The Kalu Yala Blog

Perspective: A life of excess

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February 22, 2013

by Mirely Baca
Posted In: Display on Agriculture, Display on Anthropology, Our Global Community, The Creation of a Culture

Picture two worlds.  In one, all basic needs for living are met.  In this world there are even enough resources to allow for non-basic luxuries to be met.  This means a nice house with plenty of food, fully furnished to allow for full comfort even with pieces whose purpose is unknown, with gadgets that serve a variety of purposes, and additional means to obtain more of these pleasures, which are not necessary for basic survival.  Often times in this world value is focused on these objects then those using them.  Now picture a second world where basic needs may be met, but some days or months or years are more a struggle to obtain these basic needs.  This world is one of resourcefulness.  Homes are made from used or recycled materials, food is simple and generally enough to keep everyone satisfied if the season allows, tools are used for basic living, and excess gadgets are minimal if present.   In this world the focus is on those living among and using these objects as opposed to the objects themselves.Plantains

With these two worlds in mind, if asked which world is the one of excess, many would say the first.  True, materialistically they live in excess, however if the perspective of excess is changed to which world feels they have excess to share with others it is the second world that lives in excess.  In countless different interactions with rural campesinos their actions of sharing their food, their homes, their crops, and their families have proven that even when basic needs are barely met that does not mean there is no excess to share with others.  This willingness to share is much more evident among these groups who have less as opposed to those living in the first world that was presented.  Often, those in this first world, supposedly live in excess, are very unwilling to share this excess with anyone else.   Material objects often mask what should be valued and that is sharing in order to create an improved quality of life among a majority.  Living simply with just the basics allows for value of life to exist.  After all, without a value of life what is the point of living?Pineapple and Sugar Cane

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