Scarcity & Community

Scarcity, such a beloved virtue, creates the need for Community.

When we look to our neighbors for the things we don’t have, we step outside of our walled worlds and open our hands. So much is possible between two people with open hands! It’s through these small gestures and fragments of conversation on the curb, that love awakens and coyly transfers itself, like a shy kitten unfurling itself from one human leg to another.

This transaction nourishes us. We’re a social species.

But we forget how important togetherness is and often strive for privacy and isolation, partly because of respect for each other’s assumed desire for privacy and partly out of a lazy acceptance of convenience.

As we become more prosperous, we strive to own the things we need, we fill our garages and our closets, we donate instead of volunteer, we buy instead of borrow, we build magnificent fortresses, we outsource our precious walk to the neighbors.

And, though we no longer have to deal with scarcity, we fear it more than before. We become its shepherds.

It’s strange, this drive toward disconnection; it goes against the very nature of what we are, like a school of fish fighting to get on land, or a forest of trees bending into each other’s shadows.

We’d do much better to embrace the gaps in our collections, to keep ourselves in need.

Our survival depends on it.