Abundance Fantasies: The Grapes of Canaan

Our desire for abundance represents both the cause for the planet’s perilous condition and the incentive for a possible solution. If (despite Earth’s dwindling resources) we want to continue our present lifestyles, and the desire for abundance is stronger than the desire for being tall, eventually we’ll be forced to seriously consider shrinking the human body into abundance. The Abundance Fantasies collects stories and images on the desire of abundance throughout human history. Although this longing seems obvious, perhaps it is not. Not all cultures have displayed an equal desire for abundance and not all cultures are willing to sacrifice the health of the planet to be able to consume more than they need.

Among the most influential historical abundance fantasies is the story of the Grapes of Canaan in the Old Testament. The story describes how Moses, who led the Jews out of Egypt into the Sinai desert, sends out 12 spies to Canaan to learn if the land they are looking to conquer is fertile and rich in produce. The spies return with a cluster of grapes so heavy that it must be carried by 2 man. ‘And they told him, and said: We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.’ Today it is the overconsumption of milk and various sugars that is fuelling our unnatural tallness. More importantly the story shows that the imagination of abundance has its roots in scarcity.

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