AUGUST 29, 2017
Photograph by Sarah Hickson
So I want to take a moment of your time right now to talk about ‘how do we build a better world’. How do we build a better world? It is a question people have talked about for thousands of years and I want to make a suggestion, that to really make a utopia, a great world, the best world we could, we need to have two kinds of transformation. We need to transform our economy, our material economy and we also need to transform, if you like, our economy of being. Our spiritual economy. Do only one of these and we won’t really get a better world. Look at our world today; massive material advance yet a lot of people still seem less happy than 30-years ago. On the other hand, it is hard to become enlightened on an empty stomach. And one of the great things about the material progress that we have witnessed in the last century, is that it creates the space and leisure for us to really look at what matters to us, and to really develop ourselves as human beings. Now I want to suggest there are two parts to this transformation, and on the one hand we’ve had this revolution in digital technology and the advance of material production. This means that we have increasing amounts of leisure and secondarily we have technology that allows for infinite copying. We can share with everybody today. Whether it is apps or it’s literature, or movies, we suddenly have a technology that allows us to give to everybody. We do need a way to pay for that first copy but we can do that collectively. And on the other side, thousands of years of spiritual practices are nowadays coming together with modern science to show that things like meditation and even general Buddhist tautology, Buddhist ontology, have a lot to tell us about how we can live more wisely and well. For example, how can we be more open-minded. And why is it so hard to change our minds? Why do we have so many arguments or fights with others including our partners, if you think about it? So what I want to suggest today is that, by combining this incredible advance in digital technology with age-old wisdom we have a true opportunity to make a better world.