Thursday, 22 February 2007

What is Scarcity Consciousness?

James asks, "What is scarcity consciousness?"

Here is my reply: Scarcity is a scary and invisible world that surrounds us but we do not know it is there. We have to be told about it, we have to open our eyes to it in order to experience it for ourselves. Scarcity is the feeling that there is something wrong with the world. It is an invisible prison forged within the mind and felt within our whole being. Being in this prison means that we can never really be who we are or live our life to its fullest capability. In the scarcity state no amount of money, houses, holidays, or sexual encounters will give a sense of deep fulfilment or lasting happiness. Each purchase or experience gives but a temporary release from its grip.

Most of us have become so infused with scarcity consciousness that we do not recognise it.
Scarcity is a veracious and all pervasive feeling of lack. It comes from the belief that there is not enough in the world. Not enough money, love, happiness….the list is endless. Scarcity has many ways of touching us but perhaps it’s most profound method is through our thinking, feeling and relating to money. Scarcity is a lack of not only money but every resource imaginable. It is a strangulation of living where hope and possibility diminish in favour of security and money.

The word ‘economics’ is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘home’, and the home is where we create, and nurture life. Modern day economics has very little to do with nurturing and a lot to do with theories about managing global resources. These theories have helped move us towards globalisation which is presently threatening the diversity of human culture and the sustainability of life on the planet.

Scarcity is a world of hungry ghosts, starving children and criminal greed. Scarcity finds solace between every couple that argue over money and will inhabit every workplace with a ‘nose to the grindstone’ mentality. Scarcity is found between a rock and a hard place; it is a place of great emptiness, although not in the Zen sense. This kind of emptiness is the feeling of never being fulfilled, satisfied or complete. Scarcity is like a bath with the plug always out, no matter how much water is poured in the bath can never be full. The water just simply runs away.

Scarcity creates a world of debt. Debt is the price we pay for living in a consumerist society that is founded on borrowing. Debt keeps people slaving to maintain their debts and overdrafts. Debt is a black hole that many people fall into and it comes in many ways. Unemployment, bad luck speculating, a failed business, negative equity in the housing market, living beyond your means and so on. Debt affects old and young. Some people prefer to end their lives rather than face their mounting debt.

The Hopi people of North America have the word ‘koyaanisquatsi’ to describe our modern world. The word roughly translates as a ‘world out of balance’. In a world of koyaanisquatsi we have war because of an over-abundance of fear, and greed and a scarcity of compassion, and cooperation between nations. We have global pollution because of over-abundance of get rich quick schemes, corporate greed and a scarcity of consideration and wisdom. We have family squabbles because of an over-abundance of anger, and judgement and a scarcity of love and real empathic communication.

The real issue in the world is not about managing dwindling resources, it is about managing the rampant virus of scarcity that has for too long infected our thinking causing us see a world of not enough instead of a wondrous world of joyful possibility.

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