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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/22/11

A Conscious plea from a kindred spirit

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Message Joan Marques
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An appeal to you
An appeal to you
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Normal>Dear reader,


This article is an appeal to you. It is a macro view on connection: our connection -- with all else on planet earth. Now, this may sound ethereal to sober corporate workers, or cliche' to those of you who heard similar statements before. But the message will soon become clearer.


As I was preparing this piece, I viewed a controversial documentary on You-Tube, titled Zeitgeist. The various episodes of this documentary focus on a single issue: our current civilization. And that is also the angle from which I would like to approach my macro-view of "from me to we" here.


Here is something to start with: Every 5 seconds, 1 child dies in this world, due to hunger and malnutrition. Every 5 seconds. If you take about 10 minutes to read this, that means that 120 children will have starved to death by then: 120 lives that could have been saved. We speak of interconnectedness, but the question always remains: how much and how deeply do we really care?

It is easy to say: I am just little me -- one entity in a huge world, and not the richest of the bunch either. So why should I be held responsible? But you see, that is what interconnectedness is all about: we are all responsible, because there is a relationship between everything. Our global society has always functioned according to a principle of cause and effect, and will always do so.


Unfortunately, this cause and effect principle has not been implemented very well so far, because:

  • The richest 10 % own 85 % of the global assets and the bottom half of the world adult population owns barely 1% of global wealth.
  • Today, the total income of the richest 25 million Americans is equal to total income of almost 2 billion people.
  • Twenty-nine of the world's 100 largest economic entities are corporations:
  • Exxon Mobil, with a "value added" worth of $63 billion, is bigger in economic size than Pakistan.
  • General Motors, worth $56 billion, outpaces both Peru and New Zealand.
  • Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler, with value added of over $42 billion, are both larger than Nigeria, which is worth just $41 billion.
  • Kuwait, at $38 billion, is outranked by General Electric.
  • Honda, Nissan and Toshiba all have more value than Syria.
  • This piece of today's reality can lead to a dual perspective:
  • On one hand it demonstrates the power of business in the world. Governments and non-governmental organizations cannot go where businesses can. Businesses are known to bring development and progress, so they are generally embraced.
  • On the other hand it also shows that the inequality in the world is now more shocking than ever before. In 2008, The World Development Report stated that almost half the world's population, 2.1 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. A 2008 World Bank report stated that at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day -- so less than $300.00 month.
  • The problem is deeper than we dare, want, or consider thinking about. It is structural, and it actually would require much more of a change than we are willing to make. One of the things we prefer to ignore is the link between the degree of violence, the overpopulated prisons we have today, and" money! We have come to accept money as a given in our lives, but if we look at the few communities in the world where money is not the ruler, we come to an amazing discovery, which Dr. James Gilligan, Former Director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School states as follows:


    "Violence is not universal. It is not symmetrically distributed throughout the human race. There is huge variation in the amount of violence in different societies. There are some societies that have virtually no violence. There are others that destroy themselves. [".]


    In the Kibbutzim in Israel the level of violence is so low that the criminal courts there will often send violent offenders, people who have committed crimes, to live on the Kibbutzim in order to learn how to live a non-violent life" because that's the way people live there."   [1]


    We were taught that violence is genetically transferred, but it seems now that this "genetic" argument is simply a smart way of distracting us from the real problem, which is the system we are subject to:

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    Joan Marques is the author of "Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Every Day" (Personhood Press, 2010), and co-editor of "The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives in Research and Practice" (Skylight Paths, 2009), an (more...)
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