Maybe all the world’s problems come down to having too much of a good thing. Abundance is killing us. And we’re struggling to deal with it.
Pass me a pill.
How do I know we’re struggling to deal with abundance and we need help?
This little meme came up in my facebook newsfeed the other day:
In case your firewall at work is blocking it, there’s a picture of a spoon with the text:
It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached the point where the effort necessary to:
- extract oil from the ground
- ship it to a refinery
- turn it into plastic
- shape it into a spoon
- truck it to a store,
- buy it and bring it home
…is considered to be less effort than what it takes just to wash the spoon when you’re done with it.
I’m looking at this and thinking ‘amazing’? It’s marvellous!
But I also think this probably wasn’t the sense of joy and elation the author wanted me to feel.
Yes, I’m being cheeky, but this kind of technology bashing kinda gives me the craps.
“It’s amazing that as a society, the kind of skills required for a graphic designer to get on their state-of-the-art apple laptop in a café in Melbourne and whip up a piece of “art” like this, so people on mobile phones all over the world can “like” it, still aren’t enough to get that graphic designer a job.”
Seriously though, what exactly is he complaining about? Our efficient resource-extraction techniques? Computer-assisted design and automated manufacturing? Sophisticated shipping and distribution networks? Shops?
These are the exact same processes that bring us laptops and food. And who’s going to like instagrams of your coffee if they don’t have phones?
And look I get the point he’s trying to make, or that he thinks he’s making. But that’s not a point about technology and organisation – it’s more about values.
It should read something like:
“In an age where producing a billion little plastic spoons has become a trivial exercise, it is tragic that we still think burying them in dirt is an appropriate way to dispose of them.”
That, I get.
As a people, we haven’t developed a consciousness that can handle abundance.
Staying trim shouldn’t be difficult. Just don’t consume more energy than you use. The maths is simple.
And yet millions of people in the developed world are wrestling with obesity.
And at every level of organisation from the individual up, we struggle with abundance. Most people work too much. I drink too much. We produce more plastic, smog and carbon than we can handle.
What’s worse, my favourite little restaurant in Fitzroy is getting really crowded these days.
We just can’t handle abundance.
We are hard-wired for scarcity. We evolved in times when your ability to get enough food was on a knife’s edge. Some days, you just didn’t eat.
And so the techniques for managing scarcity – for surviving in a world of ‘not enough’ – are hard-wired into our DNA.
And so we find it difficult to focus on the problems that abundance causes. It’s not a natural mindset.
There’s too much plastic? We don’t have a natural reference point for ‘too much’. We don’t really get it.
And so that means we mis-diagnose the problem. Like our graphic designer mate here. It’s technology gone mad. It’s laziness, It’s something.
It’s abundance. Abundance is the problem. Or more specifically, our inability to handle abundance.
And the implication here, which I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’ve been following my blogs for a while, is that to fully live in a space of abundance – enjoying all the love, French-wine and vintage fighter planes that comes that – if you want to live fully in a space of abundance, then you need to be able to turn and face the problems that abundance presents you with.
And that means, you need to be able face up to the consequences of having almost god-like powers to manifest your own be-dazzled destiny.
You need to take responsibility.
Imagine going back in time, just 100 years or so, back before plastic. Imagine telling them that society will advance to such a degree that it will be easier to deliver bio-gradable spoons to their door, than it will be to wash them up. And this is true.
In that person’s eyes, we live like gods. We do live like gods.
This is a miraculous age. As the spoon-hater shows us, practically anything is possible. It is amazing that we can deliver spoons for less effort than doing the washing up. That’s wild.
The only question left now is, what do we do with our power.
But most people don’t even accept their power. The powers that be enjoy their monopoly on power thank-you-very-much. It’s almost seems to me that they enjoy that differential in power, just for that differential’s sake.
Like, “I’m better than you.”
And if you’re taught to be powerless, how can you even understand the problems that come with too much power? How do you even makes sense of ‘too many spoons’?
In my mind, it runs both ways.
The saying goes that with great power comes great responsibility. That’s a statement of equality, not causation. If you want great power – if you want to live in abundance, you need to take responsibility.
And not afterwards, but first. Take responsibility now, and you will naturally bring yourself into a mindset of power and abundance.
And at its deepest level that means taking responsibility for your life – owning everything that happens to you and through your hands.
It is tempting to reject this responsibility. It is tempting to blame others. But if we do this, we give away our power.
We have barely tasted the miracles that are possible. The future is wild. A billion plastic spoons is just the beginning.
Time to take some responsibility.
Are you struggling with the pressure of abundance being everywhere and still having nothing to show for it?
What’s the real problem with having too much?
Is less the new black?