Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Change and leadership

“The ego finds its collective expression in the economic structures of this world, such as the huge corporations, which are egoic entities that compete with each other for more. Their only blind aim is profit. They pursue that aim with absolute ruthlessness. Nature, animals, people, even their own employees, are no more than digits on a balance sheet, lifeless objects to be used, then discarded”.

Eckhart Tolle

Herein (the pursuit of ego), lies the cause of immeasurable misery throughout the ages to the present day. What does this tells us? It tells us everything. Above all it tells us that the pursuit of me, mine, more than, I want, I need, I must have, etc., can have only one outcome, that which we have and see before us, one of continual injustice, inequality, poverty, famine, war and endless misery. The end result is that we live in an emotional and physical vacuum disconnected from the world that we inhabit and of which we are made. Worse, we are destroying our world and therefore ultimately ourselves.

Acknowledging this provides us with all the answers we need to transform our world and ourselves. The pursuit of egoic desires is insane (there is no other way of describing it) and has always and will always lead us down a blind alley. It’s a road to nowhere but more of the same.

What we need is a completely different philosophy that understands that less me, mine, etc., both as individuals and nations is the only route to something infinitely more rewarding. We must finally acknowledge that we are all together in the same boat. What happens to anyone of us affects all of us. The wellbeing of all the individual parts guarantees the wellbeing of the whole. We are all of us part of and joined to each other and everything around us. This is not even up for discussion any more. Quantum Physics tells us we are the children of the stars and interconnected to everything. We are part of nature and not apart from it.

We cannot go on creating ego-centric political and corporate structures that have no symbiosis to the well being of the greater world, nor purpose, other than to feed their own insatiable greed at the expense of others. We cannot continue to exploit finite resources at a faster rate than nature or technology can replenish or replace them. We must recognise that unsustainable economic growth is the ultimate insanity. It is quite simply mass suicide.

We need to think about the pace, nature and purpose of our economic growth and we need to target investment toward the right kind of technologies for future planetary sustainability and the betterment of life for all. Above all we must cease producing endless streams of pointless, cheap, plastic products/packaging that have limited usage, short term life spans and long term toxic disposal consequences; all for the sole purpose of making ever more profit. We can no longer ignore the consequences of such blind stupidity. We must recognise the absolute need to eradicate short termism from our thinking. It more often than not causes nothing but long term problems. We have to move away from the unholy grail of maximising profit at the expense of jobs, communities, environment, social adhesion and quality of life. We cannot sustain such a shallow philosophy without destroying the very meaning and purpose of living, the value of which is incalculable.

The pursuit of blind ego has always and will always unleash the negative forces that have brought us to where the world now stands, on the verge of calamity. We are faced with global warming, the clash of cultures, economic meltdown, the widening gap between rich and poor, the loss of moral compass and so on. Perhaps the greatest catastrophe has been the calculated entrapment, by the marketing industry and a compliant media, of our minds which are focused on the worthless and the trivial. The marketing moguls think it is clever to create a superficial demand for endless streams of ecologically harmful, intrinsically unnecessary material products that we can all live comfortably without. It’s not clever. It’s idiotic. It pollutes our world, diminishes our minds and harms our souls. They have very effectively focused our minds on the lowest common denominator of our being in the name of profit driven by greed. We can no longer see the woods for the trees.

The transformation of this mindset is the greatest challenge we face if we are to create a better, more compassionate and just world. This is the inescapable truth that must be confronted. This is the key that can unlock the door to real change. What is needed now is enlightenment and wisdom. A world bereft of wisdom is a vacuous world, a rudderless ship ultimately doomed to crash upon storm whipped rocks with all hands aboard.

Armed with this knowledge our course is as clear as a mountain stream. We must repair our leaking ship and set our sails towards a meaningful and more rewarding destination for all of mankind and every living thing that sails with us. How do we do this? We start by asking ourselves what principles need to be applied in the conception of a better fairer more sustainable socio-economic program that eradicates poverty, provides equity, assures justice and enriches the meaning of life while protecting the planet. The destruction of animal or plant life threatens all life and diminishes us all. We begin by understanding that self interest can only be assured if the common interest is satisfied first. This is a fundamental truth which the ego-centric world has so far failed to comprehend and which once understood has the power to change everything.

Everything we do must be done with thoughtful purpose, within a coherent plan that serves and enriches our life experience and inspires our minds. It must serve the greater good. Those that have must help those who have not. We cannot all be blessed with natural resources but the planets resources must be used for the common good. We cannot continue with the politics of belligerent domination by exploiting our assets to dominate others in order to exercise power over those less fortunate. These resources belong to the cosmos, to all of us, as we belong to it. Their placement is a geological phenomenon not a political birthright of any one nation. Its placement is irrelevant. It belongs to the world.

We are but the temporary guardians of our planet and it’s resources not the owners. If we do not share the resources equitably, there can only ever be one outcome. We must put behind us for ever the politics of dogma and domination. They have served us poorly. What has it ever bought us but inequality, injustice, strife, discontent and misery? What will it bring us in the future but more of the same? This we know to be an absolute truth and yet we continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend ignorance of our own insanity. What good is knowledge if we do not act upon it? Acknowledging the error of our ways is the first step to change. Herein lies the only way ahead that makes an iota of sense. There is no second or third way, only one way, the right way. There is only one correct solution to any mathematical problem and we are not even close.

Therein, lies the burden and challenge of true leadership. It is not about empty imagery or looking cool on television. It’s about wisdom and enlightenment. The role of leadership is to lead humanity to a higher place. It’s about the spiritual fulfilment of humanity which will never be found at the alter of consumerism, greed or media spin.

The greatest power comes not from nuclear weapons. It is to be found only in the brotherhood of humanity; the understanding that we are all equal and that our common interest is far more important than personal interest. It comes from tearing down that which divides us and building on that which unites us. This is the only role of true leadership. Every war or conflict is a failure of leadership.