We live in an unequal world although equality is one of those ideal principles that humans uphold. I think it boils down to whether you think human beings are born equal? If you do, then you believe the lottery of birth should not determine your life projection. If you do think people are born different and some are naturally superior than others, then inequality wouldn’t be a moral issue for you. Personally, I think people are born unique and that we have our soul missions and reasons for incarnating at this time on earth. And I think that life is abundant and miraculous. If you look at nature there is balance and there is enough for all the animals. But with that said the animals do have it rough, like if you watch nature documentaries, not all of them make it through winter…
Is inequality really problematic?
Well, I think it is understandable if some people have more than others. People are different and have different values so our incomes don’t have to be equal. What’s not okay is how large the gap between those who have and those who don’t have is. For example x person has 10 avocados and person y has 4. That’s okay both have enough to make it through the day. But when x has 1 billion avocadoes and y doesn’t even half an avocado, then there is a problem.
I guess it boils down to whether you believe we are all connected on the earth. There is Ubuntu an Nguni proverb and ideology, that umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, that a person’s humanity is socially determined and what makes you great is how you relate to others. There is Namaste a Hindi greeting, it means the light in me honours the light in you, we are one and we are one with the divine grace. And, In La kesh Mayan greeting that means I am another yourself.
All these philosophies, proverbs and greetings speak to our unity. If you believe in these philosophies then there is no real prosperity when only 10% of the world is prosperous for example. I like to think that we are all connected. That the human race is one big dysfunctional family. But, our family can be functional, I think peace on earth is possible as I believe in infinite possibility. Anything is possible. In fact, we are the ones who are preventing peace on earth from being a thing. By accepting what has been as valid reality. We need to be creative and change the way we do things. We have more power available to us as humans than we have been led to believe. We can create our own realities and that means we can live in harmony, prosperity and in the beauty of life.
Yes, there is pain and suffering. But like Buddha taught I believe there can be an end of suffering. It is said “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”- Haruki Murakami. Pain we can’t really control, like if a loved one dies, the pain we feel from that is inevitable, for example. I have experienced this, my sister in 2016 died after a long battle with breast cancer and it shook my world because I felt the pain of regret, of loving someone but not showing it. And then you ask yourself what is the point of being alive if you don’t show love to your loved ones? In all honestly, we didn’t make time for each other in our lives. We never checked up on one another and visited each other but I cared for her and I think she cared for me too. That was the tragedy.
“Now I may have faith to make mountains fallLauryn Hill
But if I lack love then I am nothin’ at all
I can give away everything I possess
But left without love then I have no happiness”
This was during a time where I was experiencing an existential crisis. I felt as if there was nothing solid in my life and that everything in my life was in a state of decay. I would cry and question myself, who am I? I felt like there was no foundation to my existence. Just as I tried to grasp at family to feel stable, my sisters passing exposed that my family relations were far from ideal. This was the turning point in my life where I began to study spirituality. I remember waking up, showering, getting ready for a day at the library intending to do my coursework. But, all I would do in the library was study the different chakra’s, enlightenment, Buddhism, how to live with an open heart, mind and in the universal flow of infinite love. A quote I love from Harry Potter is “do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love”-JK Rowling.
The path to enlightenment and the end of suffering is a personal decision. That I want to live in alignment with my soul, with God and with love. This is a life filled with growth, joy, clarity, peace and infinite possibility. There is a certain degree of personal responsibility you take in finding your joy. But now, can you really be joyus when you know others are suffering for no reason?
Let’s have a thought experiment
Which is the ideal situation?
Imagine you’re in your room and you have all your needs met. You’ve got good tasting, healthy food. You’re wifi is working, Your bed is comfortable and the sheets are clean. Everything is well in your room. But you know that for people in your family are doing worse than you. They sleep on the floor, there is no running water, no electricity and barely anything to eat. In this example family is representative of the human race.
What’s your next step?
The first option would be do deal with inequality on an individual level; which is do nothing and say that’s life, there are the haves and have nots. But there is guilt… which eats at your happiness, so now in terms of emotional well being, things are not all well in your room anymore. Can you really rest assured? There would also be a certain degree of paranoia with thoughts like ‘I need to guard my room oasis’. When someone knocks there may be dread in your emotional field. Therefore, you would start to isolate yourself and when this happens, do you still consider yourself free?
Also, what if they were in your position? If you were the one without, how would you feel knowing your cousins living a good life and you’re struggling. Besides the pain of feeling like a failure, you would also think damn, can’t they help me out? We’re family, we are related. Do they really not care about my well-being?
So in your comfy room you are aware that family is supposed to care for each other and that the tables could turn. Therefore, you could help out as a sort of self-preservation tool. A situation in which, I help you now but when I’m struggling I am expecting a reciprocation of the favor. That’s one reason to share and take action to lessen the inequality gap.
Then on a higher level, on an emotional level and from the collective perspective. There would be the urge to share because you’ll sleep safe and sound knowing okay, my loved ones/ family all ate tonight. You can rest assured and sleep peacefully in your room knowing you did what you could to help humanity.
But now, you also don’t want to feel exploited by your family. They’re able bodied and they can also work hard. You think this even though you are aware of the injustices of the past and present. Therefore, there may be the feeling that helping others is creating a loss for you.
So what do you do?
My point is the existence of gross inequality hinders an individual’s sense of peace. You personally may be physically comfortable but your soul is uneasy. There is a path that serves you individually. The path that serves the collective and there is a path that serves the highest good of all.
How can you really be happy in your comfortable room when you’re alone? Wouldn’t you be happier if you had your own room but you could go visit your cousins room and not feel ashamed? And, that you could invite them over without worrying if they’re going to steal from you.
The Highest Good of All
This is a path of action that serves your personal interests and those of the collective. This path is going to be unique for everyone that’s what’s cool about it. Also, there are going to paths that overlap with yours and you’ll find your soul mates. When you live like this, you double your happiness. Meaning, you’ll find fulfillment. And, when you move onto the next life you can go in peace. I believe there is room for us all at the top, we can all live in prosperity. Nothing is impossible. And, with light and love, redressing systemic inequality is definitely possible.