When Prosperity = Enoughness

My good friend Rev. Vicky Elder and I have been working for the last several months on a new course on the subject of Prosperity. During the last several decades, a number of spiritual teachers have developed such courses, primarily stressing abundance and its achievement. We’ve decided it is time for a radically new approach.

The working title for the course is Living Enoughness: Prosperity Thinking for the 21st Century. The driving idea behind the course is the necessity of recognizing that the concept of unlimited resources is true in an eternal sense but in this space-time reality, it must be offset by at least

It's probably both of us, actually. :-)

It’s probably both of us, actually. 🙂

two key considerations:

  1. What is best for the planet, for the rest of Life with which we share Earth? Just because we can do something — such as extract more and more carbon-based fuel from the earth by methods that are potentially destructive and enormously expensive — doesn’t mean we should. This is particularly true when the global climate picture is as precarious as it is.
  2. What works best for the human economies for the long haul? Sustainability must become a more important concern than short-term profitability. The current capitalist economic systems are based on one fundamental idea that has outlived its usefulness and its truthfulness: the notion of unlimited growth. As the population grows, there must be an ever-increasing supply of material goods merely to maintain the status quo. Capitalism demands that the availability of resources and manufactured goods rise faster than the population’s legitimate needs. That model is no longer sustainable.

Looked at deeply, capitalism is fundamentally incompatible with the realization of Oneness. When we realize that There’s Only One of Us Here, that everything I do, no matter how small, affects you, and vice versa, then we begin to live our lives not from a foundation of more but from a foundation of enough. When I have enough food, enough shelter, enough health, enough clean water, enough of the necessities of life, then anything else I get is, by definition, more than enough. Or, stated another way, too much.

The idea that we need more than is enough drives from a sense of entitlement. We believe that by virtue of our hard work, our superior military, our political dominance, our market intelligence, our capital investment wisdom and a host of other components of American Exceptionalism, we are entitled to more than enough. But to the extent that we claim that excess, we deprive other human beings of enoughness. Contrary to long-time capitalist teachings and practices, many aspects of the economy area  zero-sum game. When resources are finite, the world will inevitably divide itself into haves and have-nots so long as there is a belief in abundance as the rule of the day.

Charles Eisenstein’s masterful and insightful book, Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition, sets forth the case and outlines the kind of deep social transformation needed to allow humanity to survive and even thrive in the new economic realities in the dualistic world in which we have chosen to have this life experience.

I invite and welcome a dialog on this subject. If you know of other resources I should know about as we tackle this task, please feel free to share them via email. And watch for more posts here as the learning and the writing and the teaching unfold in coming months.

 

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