All of us have been exposed to ideals or values that represent our best sides, whether through the most incredible wisdom of our country, religions, teachers, or traditional or indigenous culture.
Most of us have been taught to regard each other as equals, and we honor the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We consider injustice anywhere as a threat to justice everywhere, and we hear the adages “Ask not what your country can do, ask what you can do for your country” and “Things which do not grow and change are dead.”
These inspirational truths are all too often just understood but rarely taken deeply into the central motivation of our daily lives. The life we live today calls us to look at the reality that is staring us in the face — we still do not change or seek or understand our core reason for living. I believe it is evident that nothing short of a collective change of incomparable magnitude will save our planet and especially our human race. The questions in this article are not meant as pontifications but really as a plea from our hearts to yours.
Yes, the world needs to have a psycho-spiritual lobotomy to survive. The longer we take to make these dramatic pivots from what we’ve viewed as standard in the past, the greater the likelihood of mass death and destruction. We all have a place inside that knows how to live more sensibly, recognizing that our relationship with the world is as important as our relationship with ourselves and those we love. This is evident in how we have created a collective human civilization. It’s just that we have truly waited until the last hour to give ourselves a real chance to thrive together and survive. This is an appeal to this very best part of you to be activated and inspired and to inquire what it means to live your best life possible in this extraordinarily poignant time.
In the 21st century, we are being put to the test — will we move toward this sensibility? If we continue, there will be very strong crises that occur at the same time. So many of us will die prematurely if we don’t deeply reflect and act on these best parts of ourselves. Denial is still rampant about the state of the world and our country (especially in denial around our actions and motivations). It reminds me of a client who said both in fun and sincerity, “Until I met you I didn’t think I was going to die.”
In the olden days, you could get away with being self-centered and isolated from issues of poverty, corruption, international dangers, and global warming. Still, this century is making it clear that if we put our separate selves so far ahead of the rest of the world, we are a world divided against itself. This is not how it seems for most of us; this feeling is normal as we are just following what we have been taught. All our lives, we’ve been told to take care of ourselves, our family, and our loved ones, and we’ll live a good life.
There is quite a contrast between how most of us live against the highest and truest values in our hearts and wisdom. As is evident from the very creation of the U.S. Constitution or the holy books through the years, the emphasis on everyone being brothers and sisters has dominantly only remained a philosophy. It is now clear to so many that we are endangered by the lack of agreement in the world, whether it is political, religious, spiritual, psychological, cultural, or economic. The emphasis has been on self and family, with passionate motivations dominating in that direction. This has led us into a world of us vs. them with too many divisive groups even to start to narrow it down.
We need to have values that profoundly prioritize the survival of life on earth and pragmatic caring about each other. There need to be international grounded laws that are enforced. If you’re interested, there will be a series on World Survival that you can check out soon.
As the band King Crimson sang in their song “Epitaph,” — Knowledge is our deadly friend if nobody sets the rules . . .
When we look at President Putin killing and maiming innocent civilians, including children, or hear the continuous lies about the United States’ election being stolen, we are shown how life on earth is severely endangered. Yet, at the same time, there’s a continued emphasis on money and wealth being more important than giving impoverished people a chance to learn, work and have a decent chance to live a full life. There isn’t virtually any empowerment in our world to enforce international and sane national standards to maximize the opportunity for peace and survival for those less fortunate.
This is no longer just a philosophical debate, as our very survival and the lives of our children and grandchildren are virtually doomed unless we wake ourselves out of this dream of self-importance and self-empowerment. Therefore, there is an utter necessity for the people in our world to see that there is no chance for long-term survival if there isn’t a massive, almost-immediate change.
We must embrace our interconnectedness as the number one new priority in the world. This is what all of the wise men throughout history have said. It is the theoretical basis of democratic nations and socialist or communist beliefs. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the incongruence present in our ideals and actions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a significant minority of people who have dedicated their lives to the interconnected importance of all life. Instead, it means that the average person, whether in power or not, has a self-centered, family-centered, religion-centered, or nation-centered orientation. Now, however, we need to find a way to share our strength and resources with local and international entities created to enforce the sensible core beliefs that are the source of genuine fulfillment and survival.
Through this article, I’m speaking to myself and you simultaneously. It’s time to reevaluate our relationship with money and wealth. The ‘haves’ in our society need to agree about securing the best possible survival for most of us. No person or even one group can come up with the solution to this on their own. My goal in writing this article is to come up with tangible questions and a potential beginning thought or strategy that we need to ponder no matter what country we’re in or whatever economic, religious, political, national, or cultural position we find ourselves in.
Here are some questions that might provide some food for thought as we think deeper about our relationship with ourselves, our small circles, and the world at large.
1. Rethinking wealth & money
Let’s start with something like, “What percentage of my time and money could I devote to the wellbeing and survival of the planet?”
The answer to this and how you perceive this question will differ depending on your current situation. For the wealthy, it could be a percentage of philanthropy toward these issues and or a tax zeroed in on one of the critical dangers.
2. Taking actions toward interconnectedness
“What specific areas of focus do I want to dedicate myself to to further this interconnectedness?”
The goal is to increase our chances of survival for the most lives. This question could help you think about specific groups, organizations, or institutions to join in volunteering your time and energy. Or you could put a unique skill or talent you have to use and help others pro bono.
3. Moving from self/family to a world-view
“What modifications do I need to make in my personal life regarding my relationship to my religion, spiritual or non-spiritual beliefs to focus on how we can sustain life on earth?”
Most of us would do well to contemplate our beliefs and how we find the wisdom and courage to speak out to ground them in tangible actions to contribute to the world situation.
4. Reworking ideas into real-life actions
We must practice our ideals and values, the ones we learn from our religions, cultures, etc. So, for example, a critical question to ask could be:
“How can we reorient education, religion, politics, and economics to have put everyone’s survival at the center?”
Schools could have classes focusing on what’s happening in the world and what kind of careers would be helpful using each child’s gifts.
5. Involving world leaders
The common person can take on individual responsibility and act to the best of their ability, but there’s a critical need for our politicians to step up and act immediately.
“Who are the people in the best position and have the credibility in the world to take power and form committees that lead to tangible enforceable laws, principles, policies, and to influence the way we live in greater peace and safety from birth to death?”
For example, it could be President Selensky from Ukraine or Finland’s President Marin.
6. Developing economic reforms
Economic reform is integral to helping the world survive. Most of the world’s wealth is concentrated among a few people or families, and reaching their hearts or their minds (through taxes, reforms, and benefits) is essential to help us ensure the survival of the most.
“How can we create economic reforms that are credible and offer unique unprecedented incentives that motivate the rich to use money in a non-traditional way to support the majority in giving opportunities for everyone to earn their own survival and livelihood?”
The goal is to develop something that inspires the wealthy and assures them that their money is being put to good use. Genuine equality and supporting their fellow humans by giving the poor education, jobs, homes, food, etc. — a real chance is what could drive their generosity.
An efficient strategy to encourage them is to focus these initiatives on practical teachings and education on world survival, create enforceable policies for the police and military throughout the world, offer innovative health services at various levels to everyone, and international work opportunities that will create products that are universally needed like clean air, water, food, shelter, medical care and care for the genuinely disabled in the most cost-efficient compassionate way.
In other articles, we’ve talked about how low-cost communities can offer housing, meaningful employment, and more to those who truly need it in our world. I encourage you to read more about regenerative agriculture and building the bottom up in our society here.
7. Creating an international body of power
“How do we empower a world body or create a collective agreement among all nations of the world?”
This agreement would need to stipulate real boundaries around poverty, those who create innocent civilian deaths for any reason, invading countries, finding the balance between free speech and speech that results in death, and setting limits to the influence of dominating corporations, religions, and even nations. Such a world body or agreement would also offer opportunities to work, be trained, be housed, and provide medical care to as many people as possible.
It is an important choice to make — do we need an independent body like the United Nations that includes every country? Or do we have clear, enforceable actions that follow violations in the world?
8. Reducing the negative impact of attacks on the common people
How do we set boundaries for the countries and violent organizations in the safest way possible to contain or eliminate cyberattacks, terrorists, corporate greed, corruption, drug cartels, and dominating corporations?
Again, this has multiple components and will require substantial negotiation between the government and the private sector. The more of us that insist on this as citizens, the better chance it is a political boost in realism.
9. Developing caring for the world
“How do we educate the public worldwide that psychologically, almost all of us are taught that it is much more important to focus on our survival than the survival of the world?”
Of course, this seems natural; however, the stakes of self-destruction are not something that has been considered throughout time. Therefore, we must create a vast educational system, inspire the media to contribute, and foster the entertainment industry to use their creativity and power to inspire a new psychological understanding. That system could help make people aware that humankind has been deceived into thinking that the best way to live is to provide locally when the current stage of our planet’s history necessitates global mandates. This could combine private-sector educational materials, government cooperation, and philanthropic support.
Among all these, the real question is whether it’s possible to bring about necessary change before we have global warming, nuclear incidents, or massive civil wars that kill hundreds of millions. We must all get involved in staying aware and, simultaneously, not let ourselves be overwhelmed to withdraw. This is the time for all of us to be educated and use our role as voters, at the very least.
This article is an invitation to everyone that reads it to contemplate how you can create or join a group to explore these questions, especially with those that you know well, not because you “should,” but because it is inspiring and touches a sensibility that is striking to you.
This is also an invitation from The Global Bridge to you, depending on your degree of interest, to start a live group that is interested in exploring further. We’re devoted to bridging people from all walks of life to address these questions and respond with whatever is possible.