through gills. I do not yet need oxygen to be concentrated in a tank or forced through a ventilator.

The gift of oxygen was here before I was. It is part of the background of items required for my successful arrival and continuing for a while. Unless Nestlé begins to market oxygen in the same way it has water, oxygen will be here long after I leave. A major question is about what else will be mixed in the air along with oxygen and whether such pollutants, not as a feature, will compromise my ability to process the gift of oxygen.

It is difficult to shift away from an economy that commodifies the basics of life such as water, oxygen, and shelter. It will be as troublesome to continue allowing companies the fiction of being a person. When capitalism is left to its own devices, playing G*D with who is privileged to receive its artificial medium of exchange and who is not, it sucks all the oxygen it can from the room and leaves most to flop about until dead. It will trickle out just enough to those critical to the means of production of more capital.

It is not a new choice—a gift economy or a market economy. Each decision I make will add strength to one or the other.

Take a next breath—a moment of thanks is in order—and then another. With each thankful breath, consider that we have enough and refrain from a next purchase. Eventually, we will need a drink, a meal. But more immediately, we need oxygen much more frequently than food or water. We live on air, as well as food and water, and through relationships with Nature and One Another. This is a sufficient miracle and worth freeing from the grasp of a dead (mostly) economy that it might be rebuilt on a human scale.

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