Friday, 31 August 2007

Sharing : how to heal a selfish society

The society we live in is predominantly self-centered. Success is defined as gathering more possessions or plaudits than one's neighbor. Primitive instincts urge us to protect ourselves and our families from a hostile world. We crave our own space. We compete against each other for control of our environment. We seek independence.

But we need each other. Over many centuries, we have created a highly complex civilization. We have evolved systems of government to organize us and protect us from each other. We have developed advanced technology. We have networked ourselves with transport, trade, and telecommunications. We have all become specialists, serving one another with complementary skills. Alone, without our global life-support system, almost all of us would perish. We are inter-dependent.

Why then do we work against each other? We encourage our children to develop a competitive spirit, through sports, games, and academic examinations. We all want our child to be 'top of the class', to be better than the rest. We learn to seek an advantage, some knowledge that gives us an edge over our competitors. We learn not to share these secrets. We learn that these secrets belong to us. We start to worry that others might steal our secrets, and we build up legal and psychological barricades to keep these secrets to ourselves.

But we are all inter-dependent. We rely on each other for survival. Any increase in the common good, is an increase in the individual good. If we all work together, for each other, then we all benefit individually. If we are open with each other, sharing each new discovery as we find it, then time and resources are no longer wasted in duplicating discoveries, or in secreting them from each other. This requires a mind-shift away from 'self' and towards 'all'. We need to see ourselves as integral parts of the whole of humanity, and not as isolated, independent beings. We need to say not 'how can I improve MY life', but 'how can WE improve OUR world'. We must learn to share.

We must teach our children to help each other and to share their learning with each other. We must dismantle the legal frameworks that recognize ideas as property. No idea is truly original: we all learn from each other, constantly accumulating an ever-growing store of knowledge to enrich and advance our lives. We must share what we find and help each other. If we all concentrate on giving rather than taking, then we are all better off, and we are all happier. All knowledge should be public.

We must take this further and share physical property also: while it is necessary that there be a reward for effort, and a penalty for sloth, it is barbaric that some human beings should accumulate vast stores of unneeded, unused possessions, while others starve through poverty. This is extreme selfishness and greed. There is already enough food and material resources in the world for us all to live in comfort, and the transport and communication networks are there to distribute these resources. Only the political will is absent. We must learn to give from our surplus to those in need.

We define 'success' as 'the attainment of wealth, position or honors', rather than 'the favorable termination of endeavors'. If we must strive for success, then let our 'endeavors' be to help create a better world for all to live in, and let our 'wealth' be the love and fellowship of our fellow beings, and let us work together with each other in harmony to attain our goals.

The world around us is changing at an ever-accelerating pace. We can not hold on to social, political and economic structures from the past: they will break if we do not allow them to bend and reshape. The human race has already achieved tremendous success in material advancement through technology, and more is to come. We build machines to do our labor for us. We build machines to build the machines. And now we build machines to control the machines. We are creating for ourselves an ever-increasing potential for leisure time, which we can use for learning, for communicating with our fellow citizens of the world, for expanding our minds, for teaching our children, for enriching our lives socially and spiritually. We have material wealth, but we must not neglect our mental and cultural advancement, for therein lies TRUE success.

We need new rules for a new and better world and these rules must be based on looking outward, rather than inward, on giving rather than taking, and on sharing rather than stashing. We have networked the world with technology. Now it is time to join hands.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

the new paradigm

We are now in a world of globalization, with leveling forces such as the internet putting power back in the hands of the individual. The old materialistic paradigm was based on power and control, on hierarchical structures, on suppression and manipulation. The new paradigm is based on cooperation and collaboration, on sharing and community.

Spirituality is developing in the same way, away from the institutional and organizational setups, and towards individual spirituality. We have to leave the organizations behind and do it for ourselves - we can each get in touch with our own inner spirituality, and from this position of individual strength we can join together with our fellow beings (using the new global censorship-free communication tools), and build the new age world. A world of collaboration and cooperation, built from our core inner natures of selfless love, compassion, spiritual might, and peace.

The future is bright for those who seek the light.