Abundance and Scarcity
I imagined that I was brought up to save money as a kid. It's quite a positive trait, but I have come to realise that it went beyond that. I have come to realise that the society I grew up in, as a whole, had a pretty negative attitude to poverty. I want to explain how I came to realise that I have a mindset of scarcity, and how this has absolutely nothing to do with my income, and why I think it is important for me to work hard on that way of thinking, to become free of that. To be able to embrace and be unafraid of poverty, so that I can act rationally.
I think that there is not enough. There's not enough money. Not enough land. Not enough food. Not enough toilet roll! I worry, I am troubled! I am concerned about the future and I vote for political systems that also build into this idea of scarcity. There are other poverties too, not enough friends, not enough time, not enough energy... I could continue.
I went to see a few grassroot art projects in Mugabe's Zimbabwe – a book cafe, and a sculpture park, in the townships. The townships were, and still are today, impermanent settlements, where people didn't have the opportunity to save, to accumulate, to pile up. Fear of the police was real and, I believe, justified. But there, in those communities, I discovered a kind of abundance I didn't expect. An abundance of community. Because "Whatever happens, we have each other".
And then I return to the west, and my ingrained habits of accumulation, and fear, and scarcity. Being sure I have enough for me; rather than my neighbour has enough for them. And I am ashamed. I am deeply deeply ashamed of myself, and how closed off I have become from my neighbour in so many ways.
What I have learnt, is that poverty is nowhere near as frightening or as dangerous to me as my greed is. For it is in giving that we receive. And it is a form of receiving that is unobtainable in any other form. It is a permission to be a dignified part of society. To be able to truly be at peace. I know I have a really long path to walk until I become a child of abundance. I have lived with a mindset of scarcity so long. But as I set out, one step into the unknown, I hope that my Jedi friends might join me on that walk too.