In a perfect world, this would be a beautiful mantra to live by. But what about in this world? Can we live this way in a world where scarcity actually exists? Where we are bombarded with the worry that if we don’t take all we can, someone else will and we’ll be left with nothing?
I believe we can.
In many aspects of our lives, scarcity is real. We have a limited amount of time and energy, for one thing. I may have the means to visit every state in the union, but I only have so many days in my life. Most of us have a limited supply of money, everyone but the federal government that is. They seem to be able to keep printing new dollars every day with no recourse whatsoever.
Wait… Let’s stick to things we can do something about, like our own attitudes and actions.
There are things in our world that are only believed to be scarce and those are things we can work with. Love is one. Compassion. Empathy. Care. These are things that we can give infinitely, but should we take more than we need? Can I take too much love from others?
Yes. I can demand their attention, insist they love only me or give them hell for not giving me the affection I want. I think it is better to accept what they give voluntarily and learn to meet my own needs instead of insisting that others fill them.
Come to think of it, it may even work for scarce items like food and water. I may need a certain amount of water to survive and I could hoard it because I need it and live longer. But I could also choose to show compassion and share what I have, allowing others to do the same for me…or not. My life may be shorter, but it may also be more fulfilling.
This all sounds like bullshit. I’m dancing around an idea that I can’t quite put my finger on. What am I responding to? What am I really trying to say?
A friend suggested that since someone’s hours were cut back at work, that they should apply for unemployment. I was at a loss for words to express why I was so offended by the idea. In this instance, there was simply no need for more money, but that didn’t seem to matter. He had a right to more and should take it. I just don’t agree with that at all.
Hours later, driving in silence (which is one of the ways I really find time to think) the idea of scarcity came to me. Why do we scrabble for more, hoard it all up as if someone might take it from us? Why do we sit on our possessions like a fire-breathing dragon? My money. My things. My family. Mine!
I’m guilty of it myself. I have plenty. I could be giving more to help those that don’t. But again and again, I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I’m already caring for my family and friends as best that I can. You all voted to take my earnings from me before I could spend it and give it to programs that help people…and it never seems to be enough. You wanted the government to do it with force and now you want me to give more voluntarily? I feel used and angry, like a child forced to share a precious toy before they were ready. You try to teach a lesson and end up creating monsters. Live with this monster you’ve created!
This scarcity thing, the use of force by vote, and the “it’s my right” idea, that’s what is bothering me and I can’t seem to put my finger on how to express it clearly.