By Neale Donald Walsch.
Could we ever even get close to anything like this?
My very patient, very brave cohorts…
Now as you know, I’ve said that none of the ideas here are mine. All of them were inspired by God and were — how can I put this…? — given to me in the Conversations with God dialogues. The tool of beingness was one of the most impactful among them. I wondered, as I thought about how this concept might be overlaid on our global life, what it might ask of us. For instance, would beingness require a redistribution of wealth?
No sooner did my mind formulate the question than it received a reply.
“It would require nothing. It would produce, voluntarily and quite automatically, a redistribution of resources.
“All people would be offered a proper education, for instance. All people would be offered open opportunity to use that education in the workplace — to follow a career which brings them joy.
“All people would be guaranteed access to health care whenever and however needed.
“All people would be guaranteed they won’t starve to death, or have to live without sufficient clothing or adequate shelter.
“All people would be granted the basic dignities of life, so that survival would never again be the issue; so that simple comforts and basic dignities were provided all human beings.”
So this is how life would “be” if we chose to “be” compassionate and caring, generous and loving—and One with All People. But what if some folks did nothing to earn these things?, I asked.
“Your thought that these things need to be earned is the basis for your thought that you have to earn you way to heaven,” came the reply.
“Yet you cannot earn your way into God’s good graces, and you do not have to, because you are already there. This is something you cannot accept, because it is something you cannot give. When you learn to give unconditionally (which is to say, love unconditionally), then will you learn to receive unconditionally.
“This life was created as a vehicle through which you might be allowed to experience that.
“Try to wrap yourself around this thought: People have a right to basic survival.” Of course! If we are “being” One with all other humans, we would see that there could be no reason for people not to have the same right to survive that we assume for ourselves.
Yet there is a logistical problem here. Basic survival depends upon having the means to survive—and in an economy-driven world that requires a job, or some other manner of receiving income. Because without sufficient income, you’re s.o.l. (Sure Out of Luck).
For example, you must certainly know that the food problem in the world today is not that there is not enough of it to go around, but that people can’t pay for it.
This is the planet we’re living on today. We are requiring people to pay for their survival—and if they can’t do it, we let them die.
Why not a world in which we guarantee people’s basic survival?
Couldn’t we, as a caring society, offer that from our hearts?
I guess I’m just an old guy, still inspired by the words of the inaugural address delivered in 1961 by newly elected American president John F. Kennedy…
“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
Ideas that provoke discussion
The problem of finding work enough for everyone seems simple enough to solve. Ask half of the working population to embrace early retirement. Offer them financial and quality-of-life inducements to do so. There would then be plenty of jobs for everyone else age 18 and up.
(By the way, companies use this tool all the time when it produces economic advantage. Could it not be done to produce cultural advantage?)
But what would happen to the “45-and-overs”? They would receive income for life from the World Citizens Fund. Money would be put into the fund by working people, who would each be taxed the exact same amount, 10%.
There would be no evasion of this flat tax by anyone, first because everyone would think it was fair, and second, because each year newspapers and websites throughout the world would publish names of citizens within each community who chose not to pay the tax.
The “retired” folks, most with 25 years or more left in their prime, would contribute to their community and the world at large from their passions and their creativity and their skills, able—with their support until death no longer a worry—to offer all of their expertise freely and use all of their talents joyfully, enriching society unimaginably in the bargain.
This is just one simple (some might even say silly) idea. The larger point is that our species in the years ahead is going to be invited to decide what it wants to be.
Does it want to be a species within which the well-being of each of its members is held in the heart to be the joint responsibility of the collective as a whole? Or does it wish to be an every-man-for-himself species?
The first notion would not get much traction unless the society embraced the concept and announced: “We are all One.”
The Conversations with God dialogue touched on a lot of this in Book 2. Here there is an interesting exchange in which I was pursuing the idea of everyone being taken care of by the community at large.
I asked, should all people have at least their survival needs met, even if they do nothing? I received an immediate response:
“Even if they do nothing. Even if they contribute nothing. Survival with dignity is one of the basic Rights of Life. I have given you enough resources to be able to guarantee that to everyone. All you have to do is share.”
Being a pragmatist I wanted to know what would stop people from then simply wasting their lives, lollygagging around, collecting “benefits.” God’s reply:
“First of all, it is not yours to judge what is a life wasted. Is a life wasted if a person does nothing but lie around thinking of poetry for 70 years, then comes up with a single sonnet which opens a door of understanding and insight for thousands of people? Is a life wasted if a person lies, cheats, schemes, damages, manipulates and hurts others all his life, but then learns from it — learns, herpahs, something he has been spending lifetimes trying to learn — and thus evolves, at last, to the Next Level? Is that life “wasted?”
“It is not for you to judge the journey of another’s Soul. It is for you to decide who you are, not who another has been, or has failed to be.
“So, you ask what would stop people from simply wasting their lives, lollygagging around, collecting ‘benefits’, and the answer is: nothing.”
But wouldn’t those who are contributing wouldn’t begin to resent those who are not?, I wanted to know.
“Yes, they would,” came the reply, “if they are not enlightened. Yet Enlightened Ones would look upon the non-contributors with great compassion, not resentment.”
“Yes, because the Contributors would realize that non-contributors are missing the greatest opportunity and the grandest glory: the opportunity to create, and the glory of experiencing, the Highest Idea of Who They Really Are. And the Contributors would know that this was punishment enough for their laziness, if, indeed, punishment was required—which it is not.”
I won’t let go of an argument, of course (as those who know me will attest), so I found myself saying, “But wouldn’t those who are really contributing be angry to have the fruits of their labor taken from them and given to the lazy ones?” The response was fascinating.
“First, nothing would be taken from them, because nothing would be given to them until all had been guaranteed minimal survival portions.” In other words, a general tax for the welfare of all would first be deducted from earnings, just as it is today.
The difference is that under a New Cultural Story people would not see this as “taking from the rich and giving to the poor,” or as “their” work supporting others, but, rather, as the natural process that spontaneously emerges from a just and caring society. In such a society people would automatically think, “Of course we make sure that everyone can stay alive before we allow human beings to die while we worry about what luxuries we can afford.”
Some people might still say, “Hey, we need a vacuum cleaner for each floor of the house—so our housekeeper doesn’t have carry one up and down, don’t you see. I’m mean, they’re heavy…” But most folks in a just and caring society would not let other people die of starvation while they purchased luxuries.
Yet, you might think, even with basic needs of all being met, we would still have the “rich” and the “poor,” just as we do today. That is true, but there would be, under such a New Cultural Story, equal opportunity. Everyone would have the opportunity to live a basic existence, without worries of survival. And everyone would likewise have an opportunity to have more; to acquire the knowledge, develop the skills, and use their natural talents in the marketplace in such a way that their income increases.
And the responsibility (I should really say the “nature desire”) to support such a system that would emerge from a New Cultural Story would be shared equally by all, rather than disproportionately by all. There would be no income tax of any kind. People will voluntarily tithe 10 percent of their income to what might be called a Fund for All.
If we tried to do this today this would have to take the form of a so-called flat tax, because most of us are not sufficiently enlightened to see that voluntary deduction for the general good of all is in our best interest.
Yet when the shift in consciousness I have been describing occurs, such an open, caring, freely offered deduction from our harvest will be seen by us as simply appropriate. We will know the appropriate thing to do, and we will do it.
Such a completely voluntary tithe would be part of the “equal opportunity” offered by the New Cultural Story, offering all an equal opportunity to create a society that is just and caring.
The new story that would inculcate such a desire in people from their earliest years of childhood would be a story that teaches “We are all One,” rather than “Survival of the Fittest.” It would bring children the messages that “what I do for others, I do for me—and what I fail to do for others, I fail to do for me. This is true for the simple reason that there is only One of Us. We are the Same Essence, in multiple form.”
Our schools would have to adopt an entirely new curriculum, of course, in order for such a concept to find a place in what we teach children.
(You may be interested to know that, while we await such a wholesale change in the curricula in our schools, individual home schooling lessons have already been developed, with age-appropriate language and concepts, by The School of the New Spirituality.)
Greatness trumps laziness every time
Right about now you may be thinking, But what will guarantee that there would be enough Contributors to “carry” the non-contributors? The answer is, the greatness of the human spirit.
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, the average person will not be satisfied with living at subsistence levels, and having nothing more. Certainly most of those raised within the New Cultural Story will not. A few will, but not most. In addition, all of the incentives in life will change when the second paradigm shift—the spiritual shift—takes place.
I haven’t talked about this yet. We took a look here a bit ago at the first paradigm shift—the movement from a dyad to a triad in our experience of civil life—but we still have on our agenda the exploration of that same movement from dyad to triad in the experience of our spiritual life. We’re going to take that up in our next conversation.
What would cause such a shift? It hasn’t occurred already in the two thousand year history—actually, two billion year history—of the planet. Why should it occur now?
Because with the shift away from material survival (which will occur with the elimination of the need to “succeed” by someone else’s standards in order to acquire even basic necessities) there will be no other reason to achieve, to stand out, to become magnificent, save the reason we all came to physicality to begin with—to experience magnificence itself. That will be sufficient motivation for almost any person, for we each have embedded within our DNA a natural impulse to greatness not for the simple sake of being “great,” but for the purpose of experiencing divinity—which is why we are here.
Whether we follow that impulse depends on our upbringing, but whether we have it does not. And children brought up within the New Cultural Story will feel and follow that impulse with excitement—for part of that new story will be a very clear description of who we really are and why we are here. The children of tomorrow will not be living our case of mistaken identity.
Is it possible to have ‘more than enough’?
Now there is one more radical shift in how we may wish to “do life” that was proposed in that second volume of Conversations with God, and it’s pretty radical (although by no means new), so we may want to take a look at it here before we close, if only for the stimulation of it…
I was told in that dialogue that under the new system we’ve been exploring for human society, everyone would earn as much each year as they could—up to a certain limit.
What limit? An arbitrary limit, agreed to by the people.
Anything above that limit would be tithed to a World Charitable Trust in the name of the Contributor, so all the world would know its benefactors. Those benefactors would have the option of direct control over the disbursement of 50 percent of their tithe, providing them the satisfaction of putting their money exactly where they want it to go. The other 50 percent would be allocated to programs selected by those chosen by the people through popular election to do so.
Of course, a universal cap on income is, as I just said, not a new idea. And it has raised many questions among all thinking people. For instance, if folks knew that all earnings above a certain amount everything would be taken from them, what would be their incentive to keep working? Why wouldn’t they just stop in mid-stream once they reached their income limit?
The radical answer I got in the dialogue was: “Some would. So what? Let them stop. Mandatory work above the income limit, with contributions to the World Charitable Trust, would not be required.
“The money saved from the elimination of mass production of weapons of war would be sufficient to supply everyone’s basic need. The 10% tax of all that is earned worldwide on top of those savings would elevate all of society, not just the chosen few, to a new level of dignity and abundance. And the contribution of earnings above the agreed upon limit (non-profits could still ask for support) would produce such widespread opportunity and satisfaction for everyone that jealousy and social anger would virtually disintegrate.
“So some would stop working—especially those who saw their life activity as real work. Yet those who saw their activity as absolute joy would never stop.”
Not everyone can have a job like that, I said. But God replied:
“Untrue. Everyone can. Joy at the work place has nothing to do with function, and everything to do with purpose.
“The mother who wakes up at 4 o’clock in the morning to change her baby’s diaper understands this perfectly. She hums and coos to the baby, and for all the world it doesn’t look like what she is doing is any work at all. Yet it is her attitude about what she is doing, it is her intention with regard to it, it is her purpose in undertaking this activity, which make the activity a true joy.”
Then God said something caught my ear.
“The love of a mother for her child is as close as you may be able to come to understanding some of the concepts of which I am speaking.”
Okay, so I was now being introduced to Unconditional Love as a concept in human social interaction and in humanity’s economic, political, and cultural constructions. Add this to the beingness program and you have a planet full of sentient beings being unconditional love.
But I still could not see the purpose of eliminating limitless earning potential. Wouldn’t that rob the human experience of one of its greatest opportunities; one of its most glorious adventures?
No, said God. “You would still have the opportunity and the adventure of earning a ridiculous amount of money. The upper limit on retainable income could be very high — more than the average person . . . the average ten people . . . would ever need. And the amount of income you could earn would not be limited—simply the amount you would retain for personal use. The remainder—everything, say, over $25 million a year (I use a strictly arbitrary figure to make a point)—would be spent for programs and services benefitting all humankind.
As to the reason—the why of it—I was told that…
“The upper personal income limit would be a reflection of a consciousness shift on the planet; an awareness that the highest purpose of life is not the accumulation of the greatest wealth, but the doing of the greatest good—and a corollary awareness that, indeed, the concentration of wealth, not the sharing of it, is the largest single factor in the creation of the world’s most persistent and striking political and social dilemmas.”
In other words, gathering and sharing the wealth could not possibly produce the amount of human misery as gathering and hoarding the wealth has done.
Dismantling the greatest system ever?
Yet there are those who sincerely believe that the opportunity to amass wealth— unlimited wealth—stands at the cornerstone of a system of free enterprise and open competition that has produced the greatest society the world has ever known. What can be said to them?
Well, I would say what I was told in the CWG dialogue; that those who believe this are terribly deluded, and see nothing of the current reality on our planet. The interview with Dr. Pogge pointed to that reality in very clear terms.
I’ll add to that here: In the United States, the top one and a half percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The net worth of the richest 834,000 people is nearly a trillion dollars greater than the poorest 84 million people combined.
So? They’ve worked for it, a person could say.
You see, many Americans tend to see class status as a function of individual effort. Some have “made good,” so they assume that anybody can.
That view is simplistic and naive. It assumes that everyone has equal opportunity, when in fact, in America just as in other parts of the world, the rich and powerful strive to hold onto their money and their power, and to increase it.
What’s wrong with that? Well, it’s that they do so by systematically eliminating competition, by institutionally minimizing true opportunity, and by collectively controlling the flow and the growth of wealth.
This they accomplish through all manner of devices, from unfair labor practices that exploit the masses of the world’s poor, to good-old-boy network competitive practices which minimize (and all but destroy) a newcomer’s chances of entering the circle of successful companies.
They then seek to control public policy and governmental programs around the world to further ensure that the masses of people remain regulated, controlled and subservient.
This is the point that Dr. Pogge made about exactly what is happening right now, and this is what Rudolph Steiner predicted 100 years ago would happen if the three spheres of human activity were not balanced, but rather, dominated by the economic sector.
Now it’s important to make a point here, lest this portion of my conversation with you here start to come off like a “rant” against the rich. It is not. I am among those who are personally wealthy. So I have a little experience with this business of being a person who is doing well.
I also know a lot of other people who are doing well. And here’s what I understand. In most cases it isn’t rich individuals who create the untenable and unjust situation I’ve just described. It’s the social systems and institutions they represent.
Those systems and institutions were created by the rich and powerful—that includes me—and it is the rich and powerful who continue to support them. That does not include me.
By standing behind such social systems and institutions, individuals, without really thinking about it, are unconsciously washing their hands of any personal responsibility for the conditions which oppress the masses.
To offer just one example, millions of America’s poor have no access to preventive medical care. One cannot point to any individual doctor and say “this is your doing; it’s your fault” that in the richest nation on earth, millions can’t get in to see a physician unless they’re in dire straits in an emergency room.
No individual doctor is to blame for that, yet all doctors benefit. The entire medical profession—and every allied industry—enjoys unprecedented profits from a delivery system which has institutionalized discrimination against the working poor and the unemployed.
And that’s just one example of how the “system” keeps the rich rich and the poor poor. The point is that it is segments of the rich and powerful who most often support such social structures, and who most often staunchly resist any effort to change them. Many people in this category (but certainly not all) stand against any political or economic approach which seeks to provide true opportunity and genuine dignity to all people.
Most of the rich and powerful, taken individually, are certainly nice enough people, with as much compassion and sympathy as anyone. But mention a concept as threatening to them as yearly income limits (even ridiculously high limits, such as $25 million annually), and a surprising number of them start whining about usurpation of individual rights, erosion of the “American way,” and “lost incentives.”
They declare that it’s an infringement of freedom. So in the name of freedom they keep poor people in virtual slavery to an economic system in which the poor are “free” to barely survive.
Yet what about the right of all people to live in minimally decent surroundings, with enough food to keep from starving, enough clothing to stay warm?
What about the right of people everywhere to have adequate health care—the right not to have to suffer or die from relatively minor medical complications that those with money overcome with the snap of a finger?
The resources of our planet—including the fruits of the labors of the masses of the indescribably poor who are continually and systematically exploited—belong to all the world’s people, not just those who are rich and powerful enough to do the exploiting.
And here is how the exploitation works: Our rich industrialists go into a country or an area where there is no work at all, where the people are destitute, where there is abject poverty. The rich hire a local company to set up a factory there, and the local company offers those poor people jobs—sometimes 10, 12 and 14-hour-a-day jobs—at substandard, if not to say subhuman, wages. Not enough mind you, to allow those workers to escape crowded and tattered villages, but just enough to let them live that way, as opposed to having no food or shelter at all.
And when they are called on it, some companies say (but not out loud), “Hey, they’ve got it better than before, don’t they? We’ve improved their lot! The people are taking the jobs, aren’t they? Why, we’ve brought them opportunity! And we’re taking all the risk!”
Yet how much risk is there in paying people $1.25 an hour to manufacture products that are selling for many hundreds of dollars?
Is this risk-taking, or exploitation, pure and simple?
Such a system of rank obscenity could only exist in a world motivated by greed, where profit margin, not human dignity, is the first consideration. Those who say that “relative to the standards in their society, those peasants are doing wonderfully!” are hypocrites of the first order. They would throw a drowning man a rope, but refuse to pull him to shore. Then they would brag that a rope is better than a rock.
It sure feels to me that you’re biased against the rich, and opposed, as well, to the free enterprise system. It almost feels like you’re making stuff up.
(This is another actual exchange I had on talk radio.)
Do you really think I’m doing that?
Well, at the very least you’re exaggerating. You’re exaggerating to make a point.
I doesn’t feel to me as though I am. I’ve seen press reports and news items all over the Internet from a dozen different blogs and sources about Apple, Inc.
Apple’s own audits found labor, safety and other abuses by its suppliers in 2010, including 91 under-aged workers and involuntary or debt-bonded labor among other abuses found in audits of 127 production facilities.
The worst part about this: Apple allegedly tried to cover it up. It allegedly sought to keep details of its production difficulties a secret. These facts might never have come to light in any event, had it not been for a string of suicides at factories in China where iPhones and other devices are assembled.
My friend, I don’t think this case is the exception. I think this kind of thing is happening all over the place.
I don’t know. It feels like the media is not the most reliable source. I don’t believe half of what I read in the papers or see on the news.
Yet the blogs and the TV news shows and the newspapers were all quoting Apple’s own internal report.
(At this point the talk show host cut in, saying that it seemed that the caller and I disagreed, and she went on with her show.)
These are starters, not enders
Okay, we’ve said some pretty edgy things here. If you’re still with me, I know that at least you have an open mind. In the dialogue books I remember getting a little nervous about how this kind of talk, how these ideas, would go over in the larger world. Then I got a message that totally erased any unease I was feeling. That message:
“The guidance you are getting is to follow your heart. Listen to your Soul. Hear your Self. Even when I present you with an option, an idea, a point of view, you are under no obligation to accept that as your own. If you disagree, then disagree. That is the whole point of this exercise.”
“So…are there some answers to these purely political questions that you do not like? Then change them. Do it. Now. Before you start hearing them as gospel. Before you start making them real. Before you start calling your last thought about something more important, more valid, more True than your next thought.”
That was a very important thing that was just said there, and I knew it when I heard it. I realized that this is exactly how our Old Cultural Story got to be so engrained, so powerful in our lives. We kept thinking that our last thought was our best. But I was told in the dialogue, “Remember, it’s always your new thought that creates your reality. Always.”
So please remember, the thoughts presented here are conversation starters, not conversation enders. This is just a place from which to begin a lively and vital dialogue. This is “the floor is now open,” this is not “the discussion is closed.”
Now while I obviously endorse the ideas offered here , I know that there are many people who do not. And there are some people in our world who will go to the opposite extreme. They think nothing of a socio-economic system that rewards a corporate executive with a 70 million dollar bonus for increasing sales of a soft drink, while 70 million people can’t afford the luxury of drinking the stuff. This is called, they will tell you, the world’s Free Market Economy, and that’s just how it works.
And you know what? That is how it works in a society whose engine is driven largely by economics, as ours is (for now). Yet I find this bit of writing striking…
“If thou willt be perfect,
go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor,
and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.”
But when the young man heard this,
he went away, sorrowful,
for he had great possessions.
— The Gospel according to Mark
10 Nov 2015.
© Neale Donald Walsch.
The Storm Before the Calm: Book 1 in the Conversations with Humanity Series – by Neale Donald Walsch. Paperback published 1 October 2011, Emnin Books, Oregon, USA; ISBN-13: 978-1401936921