Motorola Asks: What is Abundance?

Along with the announcement of its new Android 4G WiMAX phone Motorola launched a provocative new ad campaign called Social 0.0 Lab that not only challenges the status quo, but suggests a new direction that a device like this might help to set. The campaign currently consists of a three part video, all in Japanese with English subtitles.

Part 1, the most dramatic of the three, opens with a young man riding a bicycle through a Japanese city wearing a skull mask. The voiceover goes something like this.

Mankind has problems. It gets to a point where if you don’t have those problems, you lose motivation to go on. Suppose you truly open yourself to a hundred people, and only three people like your true self. I’m okay with that. If a genuinely beneficial or lovable system is organically created, the whole world starts to evolve around it. A word of wisdom is so valuable that it will keep living on. Only those universal things can survive.

The cyclist turns out to be a courier, and he slides an envelope in front of an office door that reads, “Social 0.0.” A series of images follows, showing the bustle of the city and people connecting. A couple of quick shots show a smart phone sitting in a kind of cradle, which is a WiMAX wireless hot spot. One is at a photo shoot, another is at a bar, where it is used to transmit the image on the phone onto a larger screen behind the bar. The theme seems to be sharing.

On each screen is the image of an emblematic character in a black hat, his face wrapped in colorful lettered rags. He says his name is Naohiro Ukawa of Dommune. He speaks onscreen, saying, “One day I received a letter with only one sentence that read. ‘What does abundance mean to us these days?’ I believe that this message is addressed not just to me, but to modern society in whole. In Japan, abundance was a common and tacit goal for all citizens, but what did we gain from materialistic abundance? After attaining prosperity through the high economic growth period, business started to recede, resulting in a striking decline in the economy, then the unprecedented earthquake that no one will ever forget. We can say that we exist in chaos, which no one has ever experienced before.”

Ukawa then goes on to cite the film Dodesukaden by Akira Kurosawa, in which homeless father and son live in an abandoned car. The father fantasizes about a beautiful home he would like to build someday, a dream that both he and his son share. “This,” says Ukawa, “is my perception of true abundance. Perhaps abundance is created by imagination…I believe that abundance is born out of the imagination of each and every one of us human beings. I believe we will experience true abundance, overflowing with supreme bliss when we can share our imaginations together and when we can actually feel heart-to-heart connections between us. This is not about escaping from reality. It is hyper reality. What does abundance mean to you today?”

The theme, then seems to be that connectivity, enabled by technology can brings us a new kind of abundance.

Part 2 opens with a journalist/activist Daisuke Tsuda saying, “When someone wants to do something in life, and steps out of the box to achieve it, people in Japan will say, ‘he’s a nail that sticks out so he’ll get hammered down.’” He goes on to reflect that these days, people who jump out, do not feel so isolated thanks to social media which is offering a new type of abundance. Novelist Kageki Shimoda says, that we have many conveniences, and that human beings “should possess the wisdom to utilize things well.” But that wisdom won’t come without an abundant heart. She reflects on the pre-colonial European explorers and what an age of abundance that must have been. Then she goes on to say, this may well become another generation of voyage. Photographer Yasumasa Yonehara talks abut anonymity and trust and says his idea of abundance is to be surrounded by trusted people.

Part 3 continues the theme of abundance of ideas and sharing of creativity with more testimonials. Except for one artist in here named Akiyoshi Mishima, who goes a bit against the grain when he says, “I think it’s better for everyone to have something that they don’t want to share with others…I think that will make us abundant as a person.

This question of abundance is a very important for those of us concerned with sustainability. Clearly we will need a new expression of the word, if not a new definition, if we are going to transform our society into a more sustainable one. We need a definition of abundance that is not based on consumption, a new model, which is, in essence what the people occupying Wall Street are saying, too.

So what will comprise this new abundance? Is it connectivity? Is it creativity, community, collegiality? Anything other than consumerism.

What are your thoughts?

RP Siegel, PE, is the President of Rain Mountain LLC. He is also the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water.  Like airplanes, we all leave behind a vapor trail. And though we can easily see others’, we rarely see our own.

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RP Siegel

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His work has appeared in Triple Pundit, GreenBiz, Justmeans, CSRWire, Sustainable Brands, PolicyInnovations, Social Earth, 3BL Media, ThomasNet, Huffington Post, Strategy+Business, Mechanical Engineering, and among others . He is the co-author, with Roger Saillant, of Vapor Trails, an adventure novel that shows climate change from a human perspective. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 52 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. RP recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he traveled as the winner of the 2015 Sustainability Week blogging competition.Contact:

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