The cartoon kid with loads of money could create anything he wanted: this fascinates kids with no power and no money. I liked Richie Rich. His story isn’t an economic primer. The books don’t even provide instruction towards the creation of wealth. That didn’t matter. What was important: Richie Rich could do anything.
The appeal of extreme wealth obviously continues through adulthood and remains the mark of success in our culture. This has more to do with perception of reality than real value. Beyond food and shelter, people’s greatest needs are love and appreciation. Once you reach a certain age—or maybe it’s just exposure to more culture—you arrive at self-awareness. You realize your interdependence with all life.
Obviously, your individual actions affect other people and the environment. What makes people respond to cascading effects with a desire to minimize harm to other people and the environment? Why do people remain indifferent to others?
It’s impossible to change other people. Behavioral change requires personal will. If you’ve ever tried to change your own behavior, you know it’s hard to change. We become addicted to our lifestyle. Insulated within our culture, we might not think about alternatives. We come to believe our culture represents the best possible way humanity can live on earth.
Change in behavior resembles a traditional detox from addiction: denial, anger, grief, bargaining, acceptance. If you’re already at the last stage, you can accept that our culture is destructive to the environment and the well-being of people. Admitting the existence of a problem is the first step toward change.
Given our awareness of climate destabilization, population pressure and resource depletion, we tell a new story about life on earth. Humanity has the ability to work together and adapt to changing conditions. Creative response to problems are our birthright. With vision and sustained effort, we discover our power to create. This starts with believing in yourself. You can create what you want, especially when your desires truly benefit others.