A student wrote me saying that today, many people believe we need a new world. He asked, “If you had a chance to build the world from scratch, where would you start?” I answered him that I would begin with one country, one self-sufficient country. Then I would ask for some time to develop people, to develop the society.
The problem is that we are like little children who expect the world to work the way we want it to work simply because we want it. It doesn’t work this way. For things to work the way we want them to, we need to learn how to make them happen, how to do it properly.
By learning, I do not mean that we should learn about the world, but about ourselves. We need to change ourselves so we can build a world where we will accomplish what we want without polluting the air, ground, and water, eliminating entire species of plants and animals, and eventually destroying ourselves.
The change we need to make in ourselves concerns our relation to society, the importance we attribute not to ourselves, but to the society we live in. In other words, the connections between us should be our main focus, as opposed to our current disposition to focus on ourselves.
Only once we change ourselves, the products we create will be contributory to the world as a whole. As our mindset will change from narcissism to mutual consideration, everything we do will aim to serve everyone rather than only ourselves.
This does not mean that we will not have personal items or that we will not need personal things, but the way we make and use them will inherently incorporate the thought about the common good. As a result, we will not need to worry about making sustainable products or environmentally friendly production processes because it will be our nature to work with everyone’s benefit in mind.
In other words, the degree to which we elevate humankind is the degree to which society will rise. The success of a country does not depend on technological advancement, mode of governance, or educational paradigms. The success of a country depends on the extent to which people keep the common good in mind. Social cohesion and mutual responsibility are the sole factors that determine the fate of a nation.
Once we have built one such country as a role model for humanity, it will be possible to emulate it throughout the world. This was my reply to the student who asked how to build a new world.