Most human cultures – including our own – in one way or another lean on fear. It’s a powerful, primal emotion that has allowed our species to survive this long: without fear, none of us would be here.
The basic fear that keeps modern western culture up and running is the fear of “not enough.” Not having enough, which quickly translates into not being enough. The consumer economy that has shaped North American culture since the middle of the last century requires that people buy (pun intended) into the idea that we are in some way incomplete, inadequate, lacking. We consume more and more in an effort to find the happiness promised in the next purchase. We keep going, even when the data tell us that we are consuming ourselves and the planet upon which we rely into ecological disaster and extinction.
It turns out there is another nightmare unfolding in parallel to the extinction narrative – one that strikes terror into the hearts of those who are concerned with the smooth running of our society: a rising level in the number of people who identify themselves as being content with what they have.
It’s a terrible thought. If that number gets too high, society as we know it will crumble. We can only continue to function as we have become accustomed to functioning if we are ultimately unsatisfied with our lives.
What if we don’t need to be perpetually dissatisfied with our lives? What if we are already enough? What would we do then?
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