Meet the Flipsters

Conversations on the Bridge

A Conversation with Lynne Twist
(The complete Flip interview, with only minor edits, not found in the book)

Lynne Twist ( is a global activist, fundraiser, speaker, author, teacher, mentor, and counselor who has devoted her life to service in support of global sustainability and security, human rights, economic integrity, and spiritual authenticity. Lynne has trained other fundraisers to be more effective in their work and raised millions of dollars for organizations that serve the best instincts of all of us – to end world hunger, empower women, nurture children and youth, and preserve the natural heritage of our planet.

Ms. Twist, an original staff member of The Hunger Project in 1977, served as a leader of that international initiative for twenty years, and was responsible for raising the money necessary to support it and its programs. In that capacity, Lynne traveled the world, developing a keen understanding of the relationship of people to money, the psychology of scarcity, and the psychology of sufficiency. Lynne Twist shares compelling stories and insights from those experiences in The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life.

We asked Lynne what inspired her to a life of service. “In the seventies I was fortunate to connect with Buckminster Fuller the great architect, designer, humanist, and futurist. In a speech he made in 1976 he asserted that humanity had passed a threshold and that we now live in a world where it’s clear there’s enough for everyone, everywhere to have a healthy and productive life with no one left out. He said that humanity had been living in a you-or-me paradigm of separation, where either you make it at my expense or I make it at your expense because there’s not enough for both of us.

“Fuller said that the era of actual scarcity was over, but predicted that it would take fifty years for us to transform our understanding and align our perceptions with this new truth. He said our structures and systems – including governments, education, economies, and even religion – are all rooted in that outdated belief in scarcity. That really hit me. He was right. I started to see a world where there’s enough.

“Buckminster Fuller chose to live his life as an experiment: could one human being make a difference that would impact all of humanity? The Hunger Project, a worldwide movement and commitment to end hunger, was the practical application of Fuller’s theory about integrity of the universe and Werner Erhard’s wonderful principles of transformation. I became very engaged and deeply committed to the project. I got the education of a lifetime working with people in India and Africa, helping to set up operations in those countries and addressing hunger not as a food or political issue, but as an issue of integrity and relationship and understanding that we’re all in this together. The principles of transformation put you in touch with the deep, profound truths that we’re all interconnected and that our personal integrity and the way we live and relate to all other life are the sources of power and fulfillment.

“I now believe that scarcity is a product of a whole bed of unexamined, unconscious beliefs. The condition of scarcity is a lie, an unfortunately deep lie in the culture, and the lightning rod for that lie is money. We’ve built a financial system, economic system, and a money system that deepens and firms that lie of scarcity that there’s not enough to go around, and you’ve got to get more than you need to protect yourself from being one of the people who gets left out because someone somewhere is always going to be left out. Even though America is by far the richest country in the world, we are constantly trying to get more than we need; we’ve even gone to war for that. The poorest countries in the world will drive up our deficit to be the most indebted country in the world while we’re the richest country in the world. The whole thing is completely illogical.”

So how can we move beyond current thinking and dispel the illusion? Lynne replied, “It all comes from ‘we’re not whole’ – you’re not ok the way you are, you’ve got accumulate and acquire more. And that is a tyranny; it’s not just a misunderstanding, it’s a tyranny that rules right now and I think you can free yourself from it. But it takes enormous courage because the whole system is promoting something else, and promoting it from a base of fear. Advertising and marketing give each one of us thousands of messages every day. They tell us that we’re not tall enough, or thin enough, or young enough, or something-enough. They constantly reinforce what I call the three central messages: ‘There’s not enough to go around. More is better. And that’s just the way it is, so get with the program.’

“You have to recognize that you’re swimming in the lie. Because when you’re chasing more so obsessively, you can’t see ‘enough’ – it doesn’t even exist for you. You’re too focused on what’s not there to see what is there. The radical truth is there is enough right now, right this minute, but you have to let go of trying to get more to see ‘enough.’ When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what most of us are scrambling to get more of, it frees up oceans of energy to pay attention to and make a difference with what you already have.

“I like to say, ‘What you appreciate appreciates.’ What you already have grows in the nourishment of your attention and intention. When the bowl of life starts to overflow and dribble over the edge, so to speak, then you move into the experience of thanksgiving and you’re grateful that there’s another that you can serve or contribute or thank or share.

“I have worked on hunger and poverty, so I know there’s not enough food in Ethiopia for people. I’ve been in refugee camps in Mozambique and Bangladesh where I’ve held dying children in my arms. I know there are places where there’s not enough to go around. But it’s a function of the beliefs in scarcity rather than that it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

“Even those people in those circumstances have taught me the power of sufficiency, of seeing the power of enough and that exquisite experience of having your needs met and realizing that’s the moment of fulfillment. Not in getting more. The moment of fulfillment and prosperity that we’re all looking for is already there, but we don’t have our focus on it. We have our attention on getting more.

“So, it’s an instant transformation opportunity that we all have, no matter what our financial circumstances are. Even in situations of what some people call poverty, I’ve seen people living in such satisfaction and joy it staggers me. The experience of fulfillment and prosperity is available now to every human being at every moment. But it’s not available through the doorway of more. That will only lead you to an experience of lack, which is then followed by an obsession for more – which leads you to lack. The only doorway to real fulfillment and prosperity is the doorway of enough or sufficiency.”

To find that doorway, we asked Lynne how we can transform our relationship with money. “We’ve made money more important than human life, the natural world, or God. We’ve given it more meaning than the most important things that there are. And we’re confused because money is our invention. We just made it up. It doesn’t have more meaning than human life, the natural world, or God, yet that’s one of the lies that we tell, and we even allow ourselves to be called consumers instead of citizens.

“I think that money is, in its highest form, like water; it’s designed to flow towards our highest commitments. We have polluted it, and it’s making us sick. But we can actually reinvent money as an instrument or tool, allow it to flow, know that it’s part of the commons, that it doesn’t belong to any of us, that it floes through every life, and that it is a carrier and a conduit and a currency or a current, and that it carries the energy of him or her who passes it along. I know people who are living that way and they are filled with prosperity and joy and the money just keeps flowing to them.

“Indigenous peoples have foretold that Mother Earth will shake and change her climate and humble us so we remember our rightful role and relationship to her. It’s time to rethink the very fundamental assumptions underlying many institutions that ‘serve’ us, because those structures and systems don’t serve us anymore. Even the nation state has its problems. Our challenges are not bordered; you can’t work on global warming in one country. We must let go of these monsters that we are obsessed with and that are obsessed with us. We must allow that which is dying naturally to do so with dignity, knowing that at one point there was some usefulness to it, while we midwife the birth of new institutions that are much more relevant to our twenty-first century realities.

“I’m actually optimistic. I do think that this voracious, over-consumptive little beast is beginning to transform into a butterfly and we’re going to come through this. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime. But Earth is a planet with more than enough food to feed everyone several times over. We can have an equitable, just, and stable society. We can all experience fulfillment and prosperity. We can all know satisfaction and joy. We can all have enough.”


The Flip, by Jared Rosen and David Rippe, illuminates a clear path to a vibrant enlightened world where millions of people already live and thrive. It describes in vivid detail and real examples evidence of an upside down world in decay and a Right Side Up world of authentic beings bright with possibility.
The Flip is an owner’s manual for the twenty-first century full of insights, conversations with recognized experts, thought leaders, and visionaries, and actionable exercises and tips you can use to begin your own personal flip.

To read more about The Flip and additional interviews from other luminaries, experts and bestselling authors, please visit

The Flip is available at your local bookstore or online at, Barnes & Noble, Joseph-Beth, and Borders.


Home | Excerpts | The Authors | Meet the Flipsters | Contest | Press

Copyright © 2006 The Flip. All Rights Reserved.

Web site by Celestia International

To view corrections, click here.