Phi­lan­thropy and char­ity are not the an­swer

Business Bhutan - - Editoria - SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV The write is a colum­nist for Times of In­dia. [Cour­tesy- ToI]

A huge tusker was cross­ing a wooden bridge. A fly was perched on his left ear­lobe. Af­ter they got across, the fly said, “Hey, didn’t we re­ally shake up that bridge?” That sums up the hu­man at­ti­tude to­day. Though we are a mi­cro­scopic speck in the cos­mic scale, we de­lude our­selves that we are the cen­tre of cre­ation. We think the planet is in peril when only hu­man ex­is­tence and well­be­ing are truly im­per­illed.

We are now mov­ing from the dom­i­nance of ide­ol­ogy, power and faith to an era of eco­nomic lead­er­ship. You could never get any two lead­ers to agree on any­thing. Re­li­gious lead­ers couldn’t, be­cause if they did, their busi­ness was im­per­illed. Mil­i­tary lead­ers couldn’t, be­cause there would be no more bor­ders to de­fend if they did. And po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, as we know, never agree on any­thing. But busi­ness lead­ers are will­ing to make a deal with just about any­body – if the deal is good!

Good in­ten­tions have messed up the planet for long enough. What we need is a will­ing­ness to move from per­sonal am­bi­tion to a larger vi­sion, from a nar­row un­der­stand­ing of well-be­ing to a more in­clu­sive one.

While phi­lan­thropy is laud­able, it is not, in the long run, a sus­tain­able an­swer to the world’s eco­nomic in­jus­tices. It is also time we evolved be­yond the con­de­scen­sion im­plicit in the idea of char­ity. Whether it is in mar­riage or the mar­ket, no trans­ac­tion can be sus­tained un­less both par­ties ben­e­fit. Phi­lan­thropy sug­gests that only one party ben­e­fits; the other gets some heav­enly ben­e­fits, per­haps!

What then is the sus­tain­able op­tion? Quite sim­ply, the op­tion would be one that ex­pands hu­man as­pi­ra­tion; not one that cur­tails it. Ev­ery hu­man be­ing seeks well-be­ing. Whether you are sell­ing a com­puter, space­craft or safety pin, ev­ery busi­ness is about hu­man well-be­ing. The only prob­lem is that your idea of profit is short-term and ex­clu­sive. If you are se­ri­ously think­ing of a pros­per­ous busi­ness in the long term, it is im­por­tant to see ev­ery­one as your po­ten­tial part­ner, not your ad­ver­sary. You could in­vest in ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion, for in­stance, and har­vest a new crop of de­voted and ed­u­cated em­ploy­ees two decades into the fu­ture. This is not phi­lan­thropy; this is in­vest­ment.

But, hu­man un­der­stand­ing of growth has meant ac­cu­mu­la­tion, be­cause most in­di­vid­u­als are con­strained by boundaries of phys­i­cal­ity. Since the body is a heap of food and the mind a heap of im­pres­sions gath­ered over time, the model of growth has been es­sen­tially ac­quis­i­tive and cu­mu­la­tive. If you are only in­ter­ested in ac­cu­mu­lat­ing mus­cle – whether phys­i­cal, fi­nan­cial or cere­bral – it means you are in­vested in some­one else’s de­ple­tion or fail­ure. This is not growth. This is sick­ness.

The only key to sus­tain­able growth is con­scious­ness. When your ex­pe­ri­ence of life tran­scends the lim­i­ta­tions of phys­i­cal boundaries, you re­alise that the very na­ture of life is in­clu­sive. There is no other way to be. Yet, we have con­structed our lives around our phys­i­cal­ity, not around the fun­da­men­tal na­ture of who we are.

With­out rais­ing hu­man con­scious­ness there is no way to craft a world that is in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able. If you work with per­sonal am­bi­tion, the world be­comes your ri­val and an­tag­o­nist. If you work with an in­clu­sive vi­sion, the world works with you. Ev­ery­one be­comes your part­ner. This is the pri­or­ity shift we need so ur­gently in the world to­day: from mak­ing a kill to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

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