Articles and commentary regarding world events
January 25, 2005

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO CHANGE THE WORLD?

      

       Here is a question that many of us have pondered, and for the most part considered almost too big to contemplate.  However, when looked at from the perspective of spiritual reality, we arrive, by way of a response, at two things that work in tandem in relation to this question: consciousness and practice.  Or, put another way, values and behavior.  To change the world, life must learn to relate differently to life, both in feeling and in action.  This is a generalization that is simple to say yet huge in the complexity of its realization.  What can be said, however, is that in order to be effective, a change in consciousness must precede action if it is to be lasting.

       The present writing aims to look briefly at certain aspects of this change on both levels - the level of consciousness and the level of practice - inspired in great measure by a UN report presented recently to Kofi Annan by the staff of the Millenium Project, whose goal it was to find a way to implement the UN's Millenium Development Goals.  The Millenium Project Report is an example of a multi-level practice which, if put into effect, could change the conditions of life for billions of people on the earth.

     Such a broad-based plan for change, while sweeping in its recommendations, is not likely to gain widespread support right away - not until the consciousness of wealthier nations and of people in general shifts in the direction of making it both viable and necessary.  Such a shift has not yet arrived for the many.  Yet, with the increase of spiritual light already present on the earth, there is the potential for creating the value-context from which true change in practice can occur in the not-too-distant future - occurring through life responding differently to life. 

       Here, then, are two parts of a discussion in response to the question: "What Would it Take to Change the World?"  The first: The UN Millenium Project Report; the second, The Advent of Light.

 

PART I. THE UN MILLENIUM PROJECT REPORT

'Utopia' refers to a hypothetical perfect society. It has also been used to describe actual communities founded in attempts to create such a society. The adjective 'utopian' is often used to refer to good but (physically, socially, economically, or politically) impossible proposals, or at least ones that are very difficult to implement."
 

       But what if the very values of such a society - the values of unity with other souls who inhabit the earth, with the earth itself, with God, and with the inhabited solar system and galaxy - could become real, that is, could become felt and embodied?  Then such a utopian society could come into existence because it would no longer correspond to what could not be, but to what could be.  

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       A breath of hope has come to the world in the form of the UN "Millenium Project Report," a report that has been three years in the making that has the possibility of shaping future economic and trade relations among nations so that extreme poverty is halved by the year 2015 and eliminated altogether by 2025.  This is the inspired hope of the UN-defined Millenium Development Goals which this report attempts to implement.  It comes at a time when more than one billion of the world's six billion people live on less that $1 day, and 2.7 billion live on less than $2 a day

       The report's scope is huge, yet its suggestions - including a primary one which recommends that rich countries double their investments in poor countries - are emminently concrete and practical.  These suggestions evolved out of a multi-level task force which researched numerous areas in which change needed to occur in order to address global issues of poverty.  What has been put into words here are things that have been known about for years, yet have not been put into effect since neither the money nor the political will of nations was there to do so.

       The 74-page report synthesizes 3,000 pages of findings by 265 experts.  Its conclusions - that drastically reducing poverty in its many guises - hunger, illiteracy, disease - is "utterly affordable" and can begin now.   In another time and reality it would be on the front page of every newspaper everywhere.  But instead, it has received little press since it is only a 'report' and since the disillusionment of decades (some might call it the practical requirements of change) have not caused many to get excited about it.  In fact, a number of critiques of the report have called it 'unrealistic' and 'utopian'.  Nevertheless, in conception and in the ways in which it interlocks areas that need to change simultaneously, it is worthy of excitement, because whatever creates hope for the world and the possibility of relief from extreme poverty for the billions who live under it, is worthy of applause.

A New York Times summary of the report states:

"The report of the United Nations Millennium Project, which was prepared under the stewardship of Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs of Columbia University, advocates trade reforms to level the international playing field, as well a sweeping array of spending on, among other things, health, education, rural development, slum upgrading, roads and scientific research. Such an effort, the report said, would lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty." 

"The worldwide outpouring of grief and aid since a huge tsunami killed more than 150,000 people in Asia and Africa last month has stirred hope here that the same wellspring of empathy can be tapped for what Professor Sachs called "the silent tsunami" of global poverty that kills more than 150,000 children every month from malaria alone."

       The Project Report requires wealthier nations to double the amount of aid they are presently giving to poorer countries, bringing the percentage of GNP allocated for foreign assistance from an average of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, a figure which is still less than the 0.7 percent agreed to when these nations met at the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and established a program for action called 'Agenda 21'. 

 

       The NY Times article goes on to say,

"In July, Britain will be host to a summit meeting of industrialized countries that will spotlight global poverty, particularly in Africa... There will also be a United Nations summit on development in September, in which "world leaders will gather... to take stock of progress toward the antipoverty goals they set in 2000."
 

Both meetings have the possibility of considering the 17 "quick wins" that the Project Report suggests could immediately be implemented in " at least a dozen poor, well-governed nations that donors are confident will use the money wisely. (Ghana, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal and Tanzania are among those most often mentioned.).  These "quick wins" are specific policies that would swiftly translate into millions of improved and saved lives. Among them are:

  • mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and medicines to combat malaria, a leading killer of children;

  • elimination of fees for primary schools, with lost revenue replaced by donors;

  • expansion of school meals programs to hungry areas;

  • providing regular deworming medicines to schoolchildren in affected areas to improve school attendance and health;

  • distribution of free or subsidized fertilizer to impoverished African farmers; and

  • expanded treatment of people with AIDS and tuberculosis."

       Kofi Annan says of the Millenium Development Goals that they are feasible, not utopian or out-of-reach.  However, there are numerous critics who disagree.  In addition, as stated above, there is, indeed, a question as to whether the wealthier nations of the world are ready to respond to the report's suggestions. 

       Some of the criticisms come from development experts "who were not on the Millennium Project team (who) reacted to (it) with comments that ranged from harshly critical to cautiously supportive.

"William Easterly, an economics professor at New York University, said an incremental approach with more modest goals - for example, the use of vaccinations to curtail childhood deaths from measles - would have been more effective than that of the report.

Its approach is a sort of utopian central planning by global bureaucrats (italics mine), a crash program like a Great Leap Forward for poor countries," he said. "This will not work any better than central planning by bureaucrats has worked anywhere else, which is to say not at all."

"Nancy Birdsall, who heads the Center for Global Development in Washington and was a leader of the project's education task force said "she worried that the report did not sufficiently emphasize that many difficult social and political changes having nothing to do with money will have to be made by the developing countries themselves to reduce poverty." (NY Times, Jan. 17, 2005).

       Since the labeling of the report as 'utopian' appears in a variety of guises, let us see what this word means:

       "In 1515, Thomas More wrote a book that was to have a significant impact on Western thought. Its title was Utopia, a neologism coined by More from Greek. The word 'utopia' comes from two words, 'ou' meaning 'no' and 'topos' meaning 'place'. Utopia, therefore, is 'no place' - a place that doesn't exist... a society that is only a possibility to be strived for rather than ever actualized."

       As defined by another source, "Utopia refers to a hypothetical perfect society... The adjective 'utopian' is often used to refer to good but (physically, socially, economically, or politically) impossible proposals, or at least ones that are very difficult to implement."

       These are the definitions we have lived with for centuries concerning a society that is good but unattainable.  And, for the most part, such a conclusion has been correct, since the values necessary for creating such a society were not present and could not be present.

       But what if these very values - the values of unity with other souls who inhabit the earth, with the earth itself, with God, by whatever name God is called, and with the inhabited solar system and galaxy - could become real, that is, could become felt and embodied.  Then such a utopian society could come into existence because it would no longer correspond to what could not be, but to what could be.   

       What is 'utopian' throughout history becomes real when the 'advent of light' begins to work its effect upon the world, creating a shift in awareness of huge proportions concerning what we are doing on this planet and who and what we are.  Such a shift has already begun for some, but not for enough of the world's powerful and wealthy so that the lofty goals of the Millenium Report can easily come into being. 

       Nevertheless, what is not here today, may be so tomorrow.  In the presence of greater light, consciousness becomes a more powerful tool for spiritual evolution, both for oneself and for the planet as a whole.  Put differently, ideas that are light-filled, in the presence of greater surrounding light, have greater power to bring about change.  That is the reason that the UN's Millenium Project Report may achieve a different response in the not-too-distant future.  It is also the reason why we each need to be careful of what we think as well as of what we do. Increasingly today, not only our actions, but our thoughts, too, have a greater ability to affect others.

       To return to the substance of the Report, at the moment it is hard to tell whether there will be a concerted effort by wealthier nations to meet the Millenium Development Goals.  If the response of the rich to the current tsunami crisis is any indication, the response to the report may also be ambivalent.  For even in relation to the tsunami-afflicted nations, aid, while plentiful, still comes with conditions that qualify its value and usefulness. 

       For example, in the case of Asian nations affected by the tsunami, the question of debt relief for these countries was recently brought before creditor nations who are members of the 'Paris Club': the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the US.  This group meets about 10 times a year to discuss debts owed to them.  During a recent meeting, a decision was made to freeze the $5bn dollars of debt owed to the group of tsunami-affected nations, for repayment at a later date.  Though many campaigners petitioned for the straight-out cancellation of debt altogether, this was not on the table for discussion. A BBC article called: "Q&A: The Weight of Debt" (Jan. 12, 2005), written the day before the Paris Club met, reported:

"Many are calling for all debts owed by developing nations to be cancelled, saying that repayment costs draw vital cash from social and development projects."

      And from Oxfam, an international organization deeply committed to finding "lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice":

"For the world's poorest countries to divert vitally needed resources to rich creditors rather than spending (these) on the health or education of their citizens is both immoral and economically irrational."

       However, the Paris Club meeting did not have the cancellation of debt for affected nations on its agenda. 

"A write-off was not thought to be under consideration even though the $5bn owing for 2005 would be, in purely financial terms, insignificant for the rich creditor nations." (BBC News, Jan. 13, 2005).

       The difference between freezing debt and cancelling it is huge.  Poorer nations who receive a great deal of foreign aid are often unable to use it fully to expand their economies since they are simultaneously paying back the immense amount that they owe to their creditors. (See: The Economics of Giving).  Often, amongst the poorest nations, the amount of debt being repayed per year is equal to or greater than the amount of assistance being offered.  This is what makes the Paris Club decision and that of other donor nations so ambiguous.

        Clearly, we have yet to arrive at a time when 'global self-interest' outweighs national self-interest, or when the pure motive of generosity outweighs the conditional motive of 'what will I get in return'?  This transition is part of what is discussed below in "The Advent of Light."  Meanwhile, the Millenium Project Report is an example of what might happen if the world could put into practice what has been conceived of as emminently possible by scientists, naturalists, economists, etc. from around the world.  It is there as a road to the future that can be taken when we are ready.

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See also:

New report to Annan proposes solutions to problems of world poverty. (UN News Centre, Jan. 17, 2005)

UN Agencies vow to implement millenium development report (Jan. 18, 2005)

 

 



The purpose of Light Omega is to bring us all into greater planetary consciousness with awareness of the suffering of others and with a willingness to remain awake to the challenges, dangers, and possibilities we face today.

Julie Redstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

,,, the value-context from which true change in practice can occur in the not-too-distant future - occurring through life responding differently to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is 'utopian' throughout history becomes real when the 'advent of light' begins to work its effect upon the world, creating a shift in awareness of huge proportions concerning what we are doing on this planet and of who and what we are.


 



PART II. THE ADVENT OF LIGHT


       I have spoken many times, including in the above discussion, about 'the advent of light' that is affecting the earth.  This increase in spiritual light is related, on one level, to the earth's passage through a photon belt (See: LO, Dec. 22, 2004) and the change in the vibration of physical matter and consciousness that results.  In the broader context of spiritual reality, however, such change is due to God manifesting more directly within the planes of time and space, allowing an experience of holiness and light to become perceivable to many who have not felt it before.

       Such an approach to understanding reality is important for us now as a context within which to view both personal events and events that are taking place for the world as a whole. It is also important for understanding why the Millenium Project Report might not receive a warm reception at this time, but may be part of a natural evolution in 'practice' later on.

       In "The 'Rapture' and the Earth's 'Dimensional Shift" (LO, Dec. 22, 2004), I spoke of the changes we, as a planet, are experiencing and will continue to experience as cosmic in origin, emanating from the Divine plan that God has held for the earth and for all beings on it since the beginning of time.  Without the presumption of such a plan, and, indeed, without the presumption of a Mind and Heart within which the evolution of the earth is held, all events that have great consequence for the earth either make no sense at all or are greatly diminished in their meaning. 

       For example, things like advances in telecommunication did not just happen because we learned more about how to create them.  We learned more about how to create them because the motivation and guiding inspiration to do so - to make the world 'smaller' and more unified - was and is becoming more strongly felt.  Similarly, the internet and its importance to the planet did not arise because someone or some group had a grand idea that caught on like wildfire.  The development and spread of internet technology was made possible by a growth in consciousness which created both a range of bold inspirations that had the potential for being implemented, and the willingness to go through trial and error in order to find a way to achieve them.  Because of the perceived need, a way was sought and a means was found. 

       There are many events, both internal and external, that are linked to the increased presence of light and to the growing perception of it.  Here, I will mention only those that have to do with the consciousness shift taking place for individuals - a shift that can affect both motivation, feeling and action.  


       Within the domain of consciousness, the advent of light brings with it change and new experience.  Often, perception is altered and new thoughts arise that had not been in awareness before.  Sometimes, the new awareness in feeling or thought happens suddenly.  Sometimes it happens more slowly.  In either case, it signals the presence of a spiritual awakening that occurs in different ways for different people.

       Here are some of the ways in which the presence of greater spiritual light is already affecting consciousness for many:

  • an increased awareness of our motivation - as if a light had been shone on our true reasons for doing things

  • feelings of distress - sadness, anxiety, dread, grief - that seem to come out of nowhere and that have no relationship to present events.  These are 'uprooted' from the unconscious and brought into the realm of daytime awareness, though often the cause of distress remains unknown.

  • a sense of duty and/or responsibility that creates a standard for what is 'right' where none may have existed before.  Because of this, it becomes more distressing to do what is felt to be 'wrong'.

  • confusion on the level of identity.  The roles that we have played can seem, all of a sudden, less real and more shallow - not our real self. 
    This leads to uncertainty about who or what the 'real self' is.

  • a longing for something that feels deep but nameless.  Underneath everything else, this longing is the desire to experience our spiritual home - a sense of belonging in and with the universe which the conscious self begins to feel is possible.

  • attack by motives and urges of a negative kind that can threaten with a feeling of being 'out of control'.  These motives may have been deeply buried and are now returning to awareness.  Or, they may be influenced by external energies which can be felt as influencing the 'self' and amplifying such feelings.

  • vague depression and a sense of longing or loss - that what used to feel 'right' no longer does so.  This is often accompanied by uncertainty about where to turn next.

  • feelings of nameless joy that arise all of a sudden for no apparent reason.  They can be related to time and place - such as to a walk in the woods or the smell of the air - but they can also be completely spontaneous without any external reference whatsoever.  These feelings indicate the awakening of the soul or spirit within the human body and self.

  • feelings of great love for another or others that transcend any information we have about them or how long we have known them.  These feelings are activated from the soul-level of perception which is joining with the human, creating love that has no reason for existing other than that it IS.

  • a longing or desire to have a deeper relationship with God.  Sometimes this longing takes us back to the religion of our childhood, to find, perhaps for the first time, what we were not able to find before now.  Sometimes it takes us into a totally new area of communication with Divine reality.

  • experiences that part the curtain between the realm of the human and the world of the Divine so that what is behind the curtain is no longer conjecture, but feels equally real as the everyday.  Often it feels more real than the everyday.

       These are some of the ways in which individual consciousness is affected by the increase in spiritual light.  Always, there is a choice regarding how to respond to feelings, experiences, or events that are unique in origin and that cause us to be motivated in different ways.  What opens us to greater light can also open us to the awareness of greater darkness which seeks to separate us from the light.  And so the choice must always be made to seek the light and to let go of that which we either suspect to be 'wrong' or know to be untrue.

       The 'advent of light' is not something that will go away, like a phase in history that comes and passes.  It is part of the earth's evolution as a planet and as a planetary being, and it will go forward into realms of change and consciousness that we cannot even imagine at this time.  Such change will include all beings who live upon the earth who are intimately part of its expansion and growth.  It will bring all beings to the experience of oneness, of which we are all a part.

 

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Without the presumption of such a plan, and, indeed, without the presumption of a Mind and Heart within which the evolution of the earth is held, all events that have great consequence for the earth either make no sense at all or are greatly diminished in their meaning. 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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