AdaptationPosted: November 28, 2011
My daughter & son-in-law recently had visitors from Kenya and Uganda who are here on a Rotary Project. One of their duties as hosts was help them stay warm in our San Diego weather. It seemed funny when I heard the story and then I remembered how cold I was when I moved from Mexico to Massachusetts. Adapting to new conditions (even temporary ones) can be critical.
Issues such as food, drink, rest, and comfortable temperature are basic to our comfort as humans. Abraham Mazlow, the renowned psychologist and author, made it quite clear in his hierarchy of needs table that having sufficient creature comforts was paramount.
In his view, one could not be self-realizing without having the basic needs met and I think that is generally true. Maybe yoga masters can achieve enlightenment while lying on a bed of nails but most of us do better on a comfortable bed. My experience as a teacher taught me that hungry kids make poor students. When schools also serve breakfast to students who are on the free lunch program, the students do much better in their morning classes.
Most of us go to quite a bit of effort to make sure our basic needs are met. We like to have a stocked refrigerator, clothes to keep us warm, and comfortable living space. While we may differ in what we think is basic necessity, we North Americans are clear about what we expect from life. A full stomach and a warm coat is just the beginning.
Right now, the big question in the news is how much is enough? The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are all about that question of how much is enough. Many of us are outraged by the increase in the disparity between ordinary citizens and the wealthy. Never mind the poor folks.
The great singer, Pearl Bailey, once said, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and Honey, rich is better.” She was right.
The middle class is calling for a different distribution of wealth. Economic issues are complicated, this movement comes at the same time that poor nations are also calling for a different distribution of wealth. Everyone wants more and the belief in “not enough” is rampant.
As people who seek spiritual solutions to the world’s problems, we need to remember that there is no limit to the wealth God creates. That is not to say we should do nothing. I think it is very important to honor the belief that wealth can and should be redistributed. No group needs so much “stuff” that it must have 90% of the wealth. You can only drive so many Lamborghinis, fly so many jets or wear so many diamonds around your neck. We are going to have to adapt our laws and wait for our attitudes to catch up. The age of the robber barons is over.
Our current age of information has obviously provided an opportunity for adaptation. The wealthy must adapt to sharing their wealth. The middle class must adapt to creating more wealth themselves. The poor must adapt to being part of the picture, not the stragglers on the sidelines. Most of all, the politicians must adapt to an informed and active public.
At the same time we seek a new economic balance in North America, the African nations are adapting to their new aspirations and power. From Libya to Sudan, and more, the people are gaining new information, new dreams and new ideas about how much is enough. The term “Basic Needs” takes on a new meaning when you talk with a man where the women and children must walk two hours to bring drinking water to the village.
One of my daughter and son-in-law’s independent projects are two schools in South Sudan. These simple schools are built by the villagers out of their village sticks and mud. They have only three rooms and serve over 200 people. Those adults and children are adapting to their new world by learning to read and write and do math just as we are adapting to ours by learning about global economics and politics.
What’s more, it is all part of the magnificent evolutionary expansion of consciousness that the founder of Religious Science, Dr. Ernest Holmes, describes in the Science of Mind Textbook.
How am I feeling about having enough today?
Is there any change I want to make in my economic life today?