Today we continue to try to understand the great fear that challenges untold numbers of people: the fear of not having enough.
I’ve been discussing the hoarding behavior of the nursing home residents I once knew, but we all know people that, to one degree or another, are haunted by an out of balance relationship with abundance and lack. Whether it is from actual scars based on real life experiences, or triggered by the fearful specter of poverty in the future, the fear of scarcity manifests in many ways.
In extreme cases, It may appear in pathological levels, where people are incapable of discarding anything, giving such a supernatural value to common objects, possessions and sometimes even animals, that their homes are no longer clean, safe, or comfortable.
But it may play out in more subtle ways, as well — the driven workaholic, who has amassed wealth enough for generations to come, but who is still haunted by fears that it could all disappear; the Baby Boomers who are facing retirement soon and wondering if their elder years are going to be golden or desperate.
There is no doubt that the image of homeless people eating out of garbage cans is one that is burned into the minds of most people in our society. Is there any way to overcome this fear? With such possibilities lurking, when is enough ever going to be enough?
Bernard Lietaer, former senior officer of the Belgian Central Bank and a chief architect behind the Euro currency, has noted that greed and fear of scarcity are programmed; they do not exist in nature, not even in human nature. They are built into the money system in which we swim, and we’ve been swimming in it so long that these shadows have become almost completely transparent to us.
Tomorrow, we’ll take closer look at the magic and shadows that are generated from money.