4 Questions that Changed the World, Again and Again

Most of our experience, awful to great, energy depleting or energy enhancing, is determined by how we answer 4 questions.  These 4 questions have influenced the human experience of billions of people for thousands of years.  And people have answered these 4 questions in very different ways.

I invite you to explore what these 4 questions are, how they have changed the world over and over again, and how you can choose your own response to them.  With this you will be able to shift the experience you have and the outcomes you achieve, from a different response to 4 questions.

What are the questions?  Philosophers and practitioners alike have explored the questions that determine humanity’s moral, political, social, cultural, and economic arrangements for thousands of years.  In all of the different societies around the globe, these leaders consistently converge on 4 questions: (1) how much do we see when we look at our resources?; (2) who decides how to allocate the resources and how to enforce that allocation; (3) what criteria is used to allocate those resources; and (4) how do people interact with each other and those resources.  Four straightforward questions.

It turns out that there are technical terms for these four questions.

  1. Resources.  How much do we see?  In economics today, this is the “resource” question.  What are the assets or resources we have at hand?
  2. Allocation Mechanism.  Who decides?  Who decides who will decide how to allocate the resources and who will enforce that decision?  This is the political question of power: who has the power to decide and enforce the chosen allocation of resources.  In economics today this is called the resource allocation mechanism, the way that resources are allocated.
  3. Value.  What criteria do the resource allocators use?  In economic, political, and philosophical frameworks today, this is referred to as the value theory.  What values  guide our decision making?
  4. Organization.  How do people interact with each other and with the resources?  In economics today, human interactions are guided by organization theory.

Historians and observers of comparative political economics show that people throughout the ages of answered these four consistent questions in very different ways.  The different responses have radically changed the world in two ways:  they have addressed different needs across different societies, and they have evolved within each society.  Each geographic region of the world and the cultures that reside there seem to have very different orientations towards what is important in their society and the principles to achieve them.  Additionally, over time, each of these societies has learned about what worked and what did not, and groups within the societies have changed the guiding arrangements: they have evolved.  In other words, they changed the world by trying different responses to the 4 questions, and by learning and adapting their responses over time.

Now it seems that one of the very difficult things about these responses to the 4 questions is that are very hard to see.  At any given time, they seem to be given as fact.  That is simply the way that the universe works.  In one society, the king decides because it is his divine right.  In another society, it is the pope.  That is just the way it is…until it changes.  Then it was the most powerful companies that decided, or the elected parliament, or the richest families.  The responses changed over time.  And they remain difficult to see.

I suggest that the responses to these 4 questions are difficult to see, because they are given to most people in a society as laws, laws that are enforced by the power structure.  You just have to accept that this is the way things are.  I observe that most of these responses are also very abstract, making them difficult to understand and relate to in one’s daily experience.  Let’s see a couple of examples.

Within each of these 4 questions reside a few other questions with which a whole society is designed.  Unpacking these will help us see why these responses seem so abstract and disjointed, thus hard to see.

  1. Resources.
    • How much is there right now?  In economics, these are the “factors of production,” inputs to the process.  Economics cleanly classifies all resources as either land, labor, or capital.  The focus is on “right here, right now.”  Most look into the world and see scarcity, some see abundance.
    • How do these change, over time?  This question looks at the development of resources over time.  This focuses on the dynamics, capacity development, and relationships in influencing how much resource is available at any future time.  Most people think about what resources are available right now.  Far fewer think about the dynamics of generating those resources over time.
    • What are potential resources?  This is about seeing what resources could be available, whether they are now or not.   Very few think about potential resources that could be developed in the future.
  2. Allocation mechanism.
    • What is the motivating objective of the political-economic system?  What is the moral imperative?  What is the system trying to achieve?  Different groups have focused on material or spiritual well-being for the individual, equality amongst the citizens, well-being of the group, balance with nature, and closeness to spirit.
    • What primary relationship(s) best serves that objective?  Who has the “power” to decide, to set the rules of the game, to call upon force to enforce those rules?  What is the chief organizing principle?  Who are the owners of land, labor, capital?  Some groups chose the self as the guiding principle for individual freedom, such as neo-liberal markets.  Some chose equality with the other, such as egalitarian systems of justice and social democracies.  Some gave primacy to the solidarity of the group’s well-being, such as corporations, nation states, and collectivist societies.  Others gave most value to the relationship with nature, such as tribal communities and ecological groups.  And yet others gave the most focus to the relationship with spirit, such as theocratic communities and Buddhist societies.
    • What structure-process does the system use to make decisions in that relationship?  What is the power structure?  How many decide?  Few, representatives, many?  How do they decide?  Whose opinion, whose vote, whose enforcement?  Behind-the-scenes design (invisible), out-front debate (others vote – others opinion), election (you vote – representative give opinion), or participatory (you vote your opinion)?
  3. Value.
    • What is valued?  Material well-being at the outcomes-things level of reality?  Economic surplus?  Possibility, development, and outcomes for all five primary relationships?
    • What is the mode of exchange of what is valued?  What are the currencies?  What properties do they have?  Is everything exchanged through scarcity-based, interest-based money?  Are other currencies used, such as time banks and non-interest-based currencies?
    • Who gets what part of the value generated in the exchange?  Who “owns” the surplus value?  This is the economic value distribution question.  For land owners it is rent, for labor owners it is wages, and for capital owners it is profits.
  4. Organization.
    • Why do we come together?  Economic efficiency?  For a shared higher purpose?
    • How do we agree to interact?  Competition?  Cooperation?  Co-opetition? Collaboration?
    • What form best supports our agreements?  Economic specialization and division of labor around tasks?  Interwoven, integrated collaborative conversations?

Different groups across time and across geography have mashed together sets of the different responses listed above to the 4 questions and their subquestions.  The good news here is that much has been learned as billions of persons have lived in these natural experiments over the past hundreds of years.  The question is whether we can learn from what they have learned.  I suggest we can.

To begin to see how to learn from the insights gained from all of these groups, I have found two shifts to be very helpful.  First, rather than seeing these as four independent questions, much as they are developed and treated today by people in different professions (e..g, resource economists, comparative political-economists, financial economists and philosophers, organizational theorists), I suggest they are four different lenses on the same experience.  The four questions shed light on different dimensions of the same experience.  This leads to the second shift, looking to one’s own felt-experience of the harmonic vibrancy of the group as a pathway to seeing the agreements that influence that experience.  This takes seemingly disconnected, very abstract frameworks such as contract theory, factors of production, monetary theory, pricing theory, and allocation mechanisms and shows how they are actually just ways of looking at the harmonic vibrancy you experience in a group and the outcomes that result from that experience.

The main point is that these 4 questions that have changed the world many times are now available for you to choose a response to.  It is now up to you.  I delve more deeply into these 4Qs, their implications, tools and processes for seeing them, and choosing your response in this blog and in the book Ecosynomics: The Science of Abundance (ecosynomics.com).


Strategic Clarity: Actions for Identifying and Correcting Gaps in Mental Models

Past-cast Series — Seeing relevance in earlier publications

Ritchie-Dunham, James L. and Luz María Puente. 2008. Strategic Clarity: Actions for Identifying and Correcting Gaps in Mental Models, Long Range Planning, 41(5) 509-52.

Whether you are making quick resource-allocation decisions alone or collaborating with your executive team to set organizational strategy, what you see, what you advocate, and what you ultimately decide are influenced by the map of the world you carry around inside your head. In some ways, this map or mental model is unique to you, as it was formed through your specific experiences and ways of engaging with the world. This article is based on a decade of research and fieldwork and is illustrated with multiple references to both large and small European and American organizations in the for-profit, non-profit, and governmental sectors. It presents five guiding questions that can help identify and correct gaps in managers’ mental models of their organizations. This approach enables managers to be clear about how to move their organizations in the desired direction, in order to achieve their goals. While useful for professional managers of complex systems, these questions are particularly applicable for leaders of civil society, governmental, and entrepreneurial for-profit organizations. The main contribution of this article is a framework of exercises based on the five questions that integrates traditional strategic dimensions and allows leaders to identify gaps in their mental models, resulting in more effective leadership and improved performance.

Measuring Well-being — How Do We Know If We Are Better Off?

How do you know if you are better or worse off today than yesterday?  Than a year ago?  Than ten years ago?  More money in the bank?  More friends?  More memories?  Better health?  These measures we use to determine whether we are better off influence the decisions we make.

When we make a decision, Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon taught us that we use judgments about the future and about how to get there.  In all decisions, we have value judgments about a desired future, and we have factual judgments about the best way to get there.  How we measure what we value in the future guides what we do to get there.  Said another way, how you measure “better off” matters, as it provides the incentives for what you do.

As we have explored in previous posts, you can define the vibrancy you experience in what you value at the things-noun level, the development-verb level, the possibility-light level, and some interweaving of the three levels.  And, we saw that what you value in your experience is very different at each level of perceived reality, from the things you have in this moment to the experience to the potential to the living with all three levels.

The economic systems that influence much of our daily life are guided by similar values of “better off,” using indicators to tell us whether we are better off and to guide the decisions we make.  One of the main indicators we use globally is Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  GDP sums up all of the monetary transactions in a country, indicating the volume of value exchange in a given time period.  More value exchange indicates more capacity to produce and acquire goods and services.  This is good.  It is a good indicator of the things-noun level of value experienced.  It says nothing about the development-verb level, the possibility-light level, or the interweaving of the three.

To expand the measure of well-being beyond the sum of monetary transactions, many systems are emerging, peaking into the broader experience of interweaving possibility-light, development-verb, and things-noun levels.  I highlight two here for you to explore.

  1. Better Life Index.  Documented by the OECD, this index explores your experience of different aspects of life, including housing, education, income, employment, community, and environment.  On their website, you can assign your own values to these indicators.  This index describes a broad range of experiences and, given the focus on your experience of living with these aspects, it describes both the things-noun level and early development-verb levels of your experience.
  2. Inclusive Wealth Index.  Collected by the UNEP/IHDP, this index assesses a country’s manufactured, human, and natural capital assets.  It assesses the sustainability and inclusiveness of the capital assets by looking at how they are managed for short-term benefit, while sustaining the resources for the long-term.  This index looks at both the sustainable development-verb level of resources, and their immediate use at the things-noun level.

If you have other indices you know of that are exploring the interweaving of value experienced at the light, verb, and noun levels, please share them here in your comments.

History of Thinking about Resources, Organization, and Value

In this blog, I have shared my exploration of the emergent ecosynomics of experiences people are having that lead to much better outcomes, including greater well-being, abundance, harmony, and vibrancy.  We are at a turning point in realizing that many people are already living sustainably from these emerging principles — I suggest that there are hundreds of thousands of these groups.

In recent posts, I have used the five primary relationships and three levels of perceived reality to highlight the fundamentally different assumptions these emerging groups have about four basic questions all groups ask: (1) how much resource is there?: (2) who decides how to allocate the resources?; (3) based on what criteria?; and (4) how do the different primary relationships interact?

People have explored these four questions for many years.  If you are interested in the evolution of human responses to these four questions, characterized in economic terms, respectively, as factors of production, resource allocation mechanisms, values, and organization, I highly recommend three recently published histories.

  1. Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber (2011 Melvillehouse).  An anthropologic study of what people value, how that value is exchanged, and the systems that support that exchange.  These are the three big questions we explored around value.  Graeber finds that economics has completely ignored most of the data of what people have actually valued and how they exchanged it, using a rich basis in anthropology to support this claim.
  2. Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar (2011 Simon and Schuster).  Starting almost two centuries ago with Charles Dickens, Nasar paints vivid pictures of the context, process, and insights of influential thoughts leaders who were describing the principles of economics of their time.  This story brings to life what otherwise can be quite dry theory.
  3. The Wealth of Ideas: A History of Economic Thought by Alessandro Roncaglia (2006 Cambridge University Press).  As an economic historian, Roncaglia shows the evolution of the theories of resources, organization, and value since prehistoric times, diving into the specifics of the insights gained at each stage of evolution, as well as some of the incentives that drove those insights.

Resource Implications for Other Agreements

So far I have suggested that human beings are constantly in the process of working with resources at the levels of possibility-light, development-verb, and things-noun.  This is daily existence.  You also saw that how you work with resources at each level is different.  What you do with seeing possibilities in light, which you choose to manifest as verbs, is different than how you work with the inflows and outflows of verbs to accumulate what you need at a specific time.  This is different than how you work with what is available here and now, to satisfy needs in the noun form.  You know this, from your own experience.  And, what you know has major implications for your existing agreements.

Current agreements tend to be structured based on the belief in the “big 3” factors of production – land, labor, and capital – a belief that has dominated economic, political, and social thinking for the past century.  This belief focuses on the things-noun level of resources.  The name gives this away — factors of production.  They are inputs used to produce something.  What you can do depends on how much you have.  This is a very specific form of noun thinking.  It does not include the verb and light levels.  It is therefore no surprise that agreements based on the noun thinking of “factors of production” experience the verb and light level “costs of scarcity.”  Not making explicit agreements around the verb and light levels of work with resources must, by definition, lead to expensive resources, lost opportunities, the lack of necessary resources, unintended consequences, a higher probability of obsolescence, and a lack of new opportunities.  The good news is that you have seen how it is very natural for people to work with resources at these three levels.  If this is so, then you can make new agreements that make this process explicit.

What you have also seen is that the direction of the process is critical.  When you start with a noun level understanding of resources and try to add time to get verbs and possibility to get light, you start with the scarcity of nouns, and find that you cannot get there.  You cannot see the same breadth of verb processes and relationships when starting with scarcity, and you cannot see into the same depth of possibility from scarcity.  Starting from the other end, from light, you start with the assumption of infinite possibility, choosing to manifest specific verbs, which will meet in particular ways to become nouns here and now to address specific needs we choose – all from abundance.  Both processes work with the interweaving of light, verb, and noun, and arrive at completely different experiences of what is possible.  The other goods news is that people have figured this out, and have developed a myriad of ways to work with abundance-based agreements.  Ecosynomics shows you how to find these people and learn from their experience.

You can already see that the big questions around what resources are, how to accumulate them, and how to use them start to move us into the big questions around how you organize your interactions with other people, and how you exchange value.  While you can keep these three areas relatively isolated at the noun level, at the verb level they are interwoven, and at the light level they are different instances of the same lightness.

Specifically, questions around the things-noun-level resource of “labor” at the verb and light levels also deal with organizing questions around how you bring people’s contribution into the work, and with value questions around their experience of the value they receive from being part of the group.  Likewise, “capital” questions deal with its accumulation and use as a verb-level resource, how you organize around it, and how it flows in value.  At the light level, you begin to see what “capital” is, in its deeper essence.  You also see that the noun-level resource of “land” becomes the flow of and relationship to all that exists in this realm at the verb level, and how you choose to manifest possibility at the light level of resource.

Summarizing Resource Transformations

Digging into the experience of resources at the possibility-light, development-verb, and things-noun levels can overwhelm the senses.  Why does someone need to know this?  Because it is the first step and critical starting point of the whole journey.  If one can realize that resources are abundant, starting with choices made from the light level, the world looks very different than when starting from scarcity.

At the possibility-light level, resources are the potential seen in the five primary relationships.  Filtering out possibility, from the light level of resources, brings the possibilities to life, by giving them intention and attention, at the verb level of resources.  The interrelated flows of resources develop over time, influenced by the intentions brought to them.  Filtering out time, from the verb level of resources, focuses on the need to be satisfied at any given moment in space and time, at the noun level of resources.

This is a momentary outcome.  The momentary outcome of the development of self, other, and group asks the question of, “How much human capacity is available right now?  Economics calls this labor.  Likewise, economics calls the amount of the flow of nature/reality available in the moment land or elaborated nature.  Creating a symbol for the flow of creativity among people, economics refers to the momentary difference in the creativity that flowed in and out as capital.[1]

This highlights the insights gained over the past century at the light, verb, and noun levels of resources, and how they relate to each other.  The task today is to learn how to work with all three levels simultaneously, transforming the infinite abundance of the light level of resources to the experience of abundance at the verb level and sufficiency at the noun level of resources.  This gives access to the abundance available at all three levels, as depicted in the figure below.

The next post looks at the implications of the abundance available through resource transformations for how we look at the value we experience and how we organize human interactions.

[1] A synthesis of much of the environmental and economic thinking about nature, at the noun level, is captured in the term “natural capital,” defined by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins as, “the sum total of the ecological systems that support life, different from human-made capital in that natural capital cannot be produced by human activity” (Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 1999, p. 151).  From an ecological perspective, they clearly intend “natural capital” at the verb and noun levels, highlighting “living systems” that interweave with people.  “Natural capital includes all the familiar resources used by mankind: water, minerals, oil, trees, fish, soil, air, etcetera.  But it also includes living systems, which include grasslands, savannas, wetlands, estuaries, oceans, coral reefs, riparian corridors, tundras, and rainforests” (Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 1999, p. 2).  While they invoke the “living” dimension at the verb level.

Resources as Nouns — A Choice of Scarcity or Abundance

The noun is the thing that is here-now that you experience.  At the things-noun level, a resource is real when you can touch it.  You can see water, bread, a dress, people, and products.  You use the resources that you have of land, people, and money to do things.  These are the factors of production of economics.  These resources are nouns, because they exist here and now.  You can count them.  You can use them now for an activity.  The more you have, the better off you are, because you have more options for what you can do.  Success comes from how much you have.

As you filter out time from the verb, the noun of the relationship to self, other, and group is what you can do now, right here, which is called the factor of production of labor in economics.  A “factor of production” is the economic term for the resources used to produce goods and services.[1]  Labor is the amount of doing that can get done in a specified period.  It is what is left after you filter out potential and development from the self, other, and group.[2]

The noun form of the relationship to nature, the process of manifestation, that which is available in this moment, is referred to as land, in its raw, natural form or nature elaborated into something else.  It is nature devoid of the infinite potential of light, and the manifestation of interdependent flows over time.  Land is the second economic factor of production.

The noun form of the flow of spirit, the source of creativity, is what economists call capital, the third factor of production.  Capital is the noun residual of the verb inflows and outflows resulting from the creative acts, which are in themselves manifestations of the infinite potential of light.[3]  Another way of seeing this is that people make investments in the future value they see in light-possibility creativity, using currencies to exchange among the flows of creativity in the form of resources, ending up with a positive, net result of more flow in than out of currency, which is capital available for future investment in creativity.

[1] The leading economics textbook by Harvard professor Mankiw defines factors of production as “the inputs used to produce goods and services” (Mankiw, 2008, p. 394).  An interesting predecessor to this neo-classical term comes from James Maitland in the early 1800’s, who called them “sources of wealth” (c.f., Roncaglia, 2006, p. 167).  Nobel laureate Samuelson suggests that “Land—or, more generally, natural resources—represents the gift of nature to our productive processes…Labor consists of the human time spent in production…Capital resources form the durable goods of an economy, produced in order to produce yet other goods” (Samuelson & Nordhaus, 1995, p. 8).

[2] In his now-classic text on the histories of great economic thinkers, in its seventh edition, economist Robert L. Heilbroner reminds us of the evolution of the very question of land, labor, and capital.  “The Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation – indeed the whole world until the sixteenth or seventeenth century – could not envision the market system for the thoroughly sound reason that Land, Labor, and Capital – the basic agents of production which the market system allocates – did not yet exist.  Land, labor, and capital in the sense of soil, human beings, and tools are of course coexistent with society itself.  But the idea of abstract land or abstract labor did not immediately suggest itself to the human mind any more than did the idea of abstract energy or matter.  Land, labor, and capital as “agents” of production, as impersonal, dehumanized economic entities, are as much modern conceptions as the calculus.  Indeed, they are not much older.  Take, for example, land.  As late as the fourteenth or fifteenth century there was no such thing as land in the sense of freely salable, rent-producing property.  There were lands, of course – estates, manors, and principalities – but these were emphatically not real estate to be bought and sold as occasion warranted…The same lack of salability was true for labor.  When we talk of the labor market today, we mean the great network of job-seeking in which individuals sell their services to the highest bidder.  There simply was no such network in the precapitalist world.  There was a vast hodgepodge of serfs, apprentices, and journeymen who labored, but most of the labor never entered a market to be bought and sold…Or take capital.  Certainly capital existed in the precapitalist world, in the sense of private wealth.  But although the funds existed, there was no impetus to put them to new and aggressive use.  Instead of risk and change, the motto was “Safety first.” (R. L. Heilbroner, 1999, pp. 27-28).

[3] Economists Heilbroner and Thurow ask, “How were the factors of production put to use prior to the market system? …There were no factors of production before capitalism.  Of course, human labor, nature’s gifts of land and natural resources, and the artifacts of society have always existed.  But labor, land, and capital were not commodities for sale.  Labor was performed as part of the social duties of serfs or slaves, who were not paid for doing their work.  Indeed, the serf paid fees to his lord for the use of the lord’s equipment, and never expected to be remunerated when he turned over a portion of his crop as the lord’s due.  So, too, land was regarded as the basis for military power or civil administration, just as a county or state is regarded today – not as real estate to be bought and sold.  And capital was thought of as treasure or as the necessary equipment of an artisan, not as an abstract sum of wealth with a market value.  The idea of liquid, fluid capital would have been as strange in medieval life as would be the thought today of stocks and bonds as heirlooms never to be sold” (R. Heilbroner & Thurow, 1994, p. 15).

Converting Resource Verbs to Nouns

To move from the development-verb level of probability, flow, and relationship to the things-noun level of here and now, I filter out time.[1]  A noun comes into existence when values or verbs overlap to satisfy a need.  When the fibers rushing from the earth through human hands to land fill are seen and taken off the hangar by my daughter, then, at that moment, they become a dress.  Otherwise, the fibers are simply a form of energy being transformed, from sun to minerals to nutrients to silk to fabric to landfill to minerals.  Likewise with the grains rushing from the earth through human hands to land fill.  If they are seen, at a very particular moment in time, they become a piece of bread.  Otherwise they are grains, dough, or stale bread, none of which I want to eat.  The noun expresses when the verb of the fibers or the grains meets the verb of my life at the moment of a “need.”

The point is to realize that most moments in the life of a verb are not recognized as a noun.  It is only when the verb meets another verb in a very particular way that the verb becomes recognized as a noun.  This makes the noun a very special case of the verb.  This deeper understanding comes from seeing that it is the specific overlapping of verbs that brings nouns into being.

To filter out time – to convert a verb into a noun – you look at the changes to the resource over a specific period of time.  As I shared before, this means to add the inflows and subtract the outflows over the same time.  This tells you what is in the stock of the resource at this moment.

[1] To the technically comfortable, to filter out time, we simply integrate the inflows and outflows over a specific period of time.  This simply means that we take what we had at the beginning of the time period, add what came in, and subtract what went out, to end up with the new level of the resource.

Developing Resources Over Time

At the development-verb level, you know that you are in a continual process of bringing in new resources and of using up resources.  It is the balance of the bringing in and using up that tells you how much you have now.  If you start with five pieces of bread, make three more, and consume four, you end up with four pieces of bread.  This reality focuses you on both how much you have and the net effect of how much you bring in and use up.  If you want more in the future, you need to bring in more than you use up.  This is verb thinking, understanding the flow over time.  A vast field of thinking has developed around this framing of resources in the past fifty years, calling itself the dynamic resource-based view of strategy and system dynamics.  From this perspective, you can think into the future about what you do, as well as count how much you have.  Here success comes from how you understand what you do and how much you have, giving you more options for when and what you do to have more at a given moment in time.

In the verb you experience yourself developing your expressed capacities.  You are in school, you are learning, you are getting better at understanding something you do.  In the verb, you experience the same development in me in my capacities.  I am changing over time, and you can tell.  You notice the shift.  I am able to do something in a different way.  In the verb, you experience that we each do our part in the work of the group, and the group’s appreciation of these capacities.  We say that the group feels different, that we are getting stronger as a group.  These verb relationships to self, other, and group describe the verb form of the noun called labor.  This is the development of the contribution human capacities make to production.  The flow-stock technology makes explicit the development of capacities over time.  This is the accumulated value of human relationship to self, other, and group.

In the verb you experience the relationship to nature – the process of manifestation – through the process of the interrelated flows of resources.  This is the realm of everything that exists, from land to ideas to physical bodies.  While many people tend to think of nature as animals and trees, it includes everything that exists.  At the verb level, you work with both the qualitative vitality of nature and the quantitative volume of nature.

In the verb, you experience the source of creativity, the flow of creative source in you, in the creative ideas you bring to what you see.  This is the verb form of the creative source flowing that is capital.  As creativity flows through the system, sometimes more flows in than flows out.  You might accept more acts of creation into your pantry than you consume.  The realization here is that the act of creation manifested resources and brought them to you, and that the act of creation consumed them.  Thus, what seems to be accumulated in the net result of resources flowing in and out, is an accumulation of acts of creation, of light-Spirit.  This is a “stored” potential of light-Spirit.  What you need to ask here is, “What does it mean to store light-Spirit?”  Is that even possible?  Does something happen to light-Spirit if it is not flowing?  I suggest that, in fact, it is flowing, since all forms of light are always flowing, and that it is only your perception that you have stored it.  This means that you need to understand how to work with capital that seems to be accumulated in something, if it is actually in flux.  This is the verb realm of your experience, as seen through the five primary relationships you have with the flow of harmonic vibrancy.

From the ecosynomics perspective, the verb level of resources connects the system of people in the group, their expressions of and needs for harmonic vibrancy, and the resources that sustain human life.  This verb understanding of resources shows what resources you will need at what time, for future opportunities, and what dynamics of inflows and outflows are required to get you there.  This helps you see how to accumulate the level of resources required in the future, so that you can attempt to get there in an efficient way.  This understanding helps you avoid the verb-level costs of scarcity.

Converting Light-Resources from Possibilities to Probabilities

To move from the light level of possibility to the verb level of probability, you filter out possibility.  This is the same as saying, now it is real.  It has a life.  It is in a process of maturation, of development.[1]  The process is one you experience all of the time.  You can see a possibility, a potential.  You can agree on it.  You can give it your attention, making it explicit.  It becomes real, and you can step towards it.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire; you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will.[2]

You know this happens when you experience the moment of transition from possibility to probability, when it becomes real, when you can actually see it with others, often way before it has a tangible form.  For example, when you throw around ideas of where to go eat with friends, these are possibilities.  At some point in the exploration, everyone all of a sudden seems to converge on a shared seeing, when they all see the same thing and agree.  It becomes real.  Long before they are actually sitting in the restaurant together, they begin to move resources to get there.  In a way, they can all see themselves there already.

[1] For the technically comfortable, we will “filter out” possibility by integrating the possible life process (dX/dt)/dp over possibility (p).  This means that we will have a “snap shot” in possibility of a flow over time.

[2] This quote is the from the play Back to Methusaleh by George Bernard Shaw, where the snake is interacting with Eve in Part I, Act I (Bernard Shaw, 1974, p. 70).