Home > Blog: Currents & Futures > Currents & Futures 03: Abundance? Or Denial?

Currents and Futures

[NOTE: Would you be interested in participating in a LIVE DISCUSSION of this topic, with like-minded change agents, on 27 March? See information at the end of this article…]

Yes, I do believe that “abundance” is our future.  But, it won’t be technology that delivers it.

First: If you haven’t seen Peter Diamandis’ TED talk, you really should…


I agree with Mr. Diamandis on 80% (perhaps 90%!) of the points he raises.  (I particularly agree with him regarding the negativity of mainstream Breaker media.)  However, his basic assumption, that technology will get us out of our troubles, is fundamentally flawed.  And talking fast, being enthusiastic and waving one’s arms around won’t cure the flaw.

Overshoot and Die-Back…

Comment #1:  Mr. Diamandis runs afoul of a pretty fixed “law” – what biologists refer to as “Overshoot and Die-Back”.  Once an organism exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment, it dies off – quickly and dramatically.  It happens to ants, to herd animals… and to humans.

Believing that humans are exempt from Overshoot and Die-Back, that “We can grow forever!” is simply denial. (This status quo denial, enshrined as “The American Dream”, is adhered to by both Conservatives and Progressives.)  Trading in the Pollyanna version of denial for the “Techno-Fix” version: “We can expand our technological capacities forever!” is equally wrong-headed… Overshoot and Die-Back is as unforgiving as global climate change.  Limits on growth are fixed.

(For more on the “overshoot” concept, please see my presentation, posted on the Commonway website: Archives: Overshoot and Die-Back  Click on the first link.)

Technology?  Or Consciousness?

Comment #2:  It’s not about technology, its about CONSCIOUSNESS.  Yes, the average teenager has more communications tech power than a US President had a few decades ago… but, what does he do with it?  He’s probably trading inane comments with his “friends”, playing a violent online “game”, or trawling for pornography.  Multiplying that inanity by one billion doesn’t make the world one bit smarter.  (It does sell a LOT of cellphones.  And violent games.  And pornography…)

Without a consciousness shift, Americans will remain individualistic, consumption-driven, transportation-dependent and largely clueless.  But… what happens if/when we WAKE UP?

The God Complex

Comment #3:  Despite Mr. Diamandis’ high energy and higher optimism, the video left me… drained.  Here’s yet another clearly intelligent, well trained and articulate person, willing to reduce his view of the problems to the level of his capacity.  He sees the world as “abundant”, because he only looks at the problems that technology can understand and fix.  He is “god” in his world, not because he is omnipotent, but because he chooses his potencies so narrowly.

Technology won’t fix our astronomical suicide rates. There is no techno-fix for the despair and emptiness that drives the world’s drug and alcohol consumption.  And, it is technology that DRIVES the incredible funneling-up of our economic power into ever-fewer hands. In fact, of the “12 Global Challenges”, NOT ONE of them can be “fixed” with “technology”.

The good news: ALL of our issues can be addressed by changing our consciousness and our will to act. Yes, that is my “Inconvenient Solution”… and it beats both the “techno-fix” and “apocalyptic” alternatives.

The world stands on the edge of an abyss, with no technological way across.  There is, however, a visionary, spiritual bridge to the other side – a world where “abundance” means living within the dynamic conditions of a healing Earth, where there is enough for all humans, for ALL LIFE.  There is enough for all – once we all practice enoughness.




PS: Thanks to Janet Sussman and Rick Ingrasci for information and inspiration…

PS: Let’s engage in a live dialog on this subject!  If you are interested in a FREE (donations accepted) phone gathering, on Tuesday, 27 March at 7pm Pacific time, using the Maestro Conference interface, please register by clicking here: Currents & Futures Live Discussion.  It is free, but registration is necessary to receive call-in instructions.


4 Comments, RSS

  • Ted

    says on:
    March 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Sharif, I read this and watched the video this morning.
    Coca cola deploying abundant water production to 206 countries? How come it strikes me as… improbable… that this water will be available to the masses @ 2 cents per gallon?

    • Sharif

      says on:
      March 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Careful… he said that they will PRODUCE the water for 2 cents. They will SELL the water for… whatever they want. More likely their usual $6.00 per gallon.

      They may start at 2 cents… to build the market.

      His presentation was riddled with these unthought out moments…

      • Ted

        says on:
        March 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        Yeah that’s exactly what I meant!
        Just because Coke owns the water monopoly now, doesn’t mean we’ll all be happy-go-lucky and quenched for cheap… and besides, air is next.

        • Sharif

          says on:
          March 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

          Here’s a quote that I think fits…

          “Where is our ‘Plan D’? A plan to help us de-automate, de-centralize, de-industrialize, and disconnect from big energy, from big money, and big food …” Julian Darley, quoted Culture Change e-Letter #77

          When the corporate tiger gets tamed, it won’t be “technology” that does it…

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