Blog Action Day 2008: Plenty

Posted on October 15, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, Musings, Philosophy, Spirituality |

There are a lot of posts about Blog Action Day today. I participated last year, when the topic was “The Environment“, but I almost didn’t want to this year. I really enjoy being a part of projects like this; and I’m always interested to read the views of other bloggers.

What got to me this time around was the topic title, “Poverty“. Immediately, it puts into peoples’ consciousness that, not only does “poverty” exist; it’s a widespread “problem” which needs “intervention”. I honor those who wish to help others in the world, and in their own communities. You will find many blogs today which have views on how to do this, and many will make good and inspiring reading.

I just feel to approach the issue from a different perspective. Here is one way of looking at a particular resource:

The world is being transformed because the cost and speed of creating, manipulating, and communicating knowledge (and other forms of wealth) have fallen to tiny fractions of previous levels. What resources facilitate this revolution? Silicon, for computer chips, and glass, for fiber optic cables. Both are made from silica, which, after oxygen, is the most common element on earth. It is sand! Thus, human beings took a common, abundant material, applied their ingenuity (in the form of, for example, quantum mechanics), and created unprecedented wealth. —Sheldon Richman

So, one way of looking at resources is that some are abundant, not scarce. I know there is much more to say than this; much more to the story of who benefits from which technology. But, as I said before, there are other blogs to read about those things.

My wish, for today, is that each of us can do a little bit, whether it’s deciding to have a new thought, or whether it’s giving something unexpectedly to someone, to make us feel more abundant ourselves. Feelings turn into thoughts, which turn into realities. It’s difficult to see headlines such as “Worldwide Economic Crisis” and not react with some fear, and this in turn may make us feel a bit helpless when thinking of aiding others. On an Action Day such as this, though, it seems helpful to me to step back, assess all the wonderful things I have in my life, and allow the feeling of “plenty” to permeate my thinking. Fear and panic won’t help. As one of my teachers says “You can’t become poor enough, or lonely enough, or any other conscious state you can muster to completely empathize with someone who is poorer or lonelier than you.” Someone else said “One way I can help the poor is to not become one of them.” This may sound callous to some, but I feel we are much better able to serve from a position of strength.

A Zen Story: A man walks by a beggar on the street, who displays a sign saying “Please Help. Haven’t Eaten in Three Days”. After contributing some coins to the man’s upturned hat, he contemplates this as he walks into a meditation center. “How long have you been fasting so far?” he’s asked by a friend. “Three days, and I’m just starting to feel really good.”

I think it is sometimes a blessing to deliberately engage in consuming less. It can be remarkably freeing and uplifting, and, leave more resources for others. The difference between me, and the beggar, is that I’m fortunate enough to perceive my own choice in this.

I’m reminded of a song, from the controversial musical Porgy and Bess. It’s called I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’, and it’s sung here by Sammy Davis, Jr. It illustrates, clearly, that perspective changes everything.

Lyrics are here, if you’d like them.

I wish you a day of Plenty.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 08


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11 Responses to “Blog Action Day 2008: Plenty”

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thank you for the abundant wish! πŸ™‚ well, on my part, as a result of participating in blog action day, i’m looking out for organisations to donate to in the cause of poverty. the trick is to find one that issues a proper receipt! (in malaysia, it doesn’t seem to be a practise to issue receipts for donations – makes me suspicious as to where my money is being channelled to!)

may you have a day of plenty as well. πŸ™‚

for now, i turn to sites like freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. πŸ™‚

I am reminded of the song “Another Day in Paradise”. Nice post Muse πŸ™‚

You’re welcome, sulz! I’ve read yours as well. I didn’t know that about receipts where you live. Here, people usually make sure they get them, because they can get a tax reduction on charitable contributions. It’s nice that you are looking at how to contribute in that way. πŸ™‚

Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting, kouji haiku. I like that site, Freerice, too, and I had their logo on my blog for a while. I put it on another site I work on. I didn’t know of the others; I’ll have to look into them. I read your Blog Action Day haiku—very beautiful; I was touched. I wish you peace and plenty. πŸ™‚

The one by Phil Collins, Apar? That is a very moving song, gets one to think.

Thank you, I wish you a day of plenty as well.

It’s interesting how different things can seem when you look at them from another perspective, isn’t it? Ultimately, it comes down to whether you chose for things to be the way they are, or if they just happened and there was nothing you could do about them.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Porgy and Bess, but it’s got some great music.

I hope you had a day of plenty as well Muse!

I’ve never heard that song before, but it sure does show that perspective does change everything.

I’ve made it a habit to look up the lyrics to songs that I like. Some of the meanings behind songs are sometimes looked over until you see the actual words.

Take care!

I had a double-take moment yesterday, I was getting ready for the debate so the TV was on in the background and I caught a phrase that disturbed me – and it was about certain Americans.

Some Americans are living on $3 a day or less – how can that be? Poverty is widespread – we all know this, but it truly saddened me that people still live in tents and on as little as that amount in the US. I did find it – I don’t know the word.

Poverty HAS to be eradicated – everywhere!!

Wonderful post, Muse. We should be happy for what we have but in the same sense maybe a little ashamed as well, when we look around the world and see people hurting.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why. It just shouldn’t be. There is no reason for it. No excuse. Why do we let it happen?

It isn’t logical. In this day and age, it should be so obvious, we let it be so. It doesn’t have to be so.

The only way to effectively ease poverty is through organised community effort, i.e. a redistributive tax and social insurance. This the Americans have always shunned.While Europe was rebuilding their communities after the world war through social welfare reform Americans were working themselves into a frenzied phobia labelling anything like community welfare programnes as communist, poverty in Africa is one thing, where all are poor but in America it has been consistently a point of shame that stark poverty can exist side by side such staggering wealth. None of that is to say that the American people are not the most generous people on earth-they are, but I see this as a fault at the heart of republican philosophy [trickle down wealth]Whatever fault people found with Nixon this is one area where he made a dramatic uturn in his political philosophy.

hi!! I cant add anything 😦

Thanks, B0bby. I certainly agree with your mixed feelings re Porgy and Bess. It’s considered “a slice of life”, or “racist” and I suppose it’s a bit of each. Perspective is a great tool, I believe.

That’s a good idea, Shane. I’d like to do more lyric-looking-up myself. I’ve realized recently that songs I’ve heard for years take on a whole new meaning when I sit still and really listen to the words! (Amazing revelation!) πŸ˜‰ There are a few that I thought I knew what they were about, and it turns out they were a lot more profound than I’d noticed. πŸ™‚

It seems that ever since there have been refrigerator boxes, there have been people living in them, Will. This planet does appear to have abundant (although perhaps not unlimited) resources. It does take a plan…

Thank you, BD. I think you’re spot on when you say it isn’t logical. It’s not about logic, but about power and politics and cooperation and awareness (not necessarily in that order). We can each take some responsibility by becoming clear, and allowing new ideas to take hold. πŸ™‚

Hi, gentledove. I appreciate how you use the words “ease” poverty, rather than “fight” it, or “slaughter” it. I don’t believe there are enemies in this, but conditions we’d prefer otherwise. Rampant consumerism has not helped the situation in my country or the world, and most studies show it doesn’t make us happier, either. I think “sharing the wealth”, a phrase that’s subject to a lot of interpretation these days, does tend to make us feel better, ultimately, and that’s the bottom line goal in my view. Thank you!

kaylee, just by being, you add to our experience. πŸ™‚

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