Peace, security and prosperity.
The interrelated, mutual dependence of these three factors is the essence of The Path, and we must understand those relationships in some depth if we are to avoid the navigation problems of our past. Tackled independently from each other none of them is attainable, but pursued with a fundamentally integrated vision all of them are achievable.
- Peace allows us to focus our efforts and resources on the real problems.
- Mutual, universal security allows everyone to move beyond survival to become active and voluntary participants in building the Path.
- Prosperity is the incentive that draws people to the Path, and it is the reward returned to everyone for building it.
These three premises are inextricably linked, and vital to each other’s success.
A context that helps to frame the situation we find ourselves in today arose in the last century with the dawn of the nuclear age, when we ushered in that most human of innovations: Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD for short. In so doing, we helped to set the groundwork for where we are today: MADDER (Mutually Assured Displacement and Destruction by Environmental Reduction).
Whereas MAD left our fate resting on the decisions and actions of a very few military and political leaders, not going MADDER depends on the decisions and actions of the vast majority of our planet’s inhabitants. This necessity for hundreds of billions of decisions drives the course of the Path at every turn. If the Path does not provide for every citizen, every community, every nation, and every continent to join in and travel the same route, it will not lead us to our desired destination. It will only leave us madder.
To get everyone involved, the Path must offer everyone the opportunity to participate in the journey and the destination. The peace, security and prosperity that are the features of the Path must be available to, and attainable by, everyone. I’m sure that peace, security and prosperity are already most people’s goals in life, so it is not their desirability but their attainability that is the issue.
This is a very important element that is worth sitting with a while. Any solution, strategy or plan that does not account for the need to motivate and incorporate the vast majority of the world’s population into the processes cannot succeed. Good ideas that serve a minority will not result in the level of change necessary to mitigate our planetary impact. The need for universal participation requires that we adhere to serving the greater good of all, if we are to succeed for any of us individually. It’s almost as if the universe set up this situation specifically to make us face our most profound choices.
We have spent the last thousand years promoting and establishing mechanisms and behaviours that have led directly to where we are today. We have been so successful in that endeavour that we are now faced with the equal task of disestablishing or diverting those patterns without destabilizing our entire structure. The only way to do this is to make sure that we are following naturally sound principles that serve all the participants, as well as each of us individually.
Peace, security and prosperity are big words, often used by many, and meaning very different things in different contexts. They have quite specific meanings for the Path, so before we go on to explore the relationships between these three premises and their application in our lives, let’s get clear about what we mean by each one, individually.