By Ronald Logan
In the world today there are difficulties that cannot be mitigated merely by good intentions. The situation with the world economy is fragile, to say the least. The growing scarcity of oil is creating tensions. The planet is being poisoned by pollution. There is increasing limitation of the planet’s ability to sustain the population. And there is growing scarcity of energy supply in a world dependent upon power.
When one puts all of these together — combined with climate changes that are speeding up far more rapidly that anyone had anticipated — it does not take psychic power to recognize that humanity faces a problem that is becoming more and more imminent. This problem may be summarized by saying that the lifestyle that has been normalized in this era is not sustainable, that the amount of energy required to maintain the comforts of day-to-day life is not sustainable, and that the ever growing population is not sustainable. The earth simply cannot support such an amount of people, living by current lifestyles.
What to do? One can say: “Everyone should cut down their energy use and minimize driving cars.” But, realistically, will this happen? Will most abandon their cars and walk? Or not travel in airplanes? Such a solution will not happen in the near future. It is more likely that the drive for survival will lead to viable alternative energy sources.
Unfortunately, new energy sources will not be put in place soon enough. So there will inevitably be a tough time ahead. Humanity will have to face the climatic changes caused by excessive population and the lifestyles that have been adopted. This cannot be avoided.
But we should not take a doomsday approach. Yes, there are clearly troubles ahead, and these troubles are converging. It does not take mystical predictions to see this. Aware people recognize there is a problem; even heads of state know there is problem. And it is known that the problem will get very serious.
But no one knows what to do. Some say: “If there were alternative energies, the major problems could be controlled.” A nice idea, but is it fully practical? By the time it is implemented, it will be too late. So we have to think, what to do?
Before there can be material solutions, there must be ideological solutions. If no one has an ideological framework suitable to work with the situation, it will only become more critical. So people must begin to develop and adopt empowering, solution-oriented ideas to guide their actions.
Neohumanism and PROUT provide a very practical ideological framework. The PROUT approach to development emphasizes local, sustainable development. This emphasis on local economic development and sustainability will become critical in the coming years. As the global situation becomes more unstable, it will be essential that local communities be able to provide viable local solutions for the plight of their populations.
Without this capacity, who will people turn to? If there are major disasters, if there are worldwide struggles, is there any national or international force that can be relied upon to solve these problems? Most nations are already challenged by the problems at hand; they will be overwhelmed by what the future situation brings. So the need for local ability to handle difficulties and provide food, clothing, and shelter is very great. For this, local development must be encouraged.
An Empowered World Body
At the same time, there is need to strengthen and encourage the development of a confederation of nations, a world confederation which can exercise international power for the welfare of people — not for corporate development, not for any self-centered purpose, but for the welfare for the peoples who inhabit the planet.
The lack of an empowered world body will be a critical concern in the coming years because, without this, how can the unsustainable global situation be addressed? Humanity faces a global problem. But who is there to address it? Who has the power, the authority, to speak for the entire planet, for the global society? At present, no one has this.
So there is a gap of authority, and with this gap of authority two things will happen. First, those who have an exploiting nature will take opportunistic advantage of the situation, as many large corporate entities have already done. They have simply moved in opportunistically to fill the gap. That is one result.
The second result is that there will be no one with the ability to cope with difficulties and emergencies. The opportunists are not going to do it. They are not really interested in running the planet, in helping humanity survive. Their interest is to take advantage, to exploit. One the one hand there are the opportunists who take advantage and exploit, and on the other hand there is the lack of anyone to really manage the situation.
So there is a great need for a planetary authority to step into a global management role. This body must be representative of the entire planet; it must be a type of confederation. The United Nations is an initial attempt at this. But its authority is inadequate, and it is not truly representative.
There was a time when feudalism governed the world. This king had his little territory, and that king has his territory. Then, with the onset of nationalism, the feudal kingdoms were united into larger territories called nations. Now the nation states cannot cope with planet-wide problems, and there is need for a global body to give leadership. Otherwise there will continue to be anarchy and opportunism.
A nation is no more dictatorial than a feudal state, and a world government will be no more dictatorial than a nation. But it will be capable of imposing a type of order that is desperately needed. What is required is not dictatorship, but a world body to establish a suitable structure for our globalised world.
The United Nations sees all of these problems and gets worried and makes a few squeaks and sounds. But it has no authority, or its authority is dim. So it can’t do anything effective to manage the problems. What authority do they have over the large multinational corporations? Or over the nations that support corporate exploitation? Their word must have force. And if their word is not listened to, they must be able to impose it upon a region or a state that will not comply.
Regulation on the planetary level will be the duty of the representative global body. Proper regulation of the global economy, of equitable distribution of resources, of corporate polluters, of currency stability, etc. cannot be assured so long as nations enjoy sovereign power, rather that this power being held by a representative global body.
And so long as the currently constituted United Nations has no independent military forces of its own, how can any rogue nation be brought into alignment? How can planetary peace be maintained? It cannot. Those who have the power will do as they will. And if they prefer to be aggressive, they will. Or if they prefer to use their influence in support of corporate opportunists, they can. This must turn around.
So both of these core elements of the PROUTist vision must be implemented: there must be the emphasis on local development, and there must be the formation of a global confederation. Necessity will eventually cause the implementation of both of these approaches. But if these ideas can be made available to, and accepted by, the people in a timely way, it will greatly ease the times ahead.
The Future is Bright
In the face of life on the planet becoming increasingly unstable and unsustainable, how should individuals live? What should we do? We must our lives in a balanced way; do our best to follow principles of conservation; build our communities; do our spiritual practice; encourage others to live a moral life. And we must always look on the bright side.
This is a transition time in human history. It is an evolutionary jump, a time of transformation. There is bound to be struggle and difficulty in the course of this transformation. But in essence it is a very positive process, and the results are bound to be good. In times to come, the global human society will become closely bonded.
The future of humanity is bright. Even though there will be difficulties, there will be a bright side to it. Just as in personal life it is difficult to break a bad habit, a strong addiction, it is the same in collective life. Society is being forced to face its addiction to an unsustainable way of living. It may seem like things are falling apart, but what is occurring is the forcing of corrective measures.
So this crisis humanity now faces is an opportunity for people to come together to build community at the local level and a one-world society at the global level. With the establishment of one world society, many advances in human life will unfold. A very different world will arise. It is a great destiny to advance this change, to be a part of this dynamic shift in this planetary evolution.
Copyright The author 2012