Sharing the Earth
Imagine a world in which it’s possible to estimate the total monetary value of all the material resources of the planet. Then, in combination with accurate population data, each new child is granted ownership of their fair share at birth – one seven billionth of all of the world’s titanium, eggs, tea etc. And because certain resources such as titanium require the cooperation of others to collectively use for mutual benefit, that it is predominantly a world of group ownership. Each group or company is only allowed to operate on that share of the world’s resources allocated to its members, though they can trade their rights with one another to engage in operations with other resources. Maximum limits are set, so that any one company cannot acquire rights, either through its own inherent size, or through trading, to more than an agreed percentage of any resource. And if any company is unable to show that it is putting its allocation of resources to good planetary use, which would necessarily involve the fair re-distribution of either the resources themselves, or products based upon them, then its right to exist for that purpose is revoked.
The details of such an imaginary world structure could be endlessly elaborated, but the question is, would this world, independent of the inheritance of previous concentrations of wealth or power, or the lucky accident of geography, be a fairer and happier place to live in? Curiously, while the vision appears to embrace the idea of the ‘one humanity’, it has an unsettling undercurrent, something akin to a benign “big brother” feel wherein the spirit of sharing, goodwill and right human relationships is eclipsed by an excessive scrutiny and control of the matter aspect of the planet. Perhaps the key problem is that the vision doesn’t actually address the concept of ownership itself. As long as we hold on to the idea that we are entitled to own material property too rigorously – be it a piece of land, a house, a car, the oil, gas and minerals of the earth, a business, etc. isn’t it likely that the human species will continue to be bound and imprisoned in the material world? For too intensive a focus on ‘ownership’ can inhibit the spirit of sharing, especially where large amounts of material wealth (money and profits) are concerned. And this tends to produce more separativeness. The willingness to share unfolds gradually as human consciousness is freed from the control of material forces. So while humanity must continue to use the substance of the material world and draw out the beauty it contains, should we continue to possess it at all costs? Surely this can only hold us back from realising the spiritual objective of sharing.
Given human ingenuity, and the increasing power of technology to collect, store, and process data, it is not beyond our intellectual grasp to move in the direction of this imaginary world, but it would surely be putting the cart before the horse. If the spirit of goodwill were alive in the majority of the human race then it could conceivably work, but equally, if the spirit of goodwill was dynamically active the system wouldn’t be needed in the first place. Right sharing concerns the general resources of the planet rather than the meticulous scrutiny and division of every single resource. Imagine the laborious detail of monitoring every world resource, many of which are continually fluctuating or being transformed, feeding it into central computers to work out precise percentages and shares. Take a random selection of resources such as the titanium, tea and eggs mentioned above. Titanium and other mineral wealth belong to the Earth; they are "God-given" resources that just happen to lie under that portion of the Earth's surface that some lucky nations currently occupy, and this happenstance is interpreted as ownership, which is where the fundamental problem lies. Eggs and tea are crops, so to speak – grown or nurtured by human beings and therefore more reasonably considered the property of those who planted and fed them. Another problem is that the breakdown of resources by the size of population seems questionable because it could be misinterpreted as promoting population expansion - more babies equals more wealth.
As we further explore a vision that might initially be appealing to people of goodwill, we start to see the multitude of problems that arises when anything more than a general sharing of the world’s resources to alleviate hunger and poverty is pursued. The dynamic of goodwill lifts the focus of attention away from all this complexity towards the quality of human relationships and the spiritual realms rather than the mathematics of ownership of this and that in the material world. Moreover, the spirit of goodwill has a sacrificial impulse to it that cares not for its own equal share of ‘things’ but thrives in the service of others and the stimulation of spiritual quality in all relationships in all kingdoms of nature. As far as the planet is concerned this points the way to stewardship rather than ownership. One example of a nation demonstrating this spirit of goodwill was the response of Norway some twenty years ago to the discovery of the vast oil fields in its territory of the North Sea. Rather than doling out the ensuing wealth to each individual Norwegian, Norway, a society that was previously quite poor in comparison to the other Scandinavian nations, has used vast amounts of its newfound wealth to aid other countries. Per capita, Norway is the most generous nation on Earth in terms of foreign aid. What an inspirational lead Norway gives to the world, like a shining light against the dark matrix of greed and material hoarding. It is to be hoped that other nations will catch and follow the light and alter their behaviour accordingly. This spirit of sharing, that rises above ownership, is surely the only way to address major world problems such as pollution, global warming and the problem of the ever shrinking rainforests.
Any vision of the future has to be grounded in where humanity stands now and the next pragmatic step forward to be taken. Sometimes scarcity or severe crisis brings about a sudden shift in thinking and attitudes and demands a totally fresh approach. It is through the current planetary crisis that the spirit of goodwill is being activated and humanity is learning that solutions can only be found based on cooperation and sharing. Goodwill affirms that rather than each person owning his or her own bit of the planet, humanity as a whole is the earth’s steward, and while the essentials should be shared by one and all to maintain good health, the focus is ever on the invisible, intangible qualities of the soul. It is only then that we realise that sharing is a basic way in which energy circulates to create and reinforce relationships. The sharing of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the etheric web that unites all forms, is the expression of our sharing of the One life which animates us all.