June 10, 2016

An Ethos Of Abundance

What is the ethos of our time? Most people would agree that it is the American Dream, or globally speaking, the Consumer Dream.

An ethos is defined as "the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations." So ours is something like - work hard and you will be able to buy everything you have ever wanted. As nice as this lie sounds, it has had some unintended consequences.

There are currently several individuals in the world that are in the running for designation "First Trillionaire". They truly exemplify the ethos of our day, which could also be read as "The Ethos of More".

But only for me. Not for you. My gain is at your expense because there is a scarcity of everything. There is not enough so we have to compete with each other, and winner takes all. This is a distortion of the facts when we live in an infinitely abundant universe.

“If you perceive the universe as being a universe of abundance, then it will be. If you think of the universe as one of scarcity, then it will be… 
I always thought that there was enough to go around - that there are enough ideas in the universe and enough nourishment. 
It’s very hard to move beyond the idea that there is not enough to go around, to move beyond that sense of ‘I better get mine before anybody else takes it away from me’.” 
- Milton Glaser
Our current ethos, The Consumer Dream, has become The Planetary Nightmare.We need a new characteristic spirit to guide us, one diametrically opposed to the one we have today.

In an abundant world there is plenty to address everyone's need, but there will never be enough to fulfill the greed of even a few. Needs are finite, while greed is unlimited.

What if we are not as greedy as the economists tell us we are? Maybe we don't have infinite wants, or wouldn't if it weren't for being immersed in profit propaganda and advertising our whole lives. Maybe, with a new world view, people would give simplicity a try, and discover that a simple life of limited wants is a sustainable, happy existence. It is enough.

Imagine if, in an Ethos of Abundance, we all thought that there was more than enough to satisfy the needs of every human on the planet. In such a world view we could freely share the gifts of Earth with everyone taken care of in the healthiest way possible.

In such a world we would spend our time taking care of ourselves and those around us in a spirit of cooperation and sharing. Most people would agree that this would be preferable to competition and perpetual war.

It is an idea whose time has come. Goodbye American Dream, hello Enough For Everyone. Gift what you can - receive what you need.

"What if...

Everyone started sharing, just a little bit
With everyone else,
something that they liked to do
and didn’t charge for it?

I like making art and growing plants.
In current society, I have to sell
“things” or my “time” to live.

But if I gave some of my art
And some of my plants away,
And other people gave away some of what they do
Before long our society
Would have a different shape.

I believe we would soon have
More time for 'giving'
than for 'selling'."

- Candace Ross


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2016

    This way of thinking and over consuming has been going on for too long, yet we seem unable to have woken up to it's destructive effects. The irony is, that simplicity is such a beautiful why to live in this world. I don't mean to be rude when friends tell me 'impressive' stories of how rich their friends/relatives are and I simply say that it's not something that I feel is important. When we talk about where the money comes it usually comes back to either destroying resources, siphoning off pension money in the financial sector or exploiting people.

    I think a good foundation of practice involves a) the adoption of veganism, b) voluntary simplicity and c) meditation. As
    Chellis Glendinning suggests in My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization, that the enslavement of animals is where this all started, we started to comoditise sentient beings, rather than revere nature. Once animal agriculture is abolished attention will be quickly turned to the military industrial complex for dismantlement. Voluntary simplicity can save resources and meditation is the only method to treat trauma by effecting the hippocampus, hypofrontal cortex, amygdala and insula cortex in the brain and strengthening the parts of the brain related to compassion. Alex.

    1. If we are to survive, these things will happen. Must look up Chellis Glendinning. Thanks.

  2. AnonymousJune 10, 2016

    Beautiful post! Thanks

  3. Somehow most of the world caught the idea of the American dream - it's a bit like mass hypnotism. To me it seems most of us are asleep and need to wake up. I had thought the GFC would change how people thought and behaved here in Australia, but it didn't really hit us very hard. I wonder do you think many have 'woken up' and made lasting changes in your part of the world since the GFC? I think with climate change becoming more obvious and the cost of food and energy rising the rate of change does seem to be accelerating now, and this is hopeful.


    1. We were largely spared the worst of the GFC, although ultimately I do think that it has changed everything in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Canadians are slow to wake, but I do think that a fundamental shift is underway. Some will take longer to catch on than others, but the warning signs are obvious. I also am hopeful. We live in interesting times.


Discussion and debate is welcome on NBA. I believe that this can be done via courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the post, whether or not they agree with the views expressed.

Comments containing profanity, abusive language, or baiting will be deleted.

Comments with a user name attached above, or in a sign off in the text, are appreciated. It lets us meet on common ground, and get to know each other better.

I answer comments depending on what is happening in my life, and how much gardening, cooking, hiking, and music making needs to be done. I am also a full time caregiver to the beautiful Linda, partner in our joyous, simple life.

Click the "notify me" box to be updated on the thread by email.

Note: Comments are moderated to eliminate links to commercial interests. We are proudly a no selling, no buying website. Spammers take note. Please.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...