Category Archives: Systems thinking

Abundance vs scarcity

Life is filled with scarcity and abundance at the same time. Whichever view we take will impact our own course through life.  Are you a scarcity thinker, or full of abundance everywhere?

I’d like to drill down into this, because lately they’ve been impacting WinSol’s Learning Center future:  whether we’ll live a world of plenty & free energy, or in an apocalypse of scarcity where we’re scourging for every last BTU.

Back to the future

First, let’s take a trip back to the 70’s… That’s when the first big modern public standoff  took place between abundance and scarcity mindsets:   Paul Erlich made a bet in 1980 on the impending scarcity of materials (partially based on his books ‘population bomb & limits to growth’ ).  Simon challenged Ehrlich to choose any raw material he wanted and a date more than a year away, and he would wager on the inflation-adjusted prices decreasing as opposed to increasing.

Ehrlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. The bet was formalized on September 29, 1980, with September 29, 1990 as the payoff date. Ehrlich lost the bet, as all five commodities that were bet on declined in price from 1980 through 1990, the wager period.[1]

I’d like to believe that I am an abundant thinker (without the rose colored glasses) without the utopia of a ‘full-speed ahead’ mentality. But deep down, maybe I’m really a scarcity kinda guy. I still scrounge around for the best deal, hardly leave anything on my plate, and am prone to negative thinking.  Try as I may, having been born into a poor immigrant post WWII family.  Perhaps I am wired to think life is filled and will be filled with scarcity.  The laws of entropy and finite global resources tend to back that view up.

 

I like this definition:  The Scarcity Mentality is limiting. It may seem  like a good plan at first, but over time too much  energy is wasted on conflict, negative thinking, and stifled creativity. On the other hand, the Abundance Mentality is beyond one’s ego.It’s fearless, it’s free, and it’s immune to criticism. It is beneath no one and superior to no one. It is full of magic.

And once I look at this chart of the two mindset’s characteristics, well it becomes way clearer which way I lean. How about you?

Solutions…

My favorite example of everything that’s right with society is when one person lights another’s candle with their own, and the next one, and next… until thousands are lit.  There is nothing lost from each person or their candle, and yet one flame lights thousands of others.  Togetherness, sharing, abundance, beauty, MAGIC.

Gratitude is a powerful enhancer of an abundant mindset.

From Steve Covey to Wayne Dyer to Anthony Robbins and so many more – getting an abundant mindset is a life changer.

On a personal note, I’ve been re-examening my whole life-style choices (something I do every few years – some people call it a vision quest or long retreat) : Why shouldn’t I just get back on the treadmill and live it up? …enjoy the modern luxuries of endless energy, food, water, materials and join the rest of society in its feast of endless luxuries…

It’s really all about scale.  On the long horizon we live in a finite world. There’s only so much of anything and everything. We may have enough oil in the ground to last another hundred years…

And then there’s the famous quip that ‘… we didn’t stop using whale oil to light our street lamps because we ran out of whales…’ the answer being that we discovered natural gas and kerosene.

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….under development… stay tuned:….And so today, we can see that electric and hydrogen cars will replace fossil fuel cars, and that instead of an oil peak in supply, the industry today is faced with an oil peak in demand: something Hubbert ………….. did not forsee.

But getting back to the dilemna: whether to live with a scarcity or abudnant world view.

I like to live with the thought that our energy/water/material world is one of increasing scarcity while within my spiritual heart I live with the thought that abundance is everywhere – the universe is one of abundance.

We gotta live within our means.   Wasting a resource is crazy, no matter if it’s plentiful or not. 

maslow essentials

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy?  It basically says we need to have our basic essentials taken care of first and then we can move on.  It starts at love & security; food-shelter-clothing, and ends up at self-actualization.  First developed in 1943, it’s amazing it still stands the test of time.

Although this version may be more accurate….
or maybe this one is more current?

 

My personal experiences at WinSol’s simple & natural living has been a constant focus of not ‘powering up’.  It is SO, SO tempting to just go to the store and buy, buy: more solar panels, more comfy chairs, more 2×4, 2×6, etc.  It has taken me over a decade to realize the surrounding forest has all (or most) of what’s needed.  1″ fir tree rounds are way stronger than 2×6’s.  Chairs can be made from the forest (hey – I’m working on it).  Thermal mass is amazing in tons of local granite.  The dome floor is just the dirt (sifted) from clearing the access road to it…. on and on.  All re-purposed, or in the current PC lingo: up-cycled.

What are the  basic essentials? Let’s face it, our basic physical needs are still food, shelter and clothing.  Ok, I’ll add warmth (coolth?) in there. But one can easily survive with an indoor temperature of 40F.  But do we really need to cool ourselves to 65F on summer days?

And then there’s all that energy.  

Do we really need energy to live simply?  Ok, I’ll vote for lights, music, videos and internet in that order.  Above these items, it’s over-rated.  We are getting more comfy and cozy with all our toys.  I hope they last, but if they don’t y’all can always come experience the sheer beauty and serenity (and quietness) of WinSol in it’s natural state…. and maybe after a few days feel refreshed by real simplicity.

Here’s my personal favorite on Maslow’s hierachy:

Walter Russell

I have been fascinated by this man for some time now.  Walter Cronkite called him the Leanardo DaVinci of our times.  Yet he goes unheralded and unnoticed.

Walter Russell (1871-1963) reportedly had near death experiences every seven years until the age of 49.  Then he had one that lasted 39 days uninterrupted.  Wikipedia lists his achievements as “a painter, sculptor, author and builder and less well known as a natural philosopher and for his unified theory in physics and cosmogony. He posited that the universe was founded on a unifying principle of rhythmic balanced interchange.”

While he had  no formal higher education in  areas he was an expert in (architect, builder, painter/sculptor, physicist, philosopher ++), in  1926 he announced the existence of urium and uridium, and four other transuranium elements which made atomic fission possible, also deuterium and tritrium and the other four hydrogen isotopes, which made the H-bomb and heavy water possible. He corrected the atomic chart, and admonished current scientists for their limited ways of thinking.

A couple of Russell’s concepts I like:   matter exists only with motion  (only with motion is matter possible); and he never bothered with EFFECT, only with CAUSE.  Fascinating.

On a side note, Walter Russell was a pioneer of Co-operative Living, and built $30 million worth of top-quality cooperative apartments in NYC – some still operating to this day.  He is credited with developing  “cooperative ownership into an economically sound and workable principle.” [10]

Walter Russell fulfills  the trifecta of unheralded masterminds along with  Viktor Schauberger and Nikola Tesla.

If we only had followed their paths we would be in an amazingly different world today.

 

Ok, ok I’ll include Bucky Fuller in here too, and… Oh! there’s just too many alternative universes out there 🙂 

 

I am currently reading ‘The man who tapped the Secrets of the Universe’ and on page 35: “For many days and nights I was made to write down all these things which I knew in ‘The Divine Illiad’ (PDF here)  which is my record of my teachings while in the Light.  And in that one volume of many thousands of words there was never an erasure nor correction; and the language of that divine message was not mine.  I could never have written such rhythmic essence of knowledge, nor have created its exalted style’.  Thus I was made to see the universe as a whole and its simple principles of creation as one unit, repeated over and over, endlessly and without variation, as evidenced in the universal heart-beat to which every pulsing thing in the light-wave universe is geared to act as ONE UNIT OF ONE WHOLE.” 

And if we need any proof of that, just visit the Global Heart Coherence project and their global monitoring projects… especially what happened with their monitors on 911...and if you’re still interested in how this works in all of us and is linked with our living earth… check out this video

http://www.globalcarerooms.org/rooms/intuitive-heart-video/gci

 

systems thinking & LeLc learning programs

Everything is interconnected.  Yes – and it’s complicated and simple at the same time.  I’ve been there.

With the LeLc (Living Energy Learning Center at WinSol) I’m going to be exploring the simpler side of this interconnectedness.

I spent five years on the complicated side:  (2001-2006) with some of the leading brains in the world from Peter Senge (MiT)and his SoL org and their first Congress in Vienna,  then with Dr. Andrew Ford at Eastern Washington U and his ‘environmental modeling’ work, and Dr. Braungart in Hamburg with his EPEA Cradle-to-Cradle.  I have fond memories of speaking at a Systems Design conference in Bergen, Norway and a ‘moose safari’ in the fjords with a executive friend from Det Norske Veritas in Oslo.

I worked with Peregrine Systems, PowerSim software, and Cisco Systems on developing some pretty advanced complex SD (System Dynamic) models for lease holdings and workplace productivity.  And the result?  Once again (sigh), I was too far ahead of the curve and couldn’t squeeze a profit to keep the business operations going.

But, man did I learn a lot!  Things are complicated and counter-intuitive, and they sure are interconnect
ed!  And it sure was fun teaching it at CSUS’s GBO program on sustainable business practices… carbon bathtub and all.

Fast forward a decade, and now I find myself deeply engaged with Joanna Macy’s WTR work – and trying to figure out how to leverage that for some good.  And by good, I mean RESULTS.  I learned as an auditor for the Senate Baldridge Quality Award, that results are what matters – the rest is mostly marketing (aka window dressing).

So the challenge with the LeLc (Living Energy Learning Center)  will be how to incorporate all of this SD modeling, educational intents, inspiration, ancients’ wisdom, Gaia’s pleadings: calling us to PLEASE STOP this destructive onslaught… into real RESULTS for LeLc attendees that effect real change.

Fast forward to experiental learning.  i think that’s the sweet spot.  All the lecturting, field trips, powerpoint & prezi shows are fine, but figuring out processes and exercises and DEMONSTRATING things in a lab type setting so that people can PLAY with things – that’s my new passion, and that’s where the LeLc (Living Energy Learning Center) is headed.

I ran across this interesting business playwheel (aka mandala? 🙂 about STEM and learning – what do you think?  is it worthwhile  pursuing?  stay tuned…

 

 

…  my opinion:   I think it’s a lot better than Bloom’s taxonomy – but that also has its purpose.  Sometimes I wish permaculture PDC and other programs would have some discipline in putting their learning programs together, rather than just follow some book or concept or brainstorming… but focus on REAL learning methods: like a taxonomy of learning?

stay tuned… now that the LeLc construction is winding down… the REAL thing begins… wheeeeeeeee……