We all have basic needs.
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We require breathable air. We have – free of charge – a world full of breathable air.
We require potable water. We have – free of charge – lakes, rivers, and aquifers full of potable, sweet water.
We require shelter. We have – free of charge – caves, trees, rocks, mud, straw, and other materials from which to build suitable shelters. As part of shelter, we require protective clothing. We have – free of charge – plant materials and animal hides and the knowledge and skill to convert them into wearable items.
We require food. We have – free of charge – edible plants and prey animals.
We require companionship. We have – free of charge – family and friends, pets, and plants to keep us company and the skills and knowledge to communicate with them and interact with them on many levels. The reward of companionship is our ability to give and receive what we do with the gifts we have.
We require occupation. The only thing we have that requires no conscious effort on our part is breathable air (except those who are ill or injured so that breathing is difficult or requires assistance - and we have that assistance available - thanks to the gifts we have). For everything else, we have to exert some effort - greater or lesser depending upon where we live, but still within grasp. To keep us occupied even after our basic needs were satisfied; we have three more gifts: creativity, passion, curiosity. It is with these gifts that we create a bounty from the other basic gifts.
And we have one last gift. Some may consider it a curse, but it is still ours, nonetheless. We have free will. We have these gifts and the ability to do with them what we will for so long as we live.
The only price we are asked to pay for these gifts is our eventual death - and even that is mitigated by the fact that we've been given the ability to learn how to heal our wounds and illnesses. The universe is conspiring to help us live long, healthy, happy lives.
It is we, the people, who impose prices and payments on things. It is we who put words in the mouths of our gods to goad others into doing things for us. It is we who deprive others of the things we were freely given at birth. It is we who inflict the majority of our pain and suffering upon ourselves.
With the gift of creativity came intelligence and awareness. With intelligence and awareness come other, less pleasant gifts – like greed, selfishness, jealousy, covetousness, ego, and fear. The ability to make tools to pluck fruits, harvest grains, build shelters, hunt animals, and create clothing also gave us the ability to hoard, wound and kill.
The universe, whatever creative, generative force that brought us into existence, set things up in our favor, with very few rules. We are not required to be nice, to share, to care about one another. Nor are we required to beat one another, to kill, to hoard, to be cruel. We have all these gifts to do with as we please - no divine retribution beyond the consequences of our actions. Judging by our history, we please to hurt one another, to kill one another, to deny one another basic needs just because we can.
In Numenism, we teach that we don’t have to impose pain and suffering upon ourselves or others. We have large, versatile brains, and many physical abilities. Combined, we have – for free – all we need to prosper, all we need to live long and happy lives. Yes, there are elements in our lives that aren’t “fair”: diseases, natural disasters, birth defects, and genetic mutations that mimic diseases, but we have the skills and knowledge to even the odds. Life isn’t always fair because we have the gifts we can use to alter that, to make it more fair, to ensure we all have all that we need.
That we can also use those blessings and tools as weapons is a choice we have been given the freedom to make for ourselves. There are no gods hanging over our shoulder, telling us we can’t hoard more than we need. There are no gods condemning us for killing others for what we think we need. No gods demand we heal one another, care for one another, deny essentials to another. No god will bless us for the good we do as we wend our way through our lives, for we have already been given all the blessings we need.
For some people, this freedom unbalances them – they react in fear and greed, hoarding, wounding, killing to snatch all they think they need and more. Others become timid and barely take the minimum they need to survive. Holiness and sanctity are interpreted in many different ways, as is evil. What could be a balanced and peaceful system of barter, enhanced with a token system representing real goods (money) became a system of greed with some proclaiming power over others, including the right to control their basic needs.
Some say the law of the jungle is the only real law, that might makes right, and who controls the gold controls the lives of others.
In Numenism, we choose to believe that life is not that violent zero-sum game. We acknowledge that others may live a might-makes-right lifestyle, and we have the gifts to mitigate that.
We have each been given one life filled with passion and beauty, and the freedom to use it as we will. We choose to believe we were meant to use the gifts we were given to transcend who and what we are, to be more than the sum of ourselves. Using our gifts in selfish, violent, fearful ways contracts us down, limits us, makes us less, separates us out. The gifts we were freely given, used well, would allow us to expand beyond our individual limits and well into the divine spheres. We would become more: more powerful, more knowledgeable, more flexible, more wealthy, more healthy, more creative, more divine by sharing and combining our gifts with one another.
We advocate a concept we call “rightsizing” – each person, each plant, each animal, has their own basic minimum needs, and the little extra that will make them feel secure and bounteous. This comprises their cornucopia, and anything that falls outside it is their bounty – to share, to put up for a future need, to give away as freely as it was received.
We have so many gifts.
Why do we squander them on jealously, selfishness, greed, violence, hatred?