While at a weekend church retreat, we discussed those amazingly beautiful letters to home written by soldiers of even the lowest rank on either side of the American Civil War. The question arose, does scarcity yield better results?
Did having only a few pages of paper and one pencil (and maybe even a pen!) make the soldier writing a letter home want to write a letter with punch and vigor that said everything he wanted it to say? In contrast, look at the language and diction of tweeting and texting, of emails and even full-on essays in blogs.
Related to this is the amazing (possibly overstated) fact that my Samsung S3 has more computing power than what Mission Control had when they put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. More computing power? I doubt that, but an impressive amount when comparisons of computing power alone are made, maybe. But looking at what the engineers and scientists at NASA did with their RAM and CPU compared to what I do with mine, there is no comparison.
I wonder, did scarcity of resources help yield superior results? I would think that knowing how little they had to work with made the team at NASA work that much harder at getting it right. They had to make every “1” and “0” on every last IBM punch card count.
I wonder if it is better to have dreams that are bigger than the resources at hand. It may make you more careful about what you work towards, and what you do as you work towards it. I ask you, is “an embarrassment of riches” a disadvantage? Does it lead more to decadence and wastefulness than to glorious achievement?