Yet here again we must return to the original premise of our enquiry, for none of these future transformations are foreseeable without the large-scale release of compassion and awareness throughout the human population, which must be nurtured and inspired by a new education based on more spiritual values. However ardently we embrace the idea of implementing a sharing economy in its most universal form for the coming age, we are left with the reality of a modern era that is characterised by the greed and indifference of countless millions of individuals, and the systemic injustice of a corrupt world order that can hardly be ignored in any vision of a sustainable future.
This presents us with a challenge that requires much more than just a conventional education taught in a formal sense through schools and universities. For there is an urgent need of education in terms of becoming more spiritually aware of ourselves, an awareness that must somehow encompass our own divisive thinking that impedes the engagement of our hearts, and our unobserved social conditioning that serves to reproduce the separative ways of the past. The prevailing notion of a sharing economy is a notable case in point in this regard for is it not all about ourselves once again and our self-regarding attitudes, as if humanity in its entirety is not a part of our everyday thinking and philosophies?
The lack of right education in our societies therefore highlights our underlying dilemma, in that the sharing economy is a viable idea, a potentially colossal and planetary idea, if it is accomplished in a wholly inclusive and moral way by firstly concentrating all our attention on the needs of the world’s struggling poor majority. As we have forcefully argued, that is the only hope that a sharing economy can be properly sustained and steadily bourgeon over time, although we can merely bear witness to the global refugee crisis to see how far our education has strayed from a simple understanding of right human relationship. We have not been educated to share with those less fortunate than ourselves, even in the most advanced democratic societies of Western Europe; for surely, if everyone was imbued with the values of sharing and cooperation from cradle to grave, then the crisis of mass human displacement and insecurity that is caused by senseless regional conflicts—and largely contributed to by Western foreign policies—would never have reached this critical stage. But since it has manifested like a stark illustration of our unequal world, there can be no resolution to its deep-seated causes without the implementation of the principle of sharing into world affairs, thus returning us once again to our central premise.
We have so much yet to discover anent the need for a more holistic or spiritual education to sustain a sharing economy, that for our present purposes we can only give a passing overview of its eventual form and transformative implications. Without doubt, the new education must eventually be seen in the form of school lessons for young children, who can be taught the meaning of sharing in basic social, economic and political terms, and explained why this simple principle is so important to our planetary wellbeing and survival. But we have stressed how the principle of sharing is also spiritual in its nature, and therefore requires teachings of a higher calibre that can inculcate an awareness of the inner Self in any child or adult, leading the individual to perceive for themselves (through both a conscious understanding and an intuitive recognition) that humanity is one interdependent entity, inherently equal and potentially divine in its myriad of personality expressions.
Henceforth to study the inner meaning of a sharing economy is, in the end, to arrive at an understanding of what many religious and spiritual thinkers refer to as the Art of Living. Yet unfortunately, a clear explanation of this term is difficult to convey at our current stage of human and spiritual development, when we are apparently so far away from the kind of education and social circumstances that will permit an understanding of life as a form of art. We also need to bear in mind that a deeper comprehension of this subject cannot be achieved without adequate knowledge of the spiritual constitution of man, for which the reader will need to refer to relevant authorities that provide more detailed information about the new educational methods, theories and goals of the future, such as the writings of Alice Bailey.1 However, we can also discover much for ourselves independently, through self-contemplation and logical reasoning, about how a new economic system based on the principle of sharing must go hand in hand with formidable changes in the inner life of mankind, leading to the rapid speeding up of our collective spiritual evolution and an unforetold expansion of human consciousness.
To go further in such an enquiry, it is beneficial to think of the social and cultural expression of a sharing economy in terms of the Art of Being, which is directly related to the Art of Living but far different in its meaning and implications. You cannot have one without the other, as the Art of Being relates to the inner side of life which is expressed outwardly in the world through our human relationships and varying modes of social organisation. We might simplify by saying that the Art of Being concerns the inner, whereas the Art of Living concerns the outer. Indeed it is a spiritual platitude that man has to change from within if the world is to change, which is what the Art of Being principally refers to—namely, the unfoldment of the inherent divinity that exists within every individual and seeks expression through right human relations.
Therefore, the Art of Being should most engross our attention at this time, and not the Art of Living as oft described, for it is the former that will largely define the new age education in its successive phases of evolvement. What that higher level of spiritual education may look like is beyond the scope of our present remit, although we can summarise by saying that it concerns an awareness of the soul and its purpose through meditation, esoteric studies and service to mankind. Such are the eternal means by which we are ultimately to led to Self-realisation (or the Art of Being), as attested to in the Ageless Wisdom teachings that have been released to humanity in diverse traditions throughout the millennia. But even here we must acknowledge our present difficulty, because you cannot practise or realise the Art of Being through a conditioned mind, or try to understand its meaning only intellectually. In fact, it is the very process of seeking the meaning of the Art of Being that will lead us to be gradually deconditioned, and therefore more consciously aware and inwardly free.
The previous statement alone may give us much to deliberate and cognise, simple though it may sound. For as long as we lack even an inchoate understanding of what the Art of Being means and represents along these lines, it is impossible to express the Art of Living on either an individual or group basis (especially within our inequitable societies that are failing to provide enough education or inner space for the average person to explore, apprehend and demonstrate their soul’s purpose).2
At most, we can merely engage in those social practices and altruistic behaviours that are the palest reflection of the Art of Living in our frenetic, distracted lives of today—such as environmental recycling activities, charitable endeavours, and indeed the less commercialised aspects of the sharing economy in its localised forms. As worthwhile and often vital as these activities may be, they in no way represent a prevailing social awareness of what it means to live in harmlessness, simplicity and right relationship with respect to nature and all sentient beings. By definition, there is no ‘art’ to living unless we go inwards to investigate the reality of the inner Self, and seek to manifest that awareness in our day-to-day life expression.
Notwithstanding the difficulties of verbal elucidation that compromise this discussion, it is still helpful to reflect upon the Art of Living as we enquire into the spiritual or inner meaning of a sharing economy. For this purpose, the Art of Living can be generally defined as the intuitive understanding and awareness of right human relationship among the overall global population, and its individual and societal means of being established in perpetuity. But in any such definition again lies our problem, for how can we talk with clarity about a new way of living on this Earth based on the correct orientation of man towards himself, his society and his natural environment, when we have yet to implement the principle of sharing into world affairs? It may take many generations before the common practice of the Art of Living is the hallmark of our societies, with all its associated inner qualities of humility, honesty, sincerity, detachment and harmlessness. Moreover, there can be no Art of Living that is sustained without the flourishing of compassion throughout the world, for that is a precondition of humanity becoming more gradually aware of the need for the Art of Being to guide our planetary evolution. In short, we are incapable of talking with precision or persuasive meaning on this subject, since it is the new civilisation that will exhibit the prevalent awareness of the Art of Being or Self-realisation, and thus be defined in its outer modes of social organisation.
In further contemplating this problem of awareness in sustaining a sharing economy, we may also discover the spiritual or esoteric significance of the United Nations, and the indistinct connection that exists between the future advancement of this great international organisation and the corresponding advancement of a new education. This may be self-evident if we accept that the United Nations must one day express the fact of right relationship among its member states with their differing cultures and varying levels of material development, which must firstly be achieved through its future supervisory function in overseeing the redistribution of resources to achieve a more balanced global economic system.
If we rightly speak of the true and global sharing economy as being in its infancy today, then the United Nations is also in its most embryonic stage of demonstrating its potential as the highest international authority that represents world goodwill. But how will the United Nations achieve this exalted role, in which it becomes much more meaningful for humanity, symbolically speaking, than just an intergovernmental institution with its assortment of bureaucratic offices and specialised agencies? We are further compelled to engage with our spiritual intelligence and intuition to answer this question, for right human relationship is clearly associated with the interaction of diverse groups of people, which we generally understand in terms of sovereign nations, distinct cultures and races. And it is the very presence and energy of a reconstituted United Nations that can indirectly educate all those groups to raise their consciousness beyond a national, cultural or racial identity, thus to recognise our subjective inter-relationship and supra-identity as the One Humanity.
Alas, most people have no idea about the future spiritual significance of the United Nations, and hence these observations are liable to sound like an indulgent flight of the imagination. For the time being, there are few who hold the United Nations in high esteem due to its many shortcomings and compromises, but we should be wary of dismissing its relevance out of hand before we have tried to grasp what its existence represents from the inner side of life. To begin with, it is necessary to perceive how a fully operational sharing economy provides, in effect, a global structure or outer vehicle for the oversoul to carry out its purpose through groups in service to humanity. From this esoteric perspective, the spiritual purpose of the United Nations is to carry the energy that is embedded within the movement of a sharing economy, and to navigate that energy—with its associated soul qualities—to all groups of peoples and nations. This leads us to a new interpretation of an emergency programme of resource redistribution and global economic reform, which doesn’t just concern the right distribution of goods and services to prevent the ongoing tragedy of mass starvation or widespread human deprivation. Moreover, it signifies the beginning phase of the release of soul energy across the world, with repercussions that will eventually give new resonances and factual meaning to such words as ‘freedom’, ‘peace’, ‘trust’, ‘love’ and ‘justice’.
Does this help us to tentatively grasp how the United Nations can express the true meaning of education, again not specifically in a formal sense through schooling or institutional agendas, but through the changes that will be brought about in human consciousness from its predestined future role and evolving spiritual purpose? As much as the soul has a spiritual purpose, which is to serve humanity in line with the evolutionary plan, the United Nations has a potential spiritual purpose which is ultimately to affirm and express the reality of the Kingdom of Souls as a visible fact on Earth. The implementation of an emergency redistribution programme will therefore signify that humanity is finally beginning to express an awareness of itself as an interdependent body of incarnate souls, as it were, and in this sense we can view such a program as the inauguration of a new age, or what can be better understood as an Age of the Heart. Let us put it this way: an unsurpassed mobilisation of international effort to ameliorate our civilisational crisis will symbolise the hearts of humanity putting the meaning of a ‘sharing economy’ in its right place, while also symbolising the first stage of putting the United Nations in its right place through the dynamic manifestation of world goodwill. And that initial worldwide outpouring of goodwill may guide humanity to realise the greater meaning of soul purpose and right relationship which, as we have intimated, is to advance the Divine Plan in conscious cooperation with the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet as it externalises outwardly on the physical plane.3
So there are several ways in which the United Nations can uphold the expression of right human relations and, by this means, serve to educate humanity:
- By overseeing the implementation of the principle of sharing in world affairs, bringing about justice and balance in the distribution of resources between nations.
- By providing a global structure or outer vehicle that can enable the spiritual Hierarchy to carry out the Divine Plan in conscious cooperation with humanity for the first time in untold millennia, and hence with unparalleled speed in our planetary evolution.
- By affirming the reality of the Kingdom of Souls on Earth through the demonstration of its spiritual purpose. This can be understood symbolically in terms of the Christ Principle constituting the heart centre of humanity, whereas the head centre is represented by the United Nations’ future activity in all its dimensions.
For all these reasons, however far-fetched or abstruse they may seem at the present time, it is hopefully at least clear that any genuine conception of a sharing economy should be directed from hereon towards the relationship of the United Nations vis-à-vis the rest of the world, with an open mind towards its higher spiritual possibilities as an empowered international organisation. A simple metaphor that may help us in this regard is to think of the energy of Love as being fragmented across this Earth, almost like an immense jigsaw puzzle of universal proportions. And it is up to every nation to solve this planetary puzzle that is as old as humanity itself, for all the nations of the world represent an equally vital and unique piece. The means of putting those pieces back together again are verily simple, involving as it must the cooperative pooling of all the available finances, capacity and surplus resources of the community of nations, in order to address the culminating crises that threaten our continued evolution as a race. As the wealthiest countries begin to genuinely share their resources with the less developed countries and vice versa, and as the idea of an emergency redistribution programme begins to be supported by ordinary citizens in massive and continual demonstrations, then the puzzle that we call Love will be gradually reassembled, step by step and piece by piece. In this manner, perhaps we can envisage the unanticipated importance of the United Nations to this historic transitional period we are undergoing, which will always be remembered as the time when humanity first applied the divine principle of sharing to our most urgent global priorities.
Upon returning our attention to the current world situation, one is liable to question the use of these reflections on the meaning of a new spiritual education, before humanity has experienced anything close to real peace or justice throughout the world. For what kind of all-inclusive education is it possible to achieve about the nature of the One Life that permeates the manifest and unmanifest universe, on a planet that allows millions of people to die in squalor without sufficient help from governments or the public at large? We may well accept, in a theoretical sense, that the implementation of the principle of sharing in world affairs is directly connected to the need for a revitalised United Nations Assembly and, eventually, new educational methods that can enable the Art of Living to unfold. But where do these speculative musings lead us today, if not back to a fundamental realisation that the true education must begin with every privileged person attending to the needs of the vulnerable, the weak and the dispossessed? Always we must return to this central understanding, for if we want to rebuild our house then we must begin from its foundations, and the foundation of our misery in the 21st century is the fact that the shameful reality of avoidable human deprivation is still permitted to endure. Spiritual education per se also means to think clearly for oneself from the heart, so how else can we educate ourselves through the awareness of love at this time, if not to take action to stop the neglect and exploitation of the poor, and finally end this age-old injustice?
There is a remaining question that may occur to some readers concerning the potential of new technologies in changing the world, as the rapid growth of the internet and open source movements can be seen as a sign of humanity’s readiness to share. But let us ask ourselves once more if our modern technological innovations are the true reflection of sharing as a divine principle, if they are not also directed towards improving the lives of everyone who lacks the essentials needed for a dignified and healthy life. We are not suggesting there is anything wrong with the creative impetus towards innovation and progress, except to ask: can we not work on our cutting-edge projects in conjunction with the awareness of love? Given the fact that love, as expressed through a universal and spiritual understanding, is summarised by the underlying question ‘what about the others?’ Seemingly everyone today is preoccupied with the new digital discoveries and endless gadgets, most especially among the younger generations, but we are far from preoccupied with the injustice of poverty that is definitely worsening in most countries (no matter what is reported in the constantly revised and approximated global statistics).
Rest assured that humanity will always be fascinated by its scientific and technological breakthroughs, which will continue whether or not there is rampant injustice throughout the world. Scientific investigation and creative innovation is a natural extension of man’s innate predisposition to explore his own constitution and the environing conditions of the Earth, and gladly shall it ever remain. But a more revelatory line of enquiry involves the question of how technology will change its overall form and direction once the principle of sharing is implemented as an economic process in world affairs, in accordance with our preceding discussion. What will happen if a significant number of humanity embrace the awareness that we are all one in creation, inherently equal and interdependent as a fact of nature, which means we cannot remain psychologically separated as a race any longer?
Surely the whole debate about whether new technology is beneficial or damaging for society will gradually dissolve over time, to be replaced with a prevailing concern for the right sharing of technologies in relation to mankind’s social, economic and spiritual development. The present dilemmas about technology are only relevant to a world in which the hearts of humanity are generally suppressed through complacency, ignorance or indifference, while material desires are dominating the cultural norms and attitudes of the day. It could be said that superficial wants and needs are going through a social revolution throughout our consumer-driven world, which is manifestly an unsustainable and insanely self-destructive world in which a spiritual revolution of the heart is yet to be witnessed, or even conceived of by most ordinary people. Therefore some people enthusiastically welcome the increasing digitalisation of our economies and the relentless manufacture of high-tech goods that purportedly improve the quality of our lives, assuming we have the disposable income to afford them. Meanwhile, others decry the pernicious side-effects of those technologies that entrench the commercialisation of everyday life, and often go hand-in-hand with the erosion of civil liberties and basic human rights. But if the hearts of millions of people were awakened to the critical needs of others, and if the purpose of new technology was reconceived within a world that provides for the basic material and educational needs of everyone, would such a polarised debate last for very long?
The unfortunate victims of present trends are the world’s children and unwary youth, who are an easy target for commercialised forms of technology that can limit an individual’s consciousness to an obsession with the material form, thereby impeding the growth of Self-awareness. Of course, the problem lies not with the existence of modern technology as a medium for social progress, which overall has improved the living standards of the average family in economically advanced nations to a degree that would have been unimaginable before the industrial revolution. The problem, as ever, lies with the consciousness of man who accepts the benefits of those advances for a minority of the world population, sparing little thought for the millions of others whose lives remain untouched by any social improvements through whatever technological means.
So let us query the significance of technology if it is truly used for the common good of all, instead of being co-opted by private interests and steered in an increasingly commercial direction. This may require a considerable leap of the imagination, to see how the problem originates with the interior awareness and motives of any individual who discovers a new technological marvel, and then identifies with the object of their creation. As a result, the lower self or ‘me’ typically overshadows the process of innovation, which causes a new technology to be exploited for personal or material gain instead of being freely shared for the benefit of all. Just as the ‘me’ gets in the way of sharing any individual’s particular innovation that is created with a self-seeking motive, by extension the multinational corporation with its concern for profit maximisation gets in the way of sharing the world’s technology for the uplift and betterment of the entire race. The ability to innovate may have come to humanity as a natural outgrowth of our urge to understand and grow, but it is an instinctive aptitude that was never meant to be monopolised by only the few, or else used as a tool for domination and control.
Thus one has to ask: what is the relationship that exists between the existence of technology and the universal meaning of compassion? For if the right forms of technology were shared with the neediest people across the world, surely it would help so much to restore the health and wellbeing of the impoverished multitudes. Let’s not forget that medicines for AIDS and the many diseases of poverty are part of what we call technology too. Yet the pharmaceutical industries that develop these patented drugs are obviously not driven by a spirit of sharing and the common good, despite using the herbs and plants that are given freely by the earth for everyone to enjoy. Hence one must ask why all the essential drugs and healthcare advances have not been given freely to humanity too, if we can bring ourselves to look at this issue through the awareness of a compassionate attitude to modern life.
These are some of the most preliminary considerations before trying to understand the future role of technology in a world that has long established a sharing economy, where all persons are able to enjoy the same rights, opportunities, and fundamental freedoms. At such a time and not before, we may begin to foresee the higher purpose of technology that advances in synchronicity with the spiritual evolution of mankind, whereby the rapid unfoldment of scientific knowledge is intrinsically linked to the rapid expansion of human consciousness. We are currently witnessing the merest intimations of these future possibilities with the rise of robots and automation, leading to much anxiety about the prospect of pervasive unemployment and spiralling inequalities when the fruits of machine-produced wealth are not equitably shared. Hence the difficulty in contemplating a more egalitarian and peaceful world in the approaching time, when an age of super-machines serves to liberate mankind to contemplate and study the reality of the inner Self, and ultimately give every individual the space and freedom to pursue the Art of Being or Self-realisation.
Here we must return to the discussion on the necessity of introducing a new type of education, which will progressively call for the introduction of spiritually-oriented schools that are geared towards studying the Ageless Wisdom teachings and the Science of the Soul. Much more has been written on this subject in the aforementioned writings of Alice Bailey and others, and it lies outside the scope of our present discussion, except to note a further link between the new education and future technologies that is rooted in the awakening of man’s spiritual nature. The fact is that as new forces and energies flood the world, technology has a great role to play in speeding up the evolution of human consciousness. Yet most contemporary writers on this subject are unaware of the deeper spiritual meaning and import of technological progress, which can never be comprehended, in all simplicity, through a concrete analysis of the transitory material forms.
The esoteric significance of technology is embedded in the phrase ‘mind over matter’, which concerns the ability of man to control his environment and unlock the hidden potentialities of nature by working in harmony with presently unseen and scientifically unknown evolutionary forces. Our partial unravelling of the mystery of electricity, for example, is a small indication of the undreamt of powers inherent in the universe that man can utilise when his attitudes are oriented towards the service of the race, and his motives are predominantly defined by an inclusiveness that is unhindered by commercial, nationalistic or self-seeking objectives. The reader may already know that the invention of the telephone symbolises man’s innate ability to telepathise; correspondingly, the invention of the internet symbolises the awareness of the One World or omniscient consciousness that is the due inheritance of the Self-realised Adept.
Our future technological developments will accelerate beyond all measure when man discovers his latent capacity to control the outer life of form through the inner faculties of his directed mind, which may one day result in the scientific discovery of the existence of the soul. When the evolution of technology finally moves in line with an awareness of the Plan for humanity’s spiritual evolution, we may also witness how technology provides the complex logistical solutions required for an advanced system of barter to be facilitated worldwide, as per our earlier reflections. Overall, these comments are merely intended to help us grasp how our conceptualisations are severely limited by our present lack of understanding of divine purpose and the higher laws which condition all phenomena. For the expansion of technology is forever intertwined with the expansion of human consciousness—and neither can proceed in its correct path until the entrenched social, political, economic, psychological and spiritual divisions of the modern world are on course to being reversed.
Whether or not we are able to tune with these introductory reflections about the inner and holistic meaning of a sharing economy, it is hoped that the reader is at least convinced of the paramount importance of implementing the principle of sharing into world affairs. The more that technology is shared, for example, the more our understanding can grow of what technology can achieve as a beneficent tool for mankind’s spiritual evolution. And the more that humanity calls for the sharing of global resources to end the economic insecurity and exploitation of the mass population, the more our awareness will grow of what the sharing economy means in its most far-reaching forms and modes of expression.
What is most important of all to realise for those who promote a sharing economy in its presently limited forms, is that we are putting the cart before the horse if we believe that a community vision of sharing is a lasting solution to humanity’s problems, before millions of people have arisen in peaceful protest for governments to share the world’s resources along the lines indicated above. Are we yet convinced that the localised methods of sharing will only burgeon and become all-inclusive, once a sharing economy is at the definitive stage of being implemented as a global process? When the richest nations are genuinely sharing their wealth and resources with the least developed world regions, and when the wider public is directing the idea of economic sharing from the heart to where it most belongs—that is when the practice of sharing on a community-led basis will blossom beyond our wildest dreams. For then the whole world will be involved, including the several billion people whose basic rights to life and liberty were unfulfilled beforehand. And then the awareness of the heart will be awakened and released among a vast swathe of ordinary global citizens, leading to results that we have never witnessed on this Earth with all their inwardly and outwardly transformative implications—an outpouring of joy and goodwill, a perceivable lessening of stress and tension worldwide, a newfound sense of trust and hope among the rich and poor alike…
Put simply, the climaxing world situation is impelling us to place the needs of the world and the poor first, not our pockets or our self-centred personal interests. Otherwise, our idea of sharing on a community level will inevitably flounder in the wake of mounting trends towards an ever more divided, commercialised and indifferent world. We will be like the politician who promises a better society to a largely passive electorate, which may indeed seem real and honest at the time, until those promises evaporate within a newly elected government bound by the dictates of corporate hegemony. We will be like the politician who promises a better society to a largely passive electorate, which may indeed seem real and honest at the time, but whose promises evaporate as soon as they are elected to a government bound by the dictates of corporate hegemony. In the same way, what can come of a sharing economy vision that is confined in its expression to the relatively few affluent people in a wholly profit-oriented and materialistic culture? And when the only significant kind of sharing that is enacted on a global and political level among allied governments—relative to the constraints of realpolitik—is the sharing of armaments, information and covert intelligence?
We have emphasised how the sharing economy concerns the navigation of energy to its right place, from the physical essentials of food, finance and other basic material resources, to the intangible qualities of empathy and awareness that must be expanded to encompass the good of the whole if we are to successfully inaugurate a sustainable civilisation. And we have reasoned that the rampant energies (or rather, the combined and malefic forces) of commercialisation work against this hoped-for eventuality, where the sharing economy idea is understood inclusively and holistically as the means to create balance on this Earth and right human relations. Hence the very phrase ‘sharing economy’ has been misunderstood and misplaced, and it has inevitably fallen into the wrong hands. Even many of those sharing proponents with the best intentions have failed to realise the devious power of the forces of commercialisation, which on this issue is like a cat who plays with a mouse it has caught, before slowly devouring it bit by bit.
A transformative vision of the sharing economy can therefore go nowhere without the engaged heart to sustain it and the intelligent mind to structure its expression in society. In the absence of which, we see how quickly the idea of sharing can be degraded into profitmaking and business activity. But when the heart centre of humanity is visibly engaged, when we together call for a just redistribution of resources to save our needlessly dying brethren, then we will see how the true sharing economy will suddenly begin to speak for itself, and for the very first time. Can you recall how happy people were the world over when President Obama was initially elected to office, at least in those early days of expectation that American foreign policies would be dramatically redirected from the pursuit of imperial domination? Then be assured that the day governments commit to sharing the world’s resources will bring about a joy amongst humanity that will be many, many times more powerful and real. For there is another tsunami that we have yet to experience in its fullest measure, one that is beneficent and not malefic as a physical force—and that is a tsunami of love. A force so great that when it hits you, it will bring you down upon your knees. A force that will lift you up in your varied endeavours with a new kind of energy, a new kind of clarity, a new kind of creativity and strength. It is a force that all the sharing economy advocates should look towards and embrace, for it will be backed by millions upon millions of other adherents within every country, from the wealthiest suburbs to the poorest shantytowns that contain a wellspring of hope for transforming our world.
Perhaps the serious reader still seeks some pragmatic words of advice in these closing remarks, for whose purpose the following sentiments are offered. The author acknowledges the immense difficulty in creating a worldwide movement for a true sharing economy, as long as the word ‘sharing’ has not entered the vocabulary or imaginations of the bulk of progressive activists. So for the time being, we must do what we can by joining the existing movements for freedom and justice in their various expressions, many of which stem from the problem of unequal wealth and resource distribution as we acknowledged before. At the same time, we should also dig deeper into our understanding of sharing and cooperation in holistic terms, and contemplate the transformative potential of these universal principles when applied to the interconnecting crises facing humanity. Let not the political idea of sharing remain an intellectual concept, when the world needs this principle to be implemented as an economic process between nations if humanity is to survive, for the growing gap between the haves and have-nots contains within it the seeds of our own destruction. Thus it is critical that the sharing economy idea is expanded globally in our thinking and endeavours, most especially towards the marginalised and underprivileged—which is the oft recurring premise of our enquiry above.
We may repeat until we are hoarse that the true meaning of a sharing economy is only to be found in relation to the world’s impoverished majority, although it means little unless that awareness is translated into lively discussions and actions that are focused on ending extreme deprivation within an immediate time frame. There is nothing to stop us from getting engaged in those ongoing debates, or to form groups of sharing economy advocates that are concerned with expanding this creative concept into a new frontier. We have already spelled out what must be done, which is to press our governments to share their surplus resources through the United Nations and its relevant agencies, in order to finally bring about that long-held aspiration of world leaders to achieve freedom from want for all peoples everywhere. So by all means, let’s carry on with our community-oriented activities that embody the principle of sharing in some measure. But can we not also reverse the direction of those activities at least once a week, and urge our political representatives to employ a sharing economy for the hungry and destitute, both at home and further abroad?
Consider the number of people who are already engaged with the various sharing economy ideas and initiatives, as generally understood and applied within the predominantly affluent parts of Western society. What is to stop those well-meaning groups from uniting with a single demand on a monthly basis, and petitioning their governments to redistribute the nation’s surplus produce towards this honourable and uplifting cause of irrevocably ending hunger and absolute poverty? The longer we fail to pursue such a simple course of action, the more our idea of sharing will reveal itself to have no soul, no purpose, and no future with any meaning. What purpose is it all for, anyway, if we only attach our ideas of prosperity and sharing to our own particular community, culture or nation? In a world that is increasingly divided in two between those who have more than enough and those who have nothing at all, our ideas will eventually become inhuman and destined to collapse, unless we think about the needs of others too!
It may be misconstrued that saving the poor and starving masses is the only reason for implementing the principle of sharing into world affairs, which is actually far from the case. What we are most concerned with is the need to bring awareness, love and common sense to our everyday thinking and actions, and it happens that our prevalent lack of thinking about the welfare of others is what most overtly demonstrates the absence of these suppressed human attributes. We need to ask ourselves why we are interested in saving those who are needlessly dying from poverty-related causes, if we don’t consider them equal to ourselves with a divine right to spiritually evolve. Is that not the reason, above all reasons, why we can no longer allow any person to die as a result of our collective indifference, when there is more than enough food and other resources available for everyone in the world? By the same token, it is erroneous to believe that the United Nations is ultimately the greatest hope we have for healing, repairing and transforming the world, when the only real hope lies in awakening the spiritual heart centre of humanity as a whole. How else are the necessary changes going to be brought about, without the awareness and compassion that leads to the correct motivations for navigating energy to its rightful place? Please meditate and reflect over this last rhetorical question, and it may reveal much about how we can personally be of use to the great work of planetary renewal that lies ahead.
- See in particular: Education in the New Age, Lucis Press Ltd, 1954; Letters on Occult Meditation, Letter IX, Lucis Publishing Company, 1922; The Unfinished Autobiography, Appendixes, Lucis Publishing Company, 1951. [↩]
- Editor’s note: In this context, the author’s conception of ‘inner space’ can be understood in terms of the time and economic means, as well as the social support and cultivated interest that is necessary for the average person to dedicate themselves to serious practice of the Art of Living. This has immense implications for our present modes of education and public systems of social service provision and social protection, as alluded to throughout the present study. [↩]
- The spiritual Heirarchy is the aggregate of those members of humanity who have, through self-mastery, achieved mastery within the whole field of human evolution. Known as the Masters of the Wisdom, the senior members of the Heirarchy are the custodians of the Divine Plan for this planet, working from behind the scenes through their disciples in every major field of world work: political, religious, educational, scientific, philosophical, psychological and economic. The outstanding and dramatic feature of Hierarchical action in the present era is the preparation now under way for its return to outer plane activity. The emergence of a new kingdom in nature, the fifth kingdom or Kingdom of Souls, is precipitating on Earth at this time, and will distinguish a new age for humanity as various Ashrams of the Masters are externalised and become publicly known. To learn more about the nature and work of our planetary Hierarchy, see in particular the following works by the Master D.K. written through Alice Bailey and published by the Lucis Trust: Initiation, Human and Solar, 1922; The Reappearance of the Christ, 1948; The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, 1957. [↩]