We have everything – unless we think we don’t

We have everything. That’s a simple sentence but I imagine it causes a lot of trouble for most people reading it. I can imagine people thinking “What does he mean?”, “Of course we don’t have everything, that’s why I’ve got a job to get money and save up for the things I want” and “Some people seem to have everything, but I certainly don’t!”

Let’s think this through carefully and maybe we’ll see that, actually, we do have everything.

we have everything

We have everything

What is our situation? We are a group of beings that we can call humankind and we exist on this planet, Earth, in this solar system. Everything single thing that is available to us has come from this Earth. Nothing really new can be created, all we do is change some things into others and think we have something new. A mobile phone, for example, is made by converting petroleum (which we mined from under the ground) into plastics and using metals we’ve recovered from the Earth and glass we’ve made from silica. The mobile phone is just a repurposed use of the materials that are available to us on the Earth.

If you consider humankind’s existence on the Earth, we have everything we could ever have right here. There’s nothing else for us to get. Ok, sure, sometimes meteorites fall to Earth and a very small number of humans have been to the moon and brought things back but, essentially, everything we could ever have is right here.

We can expand this to the solar system as the sun provides us constant energy (through it’s radiation) that is key for life on Earth. We can even expand it to the whole universe although it’s hard to imagine how we’d be able to get things from other solar systems or galaxies.

Everything we could ever have is right here. And it was all provided to us (humankind) for free. Amazing huh?

So why do we feel a sense of lacking and need to get more stuff for ourselves?

Why do we feel a sense of lacking?

When we consider the whole of humankind, it’s very easy to see that we have everything we could ever have. We cannot be lacking anything. Collectively, we have everything we need and could ever need.

The problem comes when we start thinking individually. Now we have the situation where some individuals can take more for themselves. Note, that everything was given to the whole of humankind for free, but now some individuals want to try and take a lot of it for themselves. Why? Because of the fear that someone else might grab it all and there wouldn’t be enough for themselves (actually, they are fearing themselves because they are the ones who want to grab it all).

Today, we’ve fractured into a complex set of individuals. We have individual people, individual villages & cities, individual countries, individual corporations, etc., and we’ve fallen into the trap that each of these is fighting to make sure they have “enough” and ensuring they get more than the others.

Even worse, we now define who we are by how much we have. How much money, how many natural resources, the size of our GDP, the size of our house, the car we drive, our salary, etc. We are seen as a success in the current world if we’ve been able to grab more stuff than the average person.

This fight of grabbing as much stuff as each individual can is unsustainable. It cannot end well and we’re starting to see it unravelling now. The ultimate endgame of this greed mentality is that one person might own everything and the rest of humankind owns nothing.

Is there another way?

Of course there is, and it’s the only sustainable option and the only real future. The key is to stop thinking about individuals and start seeing ourselves as a single humankind. As soon as we do this we see that we have everything. There is no lack. We are fine.

If we accept each other and work with each other (globally) and with Nature, everyone would have everything they needed. There would be plenty for everyone. I hear some people saying “No there wouldn’t!”, but it’s easy to see how our greed system leads to enormous waste.

Without greed, we’d have plenty. If we could remove greed and the fear of lack, the world would be an amazing place. If we had gratitude for the Earth and everything that Nature provides (for free!), we’d see how bountiful our existence was.

Are we close to being able to change our society? It would appear not. We put so much value on greed and fear that these have become the basis of our society. But don’t be too concerned about this because greed and fear are just thoughts systems. They aren’t anything real, and it takes no real effort at all to change our thoughts. All that is needed to change the way the world works is to change our thoughts.

We have everything, and we could experience it if we change our thoughts, see everyone as part of a single humankind and work with Nature with gratitude.

We have everything – unless we think we don’t

I’m sure many people are thinking that I’m talking about Utopia here and disregard it as some stupid pipe dream. We find it hard to accept Utopian thoughts, but we’re happy to believe in the society the have now where the ultimate endgame could be that one person owns everything and everyone else has nothing. That would be the opposite of Utopia, or Dystopia. We’re happy to accept that our world is a dystopia, but we believe Utopia is impossible. That’s a little strange.

Imagine the Earth before humankind came along. Nature is full force. Trees, rivers, mountains, everything growing and producing bountiful supplies. Sounds a bit like Utopia to me. Humankind has come along and messed it up, but we don’t have to – we can be part of it. We have everything – unless we think we don’t.

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6 Responses to “We have everything – unless we think we don’t”

  1. Rani Bhatia-Durand

    Hi peter always a pleasure to read your reflections and watch you inspire us to reflect on our own path. You touch an important point one that asks us to consider adopting a mental model of abundance vs lack. I would also say our need for “things” begs us to considered that we all have everything we need inside ourselves to be joyful and we can drop our illusion that these creature comforts bring us any lasting happiness. When I coach executives I often ask “when is enough enough?”. There is another way to joy as you rightfully point out by dropping our dualistic thinking that separates us and cause us feel something is missing.

    • Peter

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Rani. It’s always good to hear from you. Yes, once we realise that we have everything, and that “things” cannot bring us real happiness, and then we see that joy can really only come from within, then we’re on the path to remembering some truths about ourselves. And it’s these truths that do bring lasting happiness and joy. You’re right – everything we need is inside ourselves.

      The question you ask your executive students – “when is enough enough?” – reminds me of the little story in What’s your end game?. I really like that story.

    • Peter

      Hi Michelle. Thanks for reading it and thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad you found it interesting.

  2. Christina

    Thanks for the above which I completely relate to, and for your blog on ‘As I begin to love myself’, Peter- I particularly like the line above: ‘now some individuals want to try and take a lot of it for themselves. Why? Because of the fear that someone else might grab it all and there wouldn’t be enough for themselves (actually, they are fearing themselves because they are the ones who want to grab it all).’

    • Peter

      Thanks for leaving your comments Christina. Much appreciated. Good to know that you relate to these articles. I find it quite humbling.


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