Stone Soup: Power in Numbers, Part 2

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Last updated on February 20th, 2024 at 07:21 am

We are a world full of individuals. I am different from you, and in turn, we’re both different from any third person we choose to bring into the equation. But there’s a VAST difference between BEING an individual and LIVING OUR LIVES individually.

Though we’ve been conditioned to lead very individual lives, it definitely doesn’t have to stay this way. Take the old folk talk about Stone Soup for example:

Some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travellers. The travellers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travellers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with just a little bit of carrot to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travellers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.


Now, obviously, this story doesn’t merely apply to food and villages—it can be representative of anything we can touch, feel, think or do. We’ve been taught incorrectly for a long time now. We’ve been raised to believe that we should get educated, employed and exceptionally wealthy so that we can buy our own things and hold positions of a certain stature in our societies. But is this the only way?

Will having a new sound system make you happier? Maybe, but not for long. Will buying that new dress improve your life? Sure, for a while, but your level of happiness will suffer the same wear and tear as the dress will as it falls victim to time.

So what CAN make us happy?

Personally, I don’t think that we were meant to live in isolation. Our ancestors didn’t survive by keeping to themselves. They would combine their resources to celebrate. To survive. To THRIVE.

That’s the difference right there—as a populace, the majority of us aren’t thriving—we’re simply doing what we need to day in and day out to get by. Those who are receiving abundantly in life are SO FAR AHEAD of those of us who aren’t, that those of us in the latter category haven’t the faintest IDEA of what it’s like to be thriving.

You might not see this as a problem. You might be perfectly content with the life you lead and the things you have, proud that you’ve been able to earn what you’ve earned and accomplish many of the things you’ve sought to do.

But I assure you that your life could be richer than you’re currently allowing it to be. Here are a few things to consider about the material possessions we hold so dear:

  • How OFTEN do you use the things you have?
  • How MANY of them can you use AT THE SAME TIME?
  • How many of them did you buy intending to use them for something, only to discover that they weren’t all that they were cracked up to be—i.e. YOU NO LONGER USE THEM?

Think long and hard on these, because honestly, we could be doing so much better. Imagine what it would be like to SHARE our resources with one another. To worry less about holding on to our possessions as indicators of social status and more about making sure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed. It could forever change the way the world works. A reduced emphasis on the luxury goods market. A return to the village mentality rather than keeping cooped up in our individual hidey-holes. Getting away from all the clutter. The wasted cash. Never progressing, though everyone around us might want to convince us we are.

There is a bright side. The world’s trying to take baby steps toward making life easier for all of us with the freecycles and unstashes of the world, shifting the focus from brand-new to reused and almost good-as-new.

So before you blow the dough on that next major thing? Before you try to fill the voids in your life with another toy to pass the time away? Reach out and touch somebody. Form a community. For by sharing ourselves and our resources with others, if we all try to do this some more—the world could truly be a better place.

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad



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