We live in a world full of paradoxes: of major advances in science, technology and medicine and yet massive abuses of all of these. Of extraordinary acts of compassion and selflessness by individuals and organizations and yet extraordinary levels of corruption, self-interest and greed.
We live in a world defined by scarcity and yet we have more than enough to share. For instance, 48 percent of the world's food production is wasted or thrown away at some point in the journey from producer to consumer. If we addressed this alone there would be no hunger in the world.
We live in thrall to the three basic fears:
- I don't have enough -- so I judge success only in material terms
- I am not loved enough -- so I make sure I look after myself
- I am not good enough -- so I argue to prove that I am
But what if we changed this paradigm? What if we found the Spark to free us from these fears? A spark that not only moved us away from the current scarcity paradigm but towards one where enough is ok, where we only sold goods that were good and services that served, where we understood that we hold the world in trust for our grandchildren (not as a resource to plunder), and where we were motivated not by success but by significance.
Then, our focus would be on Abundance, sharing, working for the common good and the dignity of all people. Our focus would be on Renewal -- everything we do, everything we consume and every relationship would come from a place of nurture, care, love and sustainability.
And the way we interact is through Dialogue, a genuine desire to understand rather than be understood, of celebrating what's right with the situation rather than wallowing in what's wrong with it and an unshakeable belief in the possibilities that come from collaboration.
These four things, Spark, Abundance, Renewal and Dialogue, seem to create the conditions for changing the current scarcity paradigm. Although maybe they are not vote winners as they eschew the view that growth is the way to solve our problems and they undermines the power base of those with their hands on the levers of political and economic power it does at least provide a viable alternative. We don't need more data to tell us what is going on, we don't need more technology to provide answers, we just need the courage and the will to think and act differently. We also don't need to wait for evolution to help us -- that could take millennia and there is an urgency now as we continue to plunder the planet at 1.4 times its natural rate of renewal.
What we do need is to celebrate and support those remarkable individuals and organizations, who in their own way, are redefining what is right. They do it quietly and with the conviction that this is what they were called to do. And it is the connections being made at places like the Spirit of Humanity Forum in Reykjavik between people building the capability to put love and compassion at the heart of what they do and how they do it that will ultimately reach a tipping point for the paradigm to shift. We can all do our bit by doing what Meg Wheatley calls our "right work" and we can do it now.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Spirit of Humanity Forum, in conjunction with the conference of the same name that took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week. For more information on the Spirit of Humanity Forum, read here.