Abundance Fantasies: Cornucopia

June 6, 2013 By arne hendriks 1

In the Abundance fantasies we explore the origin and contemporary meaning of symbols, stories and tropes of abundance. People have an insatiable desire for more, but in reality we constantly have to cope with scarcity. Perhaps the activation of an abundance iconography will help further ignite our desire for abundance and, because of this, our desire to shrink into a world of plenty. If we’re smaller we’ll have more of everything. In this post we explore the cornucopia.

The cornucopia, otherwise known as the Horn of Plenty, is commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form. It’s mythological origins are connected to the birth and nurturance of the infant Zeus, who had to be hidden from his devouring father. In a cave on the island of Crete, baby Zeus was cared for and protected by a number of divine attendants, including the goat Amalthea, who fed him with her milk. Baby Zeus had unusual strength and in playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns. The horn turned out to have the divine power to provide unending nourishment.  The word cornucopia inspired the nickname given to a group of futurists, called cornucopians, who believe the world will in fact provide a practically limitless abundance of natural resources because of advances in technology. According to them we’re already living in the horn of plenty, we just have to figure out how to use it properly. Perhaps the most significant technological advancement to do so will be the technology to downsize the human body and shrink into the promised land of abundance. If we don’t act soon that horn of plenty will run dry, and no god or technology can provide us then.