What if we were to question the basic premise we’ve all learned since (at least) grade school, that competition and survival are the driving forces in the biosphere? What if that isn’t the whole picture, or perhaps it is a distortion of the facts? After all, those ideas were spawned within a pretty macho, mechanistic, hierarchical society. (And I won’t even begin to speculate, today at least, on how the dominant paradigm of scarcity may be related to the religious experiences of certain nomadic, frequently enslaved desert tribes of ancient times!)
Instead, I wonder what we would assume today about how Nature operates if, say, more mothers had been able to participate in studying it a hundred years ago. For instance, maybe it would not have taken us so long to realize that the “fight or flight” response is not the human response to threat or stress, as most of us have been taught. There is also “tend and befriend.”
When we live within a survival-only mentality, we create a universe that reflects this. We expect competition, difficulty, and struggle, just to get by. So, we can never move beyond it, because we spend all of our energy trying to keep our survival universe afloat. And we surround ourselves with commiserating friends, colleagues, not to mention economic and political systems, who reflect and reinforce this belief.
Prosperity expert David Neagle notes, “Everything in the survivor’s world confirms what they believe about not enough. They’re not enough, you’re not enough and there isn’t enough. This is their reality! And guess what, they can prove it. They only see opportunities that they think will give them what they need.”
Can you see how these assumptions lead to the idea we must best one another, which ultimately means that one society must dominate others to survive? Based on such beliefs, we can begin to understand why there is war, greed, and violence.
Suspend your programming for just a little while if you can, and contemplate the possibility that everything we have been taught to assume about survival and competition being “Nature’s way” is far too narrow and perhaps even false. What if there really was, not just “enough,” but plenty to go around?
Truly, the scarcity model is not what Nature seems to show us over and over (although man certainly has the ability to make it happen, as we are seeing). Maybe instead, life wants to thrive.
Webster’s defines thriving as “to grow luxuriantly.” This is not the same as rampant, invasive, unsustainable expansion (as in human conquest or cancerous tumors). And it is definitely not the same as survival.
More about thriving next week (I am going to be out of town so we’ll continue after Monday’s Card of the Week). Meantime, I invite you to continue to work on your discovery journal, collecting images of your artistic luxuries and allowing yourself to dream expansively. What would it look like if there was more than enough for fulfilling your creative desires?