I spent the weekend in a shared hotel room. I think the five of us had a lot more fun together than we would have had separately. I know we laughed a lot more than we would have otherwise. I watched a blind woman learn to swear in American Sign language, that was definitely a highlight. I came away with a new friend, and a deeper connection with my old ones.
We are all richer when we share. In time, in money, in experience. It is only when we hoard things that we feel the lack. We create scarcity by focusing on what we don’t have–what we will run out of if we don’t lock it away from others. There is plenty for all of us, really.
Yes, there are a lot of us hurting worldwide, there are people actually starving to death. This is tragic–and preventable. They aren’t starving because there isn’t enough, but because someone won’t share what is there. Some of us will steal from others–their time, their labor, the good things that are all around us. Some of us think we need more than we have. Our personal lives and the lives of our communities and nations are the life of our planet. As we take from our fellow humans we also take from the other beings around us.
We’re really taking from ourselves. Our planet is a closed system. Aside from the occasional meteorite, everything that is here has been here since the earth was formed. When the salmon don’t have enough water to get upstream to spawn we don’t get to eat salmon. Is there really not enough water for both the salmon and the farmers? Is there really not enough room for our houses and the trees? Is it really so impossible to share with other beings?
Do we live in a crowded house, or do many of us have more than we need? When you can’t find it, do you really own it? When you can’t make use of it, is it really yours? Saying that it was always done this way, and we can’t afford to make the changes is on the same level as the little kid who says they don’t want to clean their room. Is change really so difficult and unpleasant? Is it really too expensive to take the needs of the rest of the world into account?
It really comes down to sharing. We have always shared everything with all beings whether we realize it or not. We can do it willingly, and with awareness, or we can create scarcity for all of us. It took all of us to create the systems we use today, the systems that did not take into account the needs of all beings, and it is going to take all of us, working together, paying the costs, to change them.
We look at what we think needs to be done, and we see hard work and deprivation. I say that that’s a failure of imagination. I could have looked at that hotel room this weekend and the prospect of sleeping on the floor with dread. I could have looked at the idea of having to live on the food we brought as a long few days of deprivation. I chose to see it as an adventure. It was a lot of effort, and very little sleep, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I know humanity can come out of the coming change the same way.