Dig This: What if common sense were common?

What if the “prime directive” of business was to nurture life and serve the common good, as opposed to common greed?

Unfortunately, the pursuit of the common good these days is about as common as common sense, and most of us have seen first-hand how common that is!

What if we celebrated goodness, generosity and fairness over greed, cleverness and opportunism? Cooperation over competition?  Conservation over exploitation?   WE over ME?

What if we believed that our most important concern should be the sustainability of LIFE, not just our way of life;  that it is our moral responsibility to ensure the continuance of diverse and abundant life on this planet, rather than a mere continuance of the “good life” for the few?

What if we knew that our sustainability—our ability to live without destroying the chances for future generations to do the same—reflects the law of reciprocity:  the simple truth that we must learn to live in right relationship with the world and with one another, understanding that all life is connected and interdependent?   It should be obvious by now!

What if it was well-understood that the base reality of all life is consciousness, rather than matter, as research across multiple scientific disciplines is repeatedly demonstrating?   It is almost amusing how we ignore what we discover until it is far beyond obvious.  Perhaps that is why we keep making the same mistakes repeatedly, even when we should know better from repeated experience.

A teacher of mine was fond of observing that our Earthly life is but a spiritual school, and it is important to remember that we are not all in the same grade.   That is for certain.   So, while we should have compassion and patience for one another, we are prone to disaster when we let the first-graders run the school.

What if we actually had the common sense to meaningfully address the most threatening problems of our time: potentially catastrophic climate change; massive injustice, poverty and social inequality; widespread deterioration of mental and physical health, rampant pollution, or the severe water and food shortages that are just around the corner… It’s a long list.   Or how about the systematic poisoning of soils, aquifers  air quality and entire ecosystems by moronic farming, logging and mining practices that value only profit, leaving a wake of toxicity and epic environmental destruction—not to mention dangerously poor food  quality and epidemic malnutrition?   None of these issues found their way to discussion in recent elections, did they? They are not even on most people’s radar.  Yet each of these problems threatens to escalate beyond even the possibility of mitigation and eventually destroy everything.

What if we actually utilized the knowledge we have to solve our real problems, using what we now know to make life better for everyone, rather than propping up dysfunctional notions which have proven hollow and false with the test of experience, serving the powerful few at the expense of the many: like the notions that “business knows best,” that bankers and corporations can be trusted to regulate themselves in the spirit of honesty and fairness, that more technology will save us from stupidity, or that there is any such thing as Santa Claus or “free markets”?

What if something other than monetary wealth was the primary arbiter of value in our way of life?   What if we decided we don’t need banks?  Why do we need banks anyway?   To keep the economy stable?  (… long pause for chortling)   What happens next time the banksters crash the economy?  What incentive is there for them not to?  Look how it worked out last time.   I guarantee you they are back at it again.

What if we decided that “too big to fail”  means too big to continue as it is: that the existence of such behemoth gluttons is a threat to everyone and everything else.   Perhaps corporations should be subject to capital punishment for betrayal of the public trust.  They are “persons” after all, right?

What if we woke up to the fact that greed knows only greed, like Narcissus in love with his own reflection, and that this is the key reason why business cannot regulate itself, and that it makes no more sense that we should expect it could, any more than first-graders could effectively run the school?

What if we were to actually achieve democracy?  Real democracy, not the puppet show we watch on television.  It seems obvious that democracy does not exist in practice any more than justice exists for those without the means to buy it, and for the same reasons.

I am wondering what that world would look like.  Democracy? Equality?  Justice?  Fairness?  Peace?  Sustainability?  Common Sense?  What if we imagine it together?  Shall we try?

If enough of us could conceive of such a world, we could install a new dream in place of the nightmare we are living.

What if we managed to stop the greedy fools who rule us from destroying Mother Earth in their lust for wealth, so that our great grandchildren might live?

jim-collinsDr. Jim Redtail Collins is an ecopsychologist, energy healer, ceremonialist and elder of both Lakota and Laika medicine lineages.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Doug Bennett says:

    Just restoring democracy in this republic would go a long way towards making common sense and the common good a function of government again. We are failing as a culture, a systemic failure to thwart the influence of greed. Our government "leaders" have lost contact with the citizens and live in the bubble of lobbyists on "The Hill."

    Jared Diamond has a TED Talk video on YouTube. It speaks to this systemic failure.


  2. My favorite passage: What if we celebrated goodness, generosity and fairness over greed, cleverness and opportunism? Cooperation over competition? Conservation over exploitation? WE over ME?

    Welcome to anewscafe.com, Jim. 🙂

  3. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    Right on, Jim!

    Tom O'Mara

  4. You said it all, Jim, and you said it right. I think "common sense" is actually common and I think it is also the wealth and asset of the "commoners", people who do not aspire obsessively to power and riches. Because this is our fundamental problem, all throughout history: people who live, breath, eat, pea and defecate power 24/7- pardon my French – are crazily determined enough to achieve it and indeed that's what their pathological pursuit ends up giving them. And we, "commoners', people who only seek to care for our families, our friends, our communities, for lack of determination, we just let these lunatics run and ruin the show. This is where we so desperately need democracy, REAL democracy, a place where the power-obsessed has no way of climbing to power because it is "commoners" who are called to serve on jury duty-like councils where they'd decide how to run their own society, for a limited time until they return to their families and communities. The greedy, "gluttonesque" loonies belong in asylums, not in governments or at the helm of powerful international corporations.

    • Avatar Pamela says:

      Yes, here, here or hear, hear. I agree wholeheartedly with Gerard: having the greedy at the "helm" is indeed dangerous and deadly. Thanks Jim for the insights!

  5. Avatar mauro says:

    and now the people must unite. Tall order…all the problems you mention are huge…but "doable"….humankind can create our own "way out of this mess".

    But to unite? Probably more like a miracle…then activism.

    Don't you just LOVE miracles?

    We can unite around that.

  6. Avatar Kathy Bradshaw says:

    And the definition of Democracy is: Ruling by the MOB. America was founded on a REPUBLIC not Democracy, therefore it is a representation, not just what the masses feel or think at the moment. And I for one, think that capitalism and free enterprise is what our country needs and was founded on. I DO NOT want anyone or any group or organization telling me what I can and can not do. Think of all the reality shows, do you really want our country a reality show? The dumbing of America is such a tragedy. Let us hope that common sense, like Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety," reminds us that we need to be accountable and not ask others to do for us what we can do for ourselves.

    • Avatar Pamela says:

      Every spiritual tradition in the world speaks of compassion, love, forgiveness. Each spiritual traditions talks of helping the poor and feeding the hungry. Loving your enemy and feeding your enemy.

      I hope my heart and brain are big enough to understand that by helping others, I help myself.

    • Avatar mike mathews says:

      Now that representation is owned by corporations, you are indeed being told what you can and cannot do-the capitalist MOB.

  7. Avatar rockney compton says:

    Good One Jim:

  8. Avatar Randy says:

    Thanks for this powerful and inspirational truth Jim . There is most definitely an "awakening" to our greater human potential taking place all around our Mother Earth that we need to nurture in ourselves and in all around us.

    I recently discovered through youtube the work of Geoff Lawton who is transforming ravaged environments world wide by implementing perm a-culture. Our planet has a healing force just like our bodies do and the potential for restoring ecological health to our ravaged planet cannot be over estimated. Check out Geoff Lawton and imagine what incredible transformations toward ecological health is possible within our lifetimes.