Is there a need for a “religion,” i.e., a belief system, in all of this?
The answer is that we require a set of beliefs grounded in reality and void of anything supernatural to guide us as we navigate through life.
More specifically, we need a vision relevant to the complex and increasingly sophisticated age in which we live, a vision that defines what is sacred here and now in this life, not “out there” somewhere in an imagined “afterlife.”
- We need a definition so clear and universal that it changes forever our understanding of profit, power, and progress.
- We need a vision that enlightens the worlds of commerce, politics, and religion itself.
Such a belief system would play a central role in our lives.
- It would expand knowledge and justice, and reduce ignorance and suffering.
- It would embody inclusiveness in the broadest sense.
- It would diffuse historical rivalries and contemporary adversaries engaged in ruinous relationships.
- It would draw us together.
- It would change the way we care for each other, our environment, and ourselves.
- It would do what most of us want a belief system to do.
- It would help us achieve a healthier, more peaceful, and just world.
We exist at the threshold of a new way to understand and live life.
We have evolved through the agrarian and industrial ages to a post-industrial, high-tech digital information and communication age.
For the first time, we have instantaneous, global communication.
We are poised to disseminate the information necessary to develop a new world view: a humanistic culture where the outlook is for the long term; where integrative approaches to problem solving are utilized; where poverty is eradicated; and where wasteful consumption patterns are eliminated.
Our limitation is not technology, it is old-world thinking and ethics among leaders and followers who, with a limited understanding of our reality, have vested and narrow interests in maintaining the status quo.
- Much of our inability to advance stems from failure to discuss long-term interests, from unnecessary polarization, and from excessive divisions along ideological lines.
- In a world that abounds with astonishing diversity, one wonders how we can subscribe to the rigidity that is at the core of our problems.
Our planet is small.
We are not isolated from or unaffected by our neighbors as we were in our past.
We are now required to satisfy ourselves as individuals and as members of larger communities.
We are like a body of people involved in a grand experiment that might be described in the following manner.
- Imagine a beautiful island resplendent with majestic mountains, lush valleys, gorgeous beaches, clean air, sparkling waters, and extraordinary varieties of plants and animals.
- As an experiment, a remarkably diverse group of people are loaded onto a boat and sent to live on this island.
- These people possess every conceivable talent and skill to create very comfortable and secure lives for themselves.
- Three things are asked of these people: take care of your health; work together in harmony; replenish what you consume.
- For satisfying these three simple requirements, these people are guaranteed lives of peace and abundance.
Like this theoretical experiment, humanity had the same opportunity.
Through history, the combination of our natural resources and our human skills and abilities offered us extraordinary opportunities that we were not yet wise enough to recognize.
Instead, we became embroiled in power struggles over our different ethnicities, territories, and belief systems.
We chose to address our differences—ones that presented unlimited opportunities—as opposing principles in competition rather than as complementary ones that enhance each other.
- Self-centered tribes, regions, and nations alienated and made enemies of each other.
- No one worked for the common good.
This transformed our elegant potential into countless and ongoing tragedies.
We have each become like tiny islands with limited resources.
- We defend, rather than share, our unique qualities.
- As a consequence, few find contentment.
It never seems to occur to us that our many needs are mutual and connected.
Most of us are unable to comprehend the intrinsic value and infinite potential of our differences.
Next: PRIMITIVE BELIEFS