Let me throw this seemingly easy and simple question: What makes today’s concerns on oil and energy?
You probably have read thousand questions with similar meaning. You might also think this is an over-rated question. I wouldn’t disagree, but still, I don’t think we have reach a clear answer for it.
I think that our extreme dependency on oil and deprivation of energy source are merely parts of the iceberg tip. The iceberg itself is nothing but our false philosophy of consumption and our ignorance on life direction. These two represent the fundamental framework most of us have worship, abide and faithfully follow in the name of welfare and happiness. I call it “It’s my turn” philosophy.
“It’s my turn” philosophy describes our desire to demand more of what we don’t have.
If someone has a new car, then we want that car too. Then, we seek for our turn to own the same car. When we see our boss lead the firm and making policies that affect us; we then foresee ourselves in that position in the future and imagine what we will do more and better from our boss. When our favorite celebrity’s latest fashion style appear in the magazine we read on happy hour drinks, we feel the urge for shopping.
“It’s my turn” philosophy is about how we all want to take, to consume and to use as many as we can; and forget that we all have to give as much. What often happen, we missed the part where things will run out as an effect of excessive consumption and the ignorance of giving back. Of course this is what makes trend is so powerful in influencing our life. This is also what drives consumption-based economy. The more people want something, the higher its sales rate will be. That’s good for the economy……
….except the part where people consume faster and faster.
This is an issue of human behavior. In the context of market economy, we consume ferociously in a way that it is no longer helping the economy, but instead, we devour all the economy. In the concept of politics and governance, we want more and more power, and instead of stability, we invite uprisings. There is a belief that it’s good to want more and more, to consume more and more. It’s great when everyone want the same thing.
Such belief bears a false basic assumption: everything is unlimited. Higher consumption will reduce the availability and increase scarcity. When our excessive demand and consumption is higher than our ability to renew the availability, we are destroying the system. Excessive demand and consumption are threats to the sustainability of any system, because it will exhaust the system.
What happen with the issue of energy scarcity is only an apparent example of this behavior. “It’s my turn” philosophy can be found in our closest communities, such as workplace or friends. It has become the zeitgeist of what we believe as the modern lifestyle. Many believes that consumptions and demands are access to welfare. Many think that by posses more, they will feel more secure and self-actualized. In such pattern, we ignore the fact that earth is enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed.
This is why we often fail to see our challenges in sustainability.