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.
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