i often experience strong emotions related to scarcity.
the definition of the words scarce (insufficient for the demand) and scarcity (the state of being scarce) help me understand my emotions. mentally, my demand is my desire for something: time, resources, options, joy, connection, etc. if i view any of those items as scarce, which they are in a sense, i have noticed that i am prone to the following states of mind and behaviors: regressing into a performance-based self-esteem, finding someone or something to blame, valuing outcomes more than the process, avoiding reasonable risks, anxiety around long-term planning, increase in bias toward optimization, disincentivizing relational skill, fluctuating between (perceived) selfish and (perceived) collective goals, and recently an increasing fear of agi. i will tackle these one at.a time, although there will be some spillage across their boundaries:
regressing into a performance-based self-esteem
scarcity is a threat, which puts me into a fight/flight or freeze response. my lesser-evolved and immature state of mind kicks in, and i revert to "solving" the negative emotion by increasing my productivity. instead of relaxing in quicksand, i start flailing.
finding someone or something to blame
if something is scarce, i am quick to blame myself (which can lead to unhealthy shame) or others (which can lead to unhealthy victimhood). why was i not better prepared? why were we not better prepared? what choices should i have made? what choices should others have made?
valuing outcomes more than the process
when the process is experienced within scarcity, the outcome (a supply sufficient for demand) is prioritized. thinking within an infrastructure of scarcity is probably less likely to lead to abundance.
avoiding reasonable risks
this leans on my conclusion that scarcity is a threat and thus puts me in a corresponding state. i've noticed that i am more likely to take unreasonable risks than reasonable risks since usually, my reaction to scarcity is disproportionately large.
anxiety around long-term planning
short-term gratification becomes a priority, since a long-term approach requires states of mind such as hope, clarity and freedom, all of which are relatively inaccessible in a scarcity mindset, at least for me.
increase in bias toward optimization
i have found that when i experience scarcity, i begin to have an impractical bias toward that which i define as abundance. for example, i value the skill of optimization---i think it results in a better experience, whether it's optimizing some data processing, or diet, or workout schedule. performing an optimized task usually requires a different set of skills than performing the unoptimized task. given that my performance-based self-esteem is activated in a scarcity mindset, i feel an extra layer of shame around my scarcity of optimizing skills. in that mindset, i value efficiency not because it is more elegant, poetic, and beautiful, but because efficiency is one adaptation to scarcity.
disincentivizing relational skill
when i feel scarcity around time and energy, i am less likely to take that phone call from a friend, or watch that movie with my partner, or take my dog out for a walk, and so on. this is of course counterproductive, since investing in my relationships would result in feeling more connected, supported and purposeful, all which can help move away from a scarcity mindeset.
fluctuating between perceived selfish and perceived collective goals
i find that when i view the world with scarcity, i conflate what i perceive as selfish with what i perceive as selfless. i want to feel less scarcity, so i value endeavors that will lead to less scarcity in our society, and devalue endeavors that lead to more scarcity. however, in the moment, with my limited perception, something that makes me feel abundant (which is distinct from feeling less-scarce) may lead to creating an environment for myself and others that contains abundance. if scarcity is the problem-space, abundance is the solution-space. it is important to note that abundance feels different than simply the opposite of scarcity, there's some creative element to it. the perceived selfish/collective or selfish/selfless dichotomy is also further muddied with performance-based self-esteem, since the performance is often based in external validation.
increasing fear of agi
i have this increasing fear that i will actualize my life purpose after the creation of readily available agi, which will be infinitely more capable of executing that purpose. this is again rooted in performance-based self-esteem. how do i "compete" with an agi that will be smart enough one day to rearrange molecules for some creative use? what will be my purpose if my maximum potential becomes relatively primitive? how do i contribute to the collective? is there only selfishness in a world of agi? should i prepare myself as such? my increasing fear of agi is driven by my increasing belief in scarcity: that there is not enough time, energy, resources or ability to express my creativity. i suppose that is why i also have an increased interest in learning about machine learning/ai, neuroscience and the surrounding philosophies because then at least i can contribute to that which will eventually nullify my productivity. i am aware of the unhealthy perception of myself (and others) that would cause me to arrive at this logic.