What if the lives we are living were not at all about how much we could earn, or what we could accumulate for ourselves, but rather about how much we could give away, sort of a “reverse competition” of life as we know it? Would there be an intensity to our turmoil as we no sooner had given resources away but somebody else had unloaded their resources upon us? The world might become a new “everyone for himself/herself” kind of place as we sought to outdo each other with our giving, and in the meantime each of us would have more than we wanted rather than less than we needed.
What if the idea of being in power pertained not to the ability to force one’s will on others- whether individuals, organizations, nations- but rather to be the one first in line to offer help, solace, sustenance, education. Would the now-upside down nature of governments and corporations alike compete for recognition as the best among their peers in creating sustainability, sufficiency, and being the best stewards of the abundance that the world has to offer? The world might create a new definition of fame and fortune wherein leaders would be extolled for their servanthood instead of their domination.
What if the notion of having enough to eat referenced the minimal amount which we needed for sustenance rather than how many additional calories we were able to consume as a show of our success and abundance? Would we not only not want a second helping of Thanksgiving dinner, but also feel insulted at the idea of eating more than was needed? And what would that mean to our health? The world might soon discover that food is not a symbol but a right of every living thing, and that as such, there is plenty of it on earth.
What if we were somehow able to view ourselves as all part of a magnificent quilt, whose beauty was comprised of different colors and textures which made for the exquisite whole, rather than exhausting ourselves in the pursuit of identifying differences which do not exist? Would harnessing the strength of collaboration create a new source of atomic power in the process? Understanding how my own well-being is directly tied to the well-being of everyone else might cause a new form of fusion. The world might suddenly find that its energy crisis had been quite different than it imagined beforehand.
What if we were born with the bias toward inclusion and regarded exclusion as some sort of abomination? What if this was our only bias? Would we be able to see ourselves more clearly as a result, and thus know our place in the world, the universe, differently? Would that make a difference? The world might discover a meaning and a purpose for itself which reaches far beyond the atmosphere of this very tiny place in the cosmos.
What if the questions here represented reality instead of sounding like fantasy? How would my life be different? What might have been my experiences in such a world? What might I have known, learned, lived?
I find myself musing over such ” what if” questions from time to time, especially during the holidays when the blessings that I have received in my life are so particularly clear. But it’s the perfect time of year to revisit such questions, as each of us seeks gifts to give, perfect and meaningful symbols of friendship and love, and preferably ones which have never been received before. There are perfect gifts to be given. They will not be found at midnight in a department store, but rather, deep within our psyches and waiting to be discovered and freely given, as they have been since the dawn of humankind. It’s a new type of “shopping” that we must do if we truly seek the greatest bargain of all….