We as individuals, and humanity as a whole, whether we know it or not, are facing a crossroads of two increasingly distinct paths. This crossroads has always been before us. Some individuals have already faced this crossroads, made their choice, and are journeying toward the inevitable destination of the path they have chosen. Although, sometimes, along our way we find we are offered an opportunity to reevaluate our choice and alter our path. At this time the two distinct paths are these: one is the path of love, truth, cooperation, kinship and it’s correlated regard for the interconnectedness of all things. The other is the path of competition, greed, materialism, and it’s correlated manifestations of ego, pride, envy, illusions, deceit and disregard, if not contempt, for all that does not serve the competitive process.
While these choices have faced individuals, small groups and localized cultures for all of recorded history, at this time due to the increase in population and the advances in communication, transportation, and destructive technologies, this has become an inescapable choice facing the mass of humanity around the world. For any individual to not make a conscious choice is to, by default, accept the dominant value system in one’s surrounding culture. It is a choice which stands to profoundly determine the quantity and quality of life for every individual and thereby humanity as a whole.
There may be, and reportedly are, some groups of spiritually advanced beings who have established their own isolated cultures which exist relatively insulated from the painful cultural/spiritual contortions taking place in the world. However, that is not the condition in which the vast majority of humans live. Billions of people around the world are painfully exposed to the whims and fantasies conjured within the egos of those who, at the moment, occupy the seats of worldly power within various national governments and the world’s increasingly monopolized industries. Whims and fantasies which increasingly manifest as predominantly serving a relatively small percentage of the population.
The phrase “the world community” has never been more acutely descriptive than it is at this time. We are in our daily activites one world, one community. In reality we always have been, however, in the past, up until possibly 1900, it was easier to ignore that fact than it is today.
There is no question that in many ways simply allowing the world to continue on it’s present course of pervasive materialism and competition would be easier, at least in the near future. However, the price in the long run will undoubtedly be high and I can’t imagine that it will be anything but horrendous involving widespread death and suffering. Death and suffering not only within the human race but among all the various species of life on Earth. This is due to the callous disregard for our environment displayed by governments and industries around the globe. This callous disregard for humanity and the Earth itself is a direct consequence of the highly competitive grasping for wealth taking place among the captains of industry and tolerated, if not subsidized, by governments. This governmental tolerance and subsidizing is usually, if not always, due to those in power within the respective governments being paid off, in one way or another, to insure their non-interference. The competition to be the “first”, the richest, the most powerful has been in active among various individuals and groups for centuries. However, the aforementioned changes in technology and population have produced a world with decreased tolerance for imbalance and non-cooperative methods. The ultimate form of competition is war and to think a highly competitive culture can lead to anything else is to ignore fundamental logic along with what reality has been showing us for centuries. Continuing along the competitive path allows us to avoid facing the undeniably difficult and painful process of revelations around the lies and manipulations which have been taking place within our human cultures for centuries.
This is the choice which humanity faces at this time: do we face and accept the process of cleaning up our cultural myths, lies, and intentional misconceptions? Do we accept the challenge of reorganization along more reality oriented, more cooperative, more survival-oriented lines? The changes which are necessary to realign our world culture with a more truthful and survival-oriented direction will impact some, if not all, of humankind’s deeply programmed religious and cultural precepts. To be successful such an undertaking will require empathy, caring and cooperative behavior on the part of people around the globe.
Are we, as a species, mature enough to choose the path of work and difficulty now in order to manifest needed corrective change as opposed to simply riding out the current materialistic, competitive trends? Those for whom the greatest material sacrifices would be required are predominantly those who have been benefiting the most from the competitive, materialistic paradigm. The “1% ers” as they are commonly called. Or maybe it’s the 1/10th of 1% ers. However, we should not underestimate the degree of mental/psychological challenge which would accompany cleaning up the factual errors and lies which have become embodied in various cultures. Factual errors and lies which may often serve to kindle the fires of competition with, if not contempt for, others. Is it in the realm of possibility to effectively redirect the ego-driven, destructive behaviors currently manifesting so pervasively around the world? Is enough of humanity capable of recognizing our innate interconnectedness/interdependence for global systemic change to take place?
Something it is good and wise for us all to keep in mind is the basic principle of personal, or societal change: that every change that a human being undertakes is first preceded by the desire for change. When that is present there is usually an accompanyng conception of the change desired. There is no doubt in my mind that at this time very many people around the world are desirous of change: major systemic change. The motivation to change exists. We feel it, we talk about it, we dream of it. This being the case, what we most need in order to move away from a competitive paradigm toward a cooperative one is a fundamentally common conception of the changes we want to see become manifest. Governments, political candidates, industries, religions, use advertising, news shows, and other forms of media in their efforts to influence the citizenry to adopt the conception of change, or resistance to change, that they want to see. It’s happening right now. The thing is, we are currently going down the path, the competitive, wealth centered path, that most governments and industries are unmistakably enamored of and working to keep in place. For positive systemic change to happen in the world we first need to free our minds and desires from this agenda.
Then we need to embrace a conception of a different social paradigm: one of genuine, common good. A world in which people who work and contribute to society can expect to see their lives, and their childrens’ lives, rightfully and justly improved as a result. A world in which it is recognized that nobody should be subjected to conditions approximating slave labor and that no one’s, absolutely no one’s, contribution to the public good is exponentially more valuable than anyone else’s. Yes, we need to reward exceptional achievement, however, if we want a stable and healthy society, we need to keep in mind that the contributions of the nurses, teachers, garbage collectors, cooks, and every other contribution which serves to maintain, improve and enhance our lives and society is important. It is a reality that the greater the nature of the contribution of any one individual: the broader the base of contributing achievements of others that it is built upon. This is always true whether the individual claiming great achievement is willing to recognize that reality or not. No one ever has, or ever will, singlehandedly contribute to such a great degree that their contribution is worth 25, or 50 times more than the contribution of the average, positively contributing worker.
Today we see myriad CEO’s, sports figures, entertainers, politicians and others who believe they should receive rewards many hundreds and thousand times greater, if not millions of times greater, than the average positively contributing worker. And due to the effect of media propaganda, we see average, positively contributing workers who seem to support, possibly even worship, that situation no matter the consequences within their lives or communities. As stated, this is in large part the result of the media campaign of those who are in possession of inordinate wealth to keep the reality of inordinate imbalance appearing right, unavoidable. Abraham Maslow, with his Hierarchy of Needs, gave us a wonderful tool for use in helping determine appropriate parameters for material reward within a viable society. As a global community we desperately need greater balance in the distribution of reward for contribution than we currently have. Not a flat line, but a much greater balance.
In closing, let us all strive to create and hold the conception of a world in which we all have a good life. Where basic needs are met and everyone has the opportunity to improve their lot in life through their own personal initiative. A world in which we recognize and honor our spiritual and worldly interconnectedness. This desire and conception, based in love and reason actually already exists, and always has, at a deep, spiritual level within all of us. So, it may be said that the challenge we face is to get in touch with our own personal, yet interconnected, spiritual reality.