There’s a destructive, dangerous, unnecessary idea going around in our world.
It’s one of the most prevailing beliefs of our times, almost to the point of being a belief-system, followed religiously. It dominates our thoughts, our decisions, the way we treat each other. It informs and influences the world’s cultures. It’s making us crazy and unhappy. It is the belief that this is a world of scarcity.
You can see it in people who degrade, cheapen and sacrifice themselves to maintain a relationship that is harmful for them; because they believe there is not enough love to go round. All too often we witness workers destroying themselves through stress, in a job that makes them miserable; for they are sure that if they stop or slow-down it will mean their downfall and demise. It makes us mistrust our neighbors; because with all this scarcity, surely they must become our competitor for what little there is. It’s the cause of many wars and hostilities. It destroys communities. It’s pushing us into an insane, uncontrollable drive to more and more efficiency; that is breaking us and our environment at breakneck speed.
And it just makes us all so darn frightened, which in turn turns us against each other, instead of working together for the good of all; a way of functioning that would suit our nature better, and make us happy.
What if this were all just a man-made scarcity that serves a few, but is not a true representation of the environment we find ourselves in?
If we saw the world as abundant, would we be so scared anymore? Would that fear still be compelling us to compromise ourselves, to give up our dreams and our humanity and our individuality?
Of course, scarcity has its uses for some. If there isn’t much of something, then its value, its price goes up. If there isn’t enough stuff up for grabs then we will work extra-hard for our corporation, and make choices that violate our values, to make sure we, at least have enough, even if the others don’t.
Why is it that we never question whether the world is a place of scarcity or not, in the first place? We don’t even consider to entertain the idea that it might be abundant. And so, resigned, we plod on in a misguided direction, making matters worse.
What if the reality concerning the abundance or scarcity of the world is actually caused by our decision of what kind of world it should be? I believe that if we were to decide that the world is an abundant place, then we would make decisions and strategies that would make it so. We would live differently, and this in turn would cause and create abundance; and, from a more unsophisticated perspective, it would simply allow abundance to be.
We probably all wish to find solutions for the poverty and hunger in the world. Yet we become disinclined to really commit to that within a scarcity paradigm because we fear it will mean that we will have less; that we will have to give something up.
I’m an artist; I make my reputation with my imagination. So here is something that I’ve come up with:
What if we could solve all these problems of poverty and hunger and suffering, and guarantee every single soul on this planet all they need, and more besides, and yet still maintain the good life we wish for ourselves and our loved ones? What if these things are not mutually exclusive? What then?
If we don’t believe it’s possible, then we won’t even start to turn the world in that direction.
And it’s surely time that we do so.
(If you have a moment, please take a look at the Oxfam ‘Grow’ webpage. They are working on an idea).