Wild primates were studied and found to have very few fight outbreaks. Quite peaceful. Until some researchers put a box of bananas out each day. The monkeys were ok for a while, happy in fact. Then there were times the box had few bananas in it. Fights broke out. Chaos reigned over time, after the installation of the box of bananas.
Apparently, the idea of limited resources brought out greed and fear of losing out and lack. But this idea was false, of course. There were no less resources, that was an illusion, they had just made the idea of the box important.
Thinking about the human condition I can’t help but apply the results of that experiment. After figuring out we can grow food in select areas and live separately to these areas (separated food resources from daily life 10000 years ago) and only certain people tend to the most important resource (food) and bring it to us, we rely on this “box of bananas”. Our skill set became limited to how well we could access the box, and competition for what appears a limited amount of resources began.
Devaluing food trees meant we cut them down where ever we lived, and replaced them with lawns and trees that function more for aesthetics. You’d be hard pressed to find a fruit tree or two on any suburban street these days.
So let’s imagine a world with less lawns – fields of grass are suited to herds of grass eaters, not humans. Imagine a world where we pull up some of the comparatively useless trees around us today and start planting food trees. Imagine streets lined with trees dripping in fruit, and everyone’s backyards filled with so much food they can’t give it away. Imagine vines of cucumbers embracing every other tree, kiwis and strawberries squashed underfoot in the corner of our yards. Imagine if stepping over patches of “too much fruit” became our main complaint. Imagine parks filled with food, where children pick their morning tea on their way to school. Imagine homeless people able to forage on any old regular street and still not clear the amount of avocados and jackfruit splayed around the land.
How would our sense of desperation and fear of lack fare under such a sense of abundance? Get out there, people, pull up the lawns, rip out some trees, get back to our roots!
You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…