For thousands of years, people have aksed “how do we build a better world?” I want to make a suggestion: to really build the best world we can, we need to transform our spiritual and material economies.
How do we build a better world? It is a question people have been asking themselves for thousands of years.
Today, I want to suggest that to really make a utopia, a better world we need two kinds of transformation. We need to transform our economy, our material economy. And we also need to transform our our spiritual economy, our economy of being.
Do only one of these and we won’t get a truly better world.
For evidence, look at our world today. We have massive material advance, yet a lot of people still seem less happy than they were even 30-years ago.
At the same time material progress matters – it is hard to become enlightened on an empty stomach. What is great about the the material progress of the last century is that it has created the space and leisure for us to really look at what matters to us, and to really develop ourselves as human beings.
So we need transformation of both “economies”: the material and the spiritual.
Now, I propose there are two parts to this transformation. On the one hand, we have the revolution in digital technology and the advance of material production that mean we have increasing amounts of leisure time. Secondarily, we have technology that allows for infinite copying of information. We can share with everybody today. Whether it is apps or literature or movies, we suddenly have a technology that allows us to give to everybody. We do need a way to pay for that first copy but we can do that collectively.
On the other side, thousands of years of spiritual practice are now coming together with modern science to show that things like meditation and even general Buddhist ontology have a lot to tell us about how we can live more wisely and well.
It also has very practical implications on how, for example, we can we be more open-minded. Or why is it so hard to change our minds? Why do we have so many arguments or fights with others, including our partners? Thus this work has importance not just for well-being, but for major practical concerns such as climate change or voting – anywhere we have to make decisions individually or collectively.
In summary, I propose that combining this incredible advance in digital technology with age-old wisdom, we have a true opportunity to make a better world.
Image by Nicole Harrington unsplash