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The Age of Infinity and the Scarcity Matrix

By William Brandon Shanley  Posted by Jason Miller (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Bohm on the fragmentation between the content of thought and its function:

"One of the main reasons why we actually find it very difficult to attend to our thought... is that our notions concerning the general nature of thought are themselves fragmentary and confused. The confusion begins very early in life. At a certain age (as observed by Piaget, that of development from relatively immediate and direct sensory motor thought to more abstract symbolization of thought, in terms of language) the child often tends to suppose the content of his thought (for instance, imaginary objects) to be as real as things that can be seen or touched. Eventually he discovers, of course, that such content is only "imaginary," and thus he comes to regard it as "unreal." A young child is, however, probably not yet ready to understand something much more subtle, which is crucially important in this regard. This is that, while the content of the thought may be either "real" or "unreal," its function is nevertheless always real. This function is, first, to give meaning and shape to the perception by calling attention to what is regarded as relevant or essential in the context of interest and second, to give rise to feelings and urges that promote actions appropriate to the context, i.e. it contains what we may call motivation. (Emphasis added).

As an example, one may consider a table. One may think of it as a supporter of paper or as an obstacle in the way of where one wishes to go. Each of these ways of thinking leads one to see the table in a different form of perception, which calls attention to different aspects and in this way gives rise to different motivations as to what to do about the table (either to write on it or push it aside). We thus emphasize that thought and the perceptions that guide action, along with feelings and urges that constitute the motivation of such action, are inseparable aspects of one whole movement, and that to try to regard them as separately existent is a form of fragmentation between the content of thought and its overall function.

To fragment the content of thought from its overall function in the way described above leads to very serious confusion in action and in human relationships in general. For example, the thought of the inferiority of human beings belonging to different nations or ethnic groups and having different customs leads one to see such people as inferior beings and to feel the motivation to treat them in a manner that would be fitting their supposed inferiority. One tends to fall into this sort of confused response because one fails to see the content of thought and its function as an unbroken flow. Rather, one tends first to concentrate exclusively on the content (the notion of the inferiority of people who differ from oneself), which is seen as "merely a thought" and therefore unreal or perhaps "only a mental reality" and therefore not very important. Then, when one experiences the inbuilt function of his thought by "actually seeing" other people as inferior, and by "actually feeling" the urge or motive to treat them as such, he loses sight of the content in which this function originated, and thinks: "This is not just a mental image, but it is something real, something that I see and feel as an actual fact, which is very important and very urgent in its implications." So, it seems that inferiority of these people has been proved and is not a 'mere thought.'"

Scarcity hides in the function of thought the world over and I believe this is the central, fundamental malady of our times. The human ego is always surveying the horizon assessing and projecting threats, and when the context is one of scarcity, "not enough," "never enough," "not good enough" (view of self and others) the result is a world characterized by so much war, suffering, dissatisfaction, and sense of inadequacy. How could it be otherwise with the scarcity meaning being so pervasive? Since the U.S. "won" the Cold War and the demise of the counter-weight of the Soviet Union ideology to capitalist ideology, the world ego is running amuck in a socio-psychopathic orgy. It's every man for himself so I'd better get mine but quick and the hell with tomorrow! Nothing else in nature exhibits this fear of scarcity sustained over time we call "greed." Greed is fear of scarcity.

To explode the scarcity belief, and show just how inauthentic and incoherent it is, let's take a look at some objective measures as well as make some informed estimates of global wealth.

After fairly extensive research and query of a leading economist who consults for the U.S. Federal Reserve, New York University's Edward Nathan Wolf, I have not been able to obtain a household balance sheet for total global wealth, so we'll work at generating one. Yet it would seem that the G-8, IMF, World Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and High Net Worth Individuals must know what net worth is reflected by the system for purposes of banking, investment and currency flows, right? It is mystifying, although in light of my scarcity thesis, not at all surprising, that such numbers are not available to the public because they would give away the fundamental trick.

The US economy represents roughly 25% of global consumption and GNP (Source: CIA). Using the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds Accounts for the United States (first quarter, 2004), we see that the Balance Sheet of Households and Non-Profit Organizations shows a net worth of $44.87 trillion in 2003, not including the value of primary homes. Today's figure (2006) would easily exceed $50 trillion. While these measures vary somewhat from nation to nation, if we multiply the US figure by 4, the balance sheet for the planet would be $200 trillion. Does that figure include the Oil and Gas Journal in Houston estimate of proven oil reserves of 1.266 trillion barrels of oil? At a price of $72 (the price to which it will return after November 7th) that equals $91.15 trillion, so it hardly seems possible that the figure could be included in global net worth, as that would represent nearly one-half of global wealth. And while I admit that I'm flying blind in this area, let's set aside 50% of that number and add $45 trillion to our $200 trillion, giving us $245 trillion. Let's say there's an equivalent value for all government infrastructure and farms. That's $490 trillion, or $75,384 for every person on the planet, without even attempting to calculate the value of the vast, non-commoditized natural resources, surplus human product, labor, intellectual or spiritual capital, human networks, the black market, off-shore trillions, or the priceless value of the our common inheritance, the physical planet Earth, which is clearly beyond measure. And beyond that still, we have the non-physical which may account for 94% of what is within and without us.
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So, what is all this talk about scarcity and what the hell are we doing to ourselves, the world and everything in it?

The scarcity belief is the fundamental trick in system that is enslaving the world and killing the planet; it must be revealed and transcended. Opposing it will not work; it will only make is stronger. The world ego will defend this status quo at all costs because the economic order of the world runs on its fear of scarcity and it fears nothing more than scarcity!

We are addicted to a scarcity fantasy.

Once again, David Bohm from a dialogue in Thought as a System, where he is speaking about addiction to fantasy:

"I would like to discuss the imagination so that we could understand its role here, because it is very closely related to this question. 'Imagination' means 'making an image', 'seeing the image of something that is not there'; in other words, fantasy, fancy, and so on. But really there is no fundamental distinction between the processes of imagination and perception. We've said that the entire consciousness is actually created by a process which is being guided by information and the senses.
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That process gives rise to perception, and that process is a kind of imagination...

So the reality you perceive is affected by your thought. Thought is working as a kind of imagination infused into your perception. It becomes part of what you see. And that imagination is necessary. But it gets held too strongly and resists evidence of incoherence, then it leads to all the problems we're talking about...

You can see therefore that you have to watch imagination carefully. It can be creative and it can also be very destructive, because the fantasy realm can merge with reality and create a resistance to seeing that it is fantasy. It will create reflexes that resist seeing it because you create such beautiful fantasies that you don't want to give them up. They feel very good, the endorphins are produced and everything else. Hence, there is a movement -- a reflex -- to hold them and to resist thoughts which say they are not right, or that they are not the way it is. Thus you get illusion and all that..."

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