Can We Invent a World Based on Morals, Ethics and Empathy?

Since 9/11/2001, we have all lived in a stressful global reality in permanent flux. The Chinese culture, inspired by Confucius, places at the core of its value system the notion of balance and harmony. Any hope for some harmonious outcome of world events was smashed to pieces on that fateful day, and it has not be mended ever since. A vicious cycle of crisis has engulfed our global reality: wars, food crisis, financial crisis, natural disasters and man-made disasters.

This inexorable cycle of death and destruction is a fast-spreading global disease, and no one is immune from it. The storms have become tornadoes or hurricanes aiming straight at us, and the big waves must be killer tsunamis to make it into the headlines. It cannot be contested by anyone that we live in a period of deep turmoil, but few propose solutions that are not purely cosmetic and merely peripheral to the core issues. Most of us shift the blame for the global crisis on entities such as corporations or governments: what can be called a global system of governance and production or exploitation of people and resources. First of all we could have resisted this global system a long time ago, and secondly most of us carry within ourselves the psychological attributes we so vehemently reject in the global social context. Character traits such as greed, quest for power, narcissism and lack of empathy.

This year some positive changes are occurring in the global consciousness: Arabs are challenging the power of corrupt autocratic rulers across the Middle East; protests are spreading in Europe within Greece, Spain, and London. Activists are reaching across country boundaries to join forces and define common goal. Some are talking about the need for a global revolution; however, we can only challenge the order of a ruthless, amoral, dog-eat-dog mentality that is our global reality by having a revolution within ourselves. We must change our own psychology; otherwise we will never make lasting progress in a global consciousness where brutality, selfishness, corruption and amorality are the real driving forces of social success.

Years ago, the United States was called “the heart of the beast” in Marxist circles and identified as being the center of capitalism. This colorful Marxist imagery does not portray today’s reality at all. Capitalism does not have a conscience, even less a heart. It has become a hydra, a giant octopus, with no heart, many twisted brains and countless tentacles reaching across the planet. It is not centered in America alone, and it would be ludicrous to think that the capitalist beast can be killed by a shot in the heart. All the tentacles chocking us  must be severed, then the hydra must be dragged ashore to die in the bright sunlight and away from the sea of profit where it has dwelled for decades. Again, even if this giant capitalist squid dies, unless we change our own psychological makeup at an individual level, another hydra will shortly be born from the seed of our lack of real humanity, our amorality, unethical behavior and deeply-rooted conscious or unconscious selfishness. The world is broken, but to mend it we must understand why, and what within ourselves should be changed to make us better humans.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login