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There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

There is only one goal. That is to be whole again. How human beings live and work determines whether they remain whole or are split. ...

10/14/17

By now we must all agree that poverty is truly global. We can not go on with the illusion that poor people live in poor countries and rich people live in rich countries. 

The fact is that the poor are everywhere, both in so-called poor countries and in so-called rich countries. They are all suffering. 

The cause of global poverty is the thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources. 

Friends, this thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources is not something going on out there, far away from us. This is going on very much in our own midst. We are doing it. Until we understand this and change, global poverty will not be alleviated. 

When Arun Gandhi, one of Gandhiji's many grandchildren, was around thirteen, he spent a few months with Gandhiji at his ashram. Though Gandhiji was, as you can imagine, very busy, he spent an hour each day instructing the young Arun. The lessons were practical, immediate, and unforgettable. 

One day Arun was walking to the ashram on the road and absentmindedly tossed the tiny little stub of the pencil that he used each day into the bushes. He thought no more of it until his daily lesson with his grandfather. Gandhiji had a way of getting young Arun to recount his day for him, turning daily living into a living laboratory of lessons. When Arun reported tossing the pencil stub, Gandhiji interrupted the lesson. Arun was to leave at once and scour the long road for the missing pencil stub, returning only when he had found the pencil. For young Arun it was like looking for a needle in a haystack! It took him two hours of diligent searching to find it. 

When Arun returned to his lesson his grandfather explained to him that everything contains resources and how we interact with things can cause poverty or abundance. 

When we take any action without thought we do not recognize the dignity value inherent in every thing. Any kind of thoughtless action is thus violent. 

When we throw things away thoughtlessly we destroy resources. After all everything contains resources, so when we thus destroy resources we lower values by not recognizing the dignity value of things being tossed. I may think that something is 'used up' and hence worthless (like the pencil stub) but it will be of use to someone else somewhere. When I throw it away I take it away from the person who could have used it causing that person poverty. In my action I am not recognizing the inherent value of the item, its dignity value, and by my thoughtless action am causing poverty. This is what is meant by the thoughtless destruction of resources. 

When we thoughtlessly own things that we do not use, we trap resources. Since everything contains resources, our action of holding on to things we do not use -- our houses, possessions, wealth, anything unused -- we artificially raise values above their dignity values. We think that we 'value' these things since we own and hold on to them but in reality since we don't use these things, we trap the resources contained in them. I don't use these things but I don't let others use them who would use them everyday. In this way I am thoughtlessly stealing resources away from those who would use them. 

If we can be thoughtful in our actions we can create abundance everywhere. 

Firstly, instead of throwing things away that have no use for us, we can recognize that everything has dignity value and that someone somewhere would have a use for almost anything that we possess. We can give such things away to those who would use them. 

Secondly, instead of owning and keeping things that we do not use, we can give away such possessions to people who would recognize and respect the inherent dignity values of these things and importantly, use them. 

If the cause of global poverty is the thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources, the cure is the thoughtful release and circulation of resources. Abundance is available to us everywhere. God did not create us to suffer. We, that is, each and every one of us, needs to change how we live, and if we do, we can have more abundance than we can imagine! 

Every ancient faith affirms that and so do our hearts if we but listen. 



10/9/17

We are gathered amongst friends. The conversation is warm and engaging. Towards the end of the evening I am asked to say something on the two interrelated topics that have sprung up -- human nature and freedom. This is what I say: 

It is dangerous and misleading to talk about 'human nature' being this way or that way. When we do that we are in the world of half-truths.

Are humans rational? Sure, but they are also irrational. Are we driven by self interest? Yes, but we are also moved into other interest.

To pick a few extreme tendencies of human nature while ignoring their opposites -- opposites that are just as much a part of human nature -- as does modern economics, is wrong.

Modern life has made us split. Instead of whole people we are consumers, producers, 'economic agents' casting 'dollar votes', profit maximizers. 

When repeatedly told that and forced into situations where these ideas are reinforced -- work life separated from family life -- an education that identifies and extolls certain extreme tendencies of human nature -- a cash based economy combined with money-controlled television and social media which dramatically change and shape lifestyles -- we are thoroughly conditioned into the 'products' that can be fed into the ever hungry, ever greedy system of modern life. 

And then we behave largely, though not entirely, as modern economics describes us: not as people but as products.

But therein lies the beauty of God's gift to us -- that of free choice. We can never be completely conditioned! So how do we find our way out?

We must watch ourselves very carefully, and that watching (called meditation in many traditions, awareness or mindfulness in others) is the key.

It is this watching of ourselves that allows us to see successively:

1. That our lives are unsatisfactory

2. That we are expressing a very limited number of extreme proclivities

3. That there is a system at work that shapes society

4. That it is possible to break out of the system

5. That we can live lives where we are no longer split but rather whole, expressing a beautiful range of tendencies lead by love. 

The way God has created us we have every proclivity as well as its opposite. Our work on this planet is to find a way of appropriately expressing the right balance of these proclivities and develop ones we may initially be unaware of. That, to me, if freedom. 


10/1/17

It is accepted without question that so-called poor countries need a) an economic policy b) guided by foreign experts c) funded by international entities.

This unquestioned idea is the cause of the misery in those countries not the solution to the misery.

The very idea of economic policy is erroneous. Implicit in the term is the idea that whatever social relationships that exist and would exist in the absence of the colonial and post colonial influences would not and could not possibly be adequate. That the naturally developed economy or that that would emerge naturally in the absence of the corrupting influences of the colonizer can not be accepted as appropriate. That it must be changed. This is utter nonsense. Common sense tells us that societies can and do develop sustainable economies when left alone.

The idea that foreign experts and its corollary, foreign-trained indigenous experts, can somehow direct this misguided at best and disingenuous at worst, economic policy has been accepted at all levels and has caused untold suffering in the so-called poor countries. Instead of allowing natural social-economic relationships to be sustained and developed, foreign experts forcibly direct economic policy, which actually destroys the fragile social-economic ecosystem that is developing on its own.

The final blow comes from foreign money. Large sums of money created by governments and banking systems in the West with the single purpose of making a profit in the short run and gaining control of / owning resources in these so-called poor countries in the long run, are funneled into these countries. 

Debt results first. The debt becomes so large that the foreign experts then demand privatization which is essentially theft of resources (a stock) from the so-called poor countries by the rich. 

Debt gets even bigger as the country's resource base shrinks. Economic policy now takes the form of Austerity. People work long hours for less and less, with income (a flow) increasingly diverted to paying the foreign lenders.

People everywhere! Don't fall prey to these blood-sucking strategies wearing the 'respectable' clothing of economics and economic policy. The economists will destroy your countries and enslave you. Please let us wake up to this.