Scarcity vs Abundance

Jan 21st, 2011 | By | Category: News

We are having our heating system repaired today, so it had to be shut down for a few hours. Result? It’s now freezing in our house.

Struggling to keep myself warm, I ponder the value of some of the wonderful technological solutions that take care of our needs: to be warm and protected from harsh weather, to be able to wash ourselves and our clothes clean, to be able to type this message I am sending out to the world on my lap, in my bed (had to take cover under my duvet at this point 😉 ), connect to the internet and pouf! out it goes with the click of a button.

I often take a moment to marvel at the huge number of things that make our lives easier every day and that we mostly take for granted.

And then sometimes I get scared… I am terrified that we could start retreating any day.
I can sense it in the (sociological) climate around me.
We could start abandoning these technological achievements, out of the false belief that they “destroy our environment”, they are “unnecessary really”, they are things we got “addicted to” that are poisoning us and our planet.
Following this “reasoning”, we must watch out, take a step (or several) back, undo all the progress we have gotten used to and live a more “sustainable” life, reduce our “footprint”, our emissions, cut back on such “luxuries” like airplane travel or driving the car that gives us the most pleasure, turn down the lights, throw out our hose pipes, not dare to ask for more shopping bags… Reduce, diminish, shrink, stop breathing, die.

Isn’t that the logical end to this scarcity mentality?
The scaremongers say or imply that there is too little of everything, so we have to cut back, economize, conserve, stop doing things that gives us pleasure to accommodate the shrinking resources of our world.
Plus, there is usually the guilt-card thrown in: We humans have no bigger claim on our planet than any bug or plant or stone. So we must apologize and make amends for any change we have made to our environment since we got out of the caves… We are “raping nature” and it is better that we perish and nature survives without us. Isn’t that what we are led to feel every day, coming from scarcity thinking?

I think it is all nonsense.
The usual “zero-sum” drivel (if you have more, I must get less).
When in fact we live in a world of abundance, rather than scarcity.

We live in a time where technological breakthroughs such as…instant chats with people across the world…removing a bad gene from a child while still in its mother’s womb…have clothes from fabrics like polyester that are 100% recyclable…can travel in supersonic speeds or even in space with safety…if trapped under an avalanche we can be found and rescued with the help of our inexpensive GPS tracker…we can drink water from the oceans by taking the salt out of it…we can create massive amounts of energy with tiny amounts of fissible materials…and so much more, are now part of our reality and not science fiction.

And more importantly, for any problems we have not already solved, if we put our minds, energy and determination to it, I believe we will solve those too. Instead of reigning in science and progress, we should unleash it. Instead of coming from scarcity, we should celebrate our age of abundance. Embrace it, nurture it, don’t let scaremongers, eco-fascists and religious fanatics stop it.

We have all to gain from it and nothing to lose.

PS. Thanks to Jason and James, our heroes today, for fixing our heating!




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