Economic injustice and social upheaval: Is sharing the answer?
Benjamin Creme answers questions concerning the relationship between international
insecurity and market forces.
Benjamin Creme answers questions concerning the relationship between international insecurity and market forces.
Monte Leach: As Share International magazine points out, there are about 1,000 million people throughout the developing world living in absolute poverty. In the developed world, economic recession is pervasive. What are we doing wrong? In your view, what's the problem?
Benjamin Creme: The major problem is the fact that we have come to the end of our civilization. We are witnessing the breakup of the civilization of the last 2,000-odd years and the beginnings of the process of creating a new civilization. This is why Maitreya is in the world: to inspire and guide us, to educate us in the creation of the correct structures -- political, economic, and social -- which will allow us to go forward in our evolution on the right premises.
At the moment we see a super-division of the world, a separation into major groups -- the developed and the developing world. The developed world usurps and wastes three-quarters of the world's food and 83 per cent of the resources. The Third World, as it is called, has to make do with the rest. As a result, 38 million people are, at this moment, starving to death in a world with a huge surplus of food. We have a 10 per cent per capita surplus of food in the world, so no one need starve.
What is required is a reassessment of who and what we are in our relationship to each other. Maitreya says the first step we have to take to address these problems is to see ourselves as one, brothers and sisters of one humanity. We have to get that sense of globality, that we are one people, one group and therefore the food, raw materials, energy, scientific know-how and educational facilities of the world belong to everyone. These resources are given so that all people may evolve correctly according to the Plan which underlies our evolutionary process. As a result, we must share these resources more equitably. When we share, Maitreya says, we will create justice in the world, and when we create justice, and only then, will we have peace. He has come to show us how to have peace. If we do not accept the process towards peace, there will be no world, because we can now destroy all life on this planet many times over. We have the nuclear arsenal to do this.
ML: The major threat, as you see it, to international security is not nuclear arms per se, but the tension which underlies the economic situation.
BC: According to Maitreya, what he calls the 'engines of war' have been switched off. The Cold War is over. No one any longer believes that the US and Russia are going to destroy each other in a nuclear holocaust. But the energy which sent the planes into the sky and the tanks and troops into the battlefield does not just disappear. It is a destructive force which he says has been going around the world looking for a new home. He says it has found a 'new womb'. That 'new womb' is commercialization based on market forces, which, he says, are based on human greed. Maitreya calls market forces the 'forces of evil' because they have inequality built into their very structure. They help a few to achieve a better standard of living, but at the expense of millions who suffer a lower one. Commercialization is gripping every nation in the world as the market forces concept begins to dominate even in the previously communist bloc. We are finding a situation where the rise in tension is so great it has within it the seeds of a third world war, and that war would destroy all life.
ML: Many people would argue that market forces are 'the saviour of mankind'. Many nations are heading that way in the developing as well as the developed world. They say: "This is the way out. The communist system has failed. What other choice do we have?"
BC: The communist system did not fail. It was never tried. We never saw communism in the so-called communist bloc. What we saw was a kind of state capitalism. What we are seeing now is a break-up of the totalitarian political system -- which is not the same thing as communism -- and the gradual transformation of capitalism. Maitreya says the symbol for the new economic situation, which will be neither capitalism nor communism, can be witnessed in the coming together of communist East Germany and capitalist West Germany. The reunification of Germany gives us the possibility for the creation of what he calls a social democracy or a democratic socialism -- something which is neither classical capitalism nor communism. He says eventually this will be the norm in Europe and throughout the world.
ML: How does that relate to what you were talking about in terms of sharing?
BC: Unless we share the resources rather than compete for them, we cannot create that new situation. We have enough food and resources in the world for the needs of all people, but the major nations -- the US, the European states, Japan and one or two others -- completely dominate the scene and usurp and misuse most of these resources. So there is not enough for others at a price that they can afford to pay. The Third World is strapped for its very existence. That is why there are 38 million people starving there.
If we had a drought in California, Florida, Britain or France, for example, we would be able to buy food grown elsewhere. The reason why millions die is not from drought but because they do not have the finances to replenish that which is lost through drought. If you have an economic system which is not based on competition, greed and self-service, which is what market forces are about, then you can redress this whole situation.
Maitreya says that any government which follows market forces blindly is leading its nation to destruction. He says this civilization is literally at the end of its tether. It is coming to a halt. What we are witnessing today is not simply a recession or slowdown of production. We are witnessing the death throes of the current civilization because it is based on wrong premises.
Market forces assume that everyone starts at the same point. But everyone does not start at the same point. No two nations start at the same point. No two individuals within those nations start at the same point. There are extraordinary discrepancies in living standards. How many people imagine that the world can go on indefinitely in this hideous situation? For how long do people imagine that the people of the Third World will put up with this state of affairs? The answer is sharing, a sharing of resources.
ML: In other words, the current system will collapse.
BC: Maitreya says we are witnessing its collapse. He says it is inevitable, and that there will be a world stock market crash which will begin in Japan. Maitreya said this in 1988, and since then the stock market of Japan has lost nearly 60 per cent of its value. Maitreya says it is a bubble; it will burst inevitably. How it bursts depends on ourselves, but it has to burst and let out all the corruption and inequality which prevents the demonstration, as he would say, of the true inner spiritual nature of humanity. We are wasting the resources of countless millions in the world by condemning them to an enforced poverty and degradation, and the misery of undernourishment and starvation.
ML: You are saying it will literally take a collapse for the changes that you are recommending to be made, and nothing short of that will be enough. Perhaps we can see the error of our ways.
BC: Many people see the error of our ways. I am not alone in pointing this out. But governments, and people who keep the governments in power -- enormous vested interests in the world in all sectors, the simple greed, the self-protective mechanism of humanity -- all prevent these changes from taking place. Almost everybody would admit these changes would be useful, but maybe impractical to implement.
Maitreya says if they do not take place, we will destroy ourselves. He says that it will take the collapse of our economic system, as we have known it, to bring us to a sense of reality, to realize that we cannot go on indefinitely in a world where one-third of the population uses three-quarters of the world's food and 83 per cent of the other resources. The crime, drug addiction and social unrest in the developed world are a direct result of this imbalance in the world's resources. Even the distortion of the world's long-established weather patterns is the direct result of this disequilibrium created by man's disharmonic thought patterns.
ML: When do you see this collapse occurring?
BC: Maitreya has said it will be very soon. Obviously, we see what is happening in Japan. In 1989 the stock exchange stood at 38,000 to 39,000. Today it is around 16,000. It will go up a little bit and then down a lot, and then go up another little bit and down again, but heading down overall, until even the Japanese government can no longer keep the financiers in check. They will start jumping out of high windows like we would be doing here if the same situation were pertaining.
ML: What happens after that?
BC: Maitreya says when that happens the priorities of all governments will change. He says the number one priority of all governments will become the provision of correct, adequate food for all the people. It is the number one necessity. Second will be the provision of adequate shelter for all the people; third, the provision of adequate health care; and fourth, educational facilities for all the people. These are the basics which do not seem too much to ask for enough food, shelter, health care, and education. Yet there is no country in the world not even the US, the most powerful militarily, and once the richest, country in the world not anywhere do these four requirements pertain as a universal right. He says that when they do, they will transform the world.
Humanity is going through a great spiritual crisis, Maitreya says. It is a crisis of identity, to find out who we really are as spiritual beings. As souls we are one. There is no such thing as a separate soul. On the physical plane we have the illusion that we are separate, but in fact we are one. Therefore, we can make this step forward in our evolutionary advance only when we create right human relationships. That is the next spiritual ideal to be achieved by humanity.
The first step is the sharing of the world's resources, because if we do not do this we will destroy ourselves. It is as simple as that. We have free will. Maitreya is not going to interfere and make sure that we do not destroy ourselves. He is going to present us with these alternatives: carry on as we are today in the old, greedy, selfish, competitive ways of the past and destroy ourselves, or else accept that we are one, accept the Principle of Sharing; implement it, create justice in the world, and therefore peace, and begin the construction -- under his inspiration, of a most brilliant and wonderful civilization such as this world has never known.
ML: How will it work exactly? Will the changes occur on a national basis? For instance, in the US, will we say: "We need to change our priorities?" Or will it happen internationally through the UN or some other forum?
BC: I would suggest it is a combination of both. The UN will become the major debating chamber of the world. All world problems will be debated there and resolutions passed which will implement the new system. An entirely new UN agency will be set up specifically to oversee the process of sharing the world's resources.
But I must emphasize that we have free will; nothing will be forced on humanity. When humanity -- of its own free will -- accepts the Principle of Sharing and asks Maitreya and his group of Masters, who are likewise returning to the world (there are already 14 Masters in the world), how do we do this, how do we set about sharing, then we will find that the plan is already there.
There is a group of high initiates who have worked out with the Masters over many years a whole series of interrelated plans which will solve the redistribution problems which today are at the heart of the economic problems. It is really a problem of redistribution of resources. That redistribution results from a change of consciousness. Humanity is approaching a point where it is undergoing a great shift in consciousness, beginning to recognize itself in relation to each other and to cosmos, to nature, to what we generally call God, in an entirely new way. Maitreya says that everything, every single thing in cosmos, is interconnected. There is no break at any point. What we do to ourselves, we do to nature. What we do to nature, we are doing to ourselves, as God, because we are reflections, points of consciousness of that total consciousness that we call God.
Throughout the whole of cosmos this process is enacted and re-enacted; every thought, every action is setting into motion a cause. The effects stemming from these causes make our lives. If we have an underground nuclear explosion, for example, we will certainly have an earthquake. Every effect streams from a cause.
Maitreya will emphasize -- and we ought to know it by now, we have had thousands of years to understand it -- that everything in life obeys the Law of Cause and Effect. We cannot go on creating wrong conditions and expect there will be no effects. If we create conditions of imbalance in a nation, inevitably we get crime. Just making a stronger police force or army will not solve the problem. We have to combat the source of the crime -- inequality, imbalance. The whole process of evolution is moving towards oneness, fusion, synthesis. Market forces, which are based on division, separation and competition, act against the evolutionary process. That is why Maitreya calls them 'the forces of evil' They have their place, but only a very limited place. When they are followed blindly, they lead inevitably to destruction.
ML: Will Maitreya be openly advising humanity? Right now I think it would be fair to say that very few people know about his presence in the world.
BC: Maitreya will be openly advising. He will come forward as the World Teacher for all groups, religious and non-religious alike. He will be looked towards by religious groups as their expected Teacher: the Christ for Christians, Maitreya Buddha for Buddhists, the Messiah of the Jews and the Moslems, Krishna for the Hindus. But in fact, he is really a teacher, an educator for the whole of humanity, showing us how to become what we are, spiritual beings, and therefore how to create the environment in which that spirituality can be expressed. It cannot be expressed in the midst of these divisions and separations, this competition based on market forces.
ML: If I am a farmer in the US, for instance, if I am growing food and I put a lot of hard labour into it, should I not reap the benefits of doing that work? Sharing sounds great, but will we actually implement it when the time comes?
BC: According to Maitreya, we shall. He knows already that humanity is ready for sharing and will accept the Principle of Sharing. That is why he can be here.
Of course, the farmer in the US producing food should reap the benefit of his labour, but the poor peasant in Zaire or Zambia should also reap the benefit of his hard labour. That does not pertain today. In the developed world, we produce so much that we dominate the world's markets. We lay down the price of our goods and, because of our resources, the price of the goods of the Third World also. We demand from the Third World countries the raw materials and products at a price which leaves them able to live only at a very low level, with 1,000 million people living below the poverty line and 38 million actually starving. Yet we demand for our resources, for our production, the top value that we can demand on the world market so that we can maintain what is a very artificial level of living.
People in the US, Europe and Japan live on the backs of the Third World. This is the reality. The reason that we do not see it is simply our complacency. Maitreya calls complacency 'the source of all evil'.
ML: Yet many people here in the US would say we are not complacent. When there is a crisis in Africa or elsewhere, we are right there responding with food and aid.
BC: Of course, but these are individual reactions. In every country you will find those whose hearts respond to human need. But it is an on-again, off-again affair. Humanity as a whole, through its agencies, the governments of the world, does not address these problems on a global scale. We would not put into power, perhaps, a government whose number one priority was the saving of the starving millions if it meant the reduction of the living standards of our own nation. Nobody can win votes on that basis, or so the politicians think. The time is coming when they will not win any votes at all unless they put that issue at the forefront of their priorities.
What we are going to witness is the creation, by Maitreya, of a world public opinion focused, galvanized, centred on sharing as a divine right. Maitreya says: "When you share, you recognize God in your brother." He says the problems of mankind are real, but solvable. The solution lies within our grasp. He says: "Take your brother's need as the measure for your action and solve the problems of the world. There is no other course." He will galvanize and potentize world public opinion which, when so organized, no government on earth can withstand. It is that world public opinion which eventually will force all the governments in the world to accept the Principle of Sharing because it will be seen that we have no alternative. We either share or we die. It is as simple as that.
ML: The power, in essence, will be from the people, and not from any teacher like Maitreya.
BC: Exactly. Maitreya comes with the power of inspiration and guidance, but not with autocratic power. He says that from now on governments everywhere will be by the people, for the people. We are already witnessing it. Look at what has happened in the former Soviet Union. It is chaos at the moment, but who brought down the Berlin Wall? Who opened up the Soviet Union to glasnost? Mr Gorbachev was mainly responsible for ending the Cold War and for glasnost in the Soviet Union. Of all the world leaders, he is the one most responsive to the mental impress of the Lord Maitreya.
We are witnessing the galvanizing of humanity, the people of the world, to take upon themselves responsibility for their own lives. Over the last few years, that has been happening all over the world. The dictatorships of the world are going. That is why the Soviet Union broke up -- not from the collapse of communism, but from the collapse of political totalitarianism, which is something else.
We are also seeing the collapse of economic totalitarianism. The economic system, largely based on market forces, is approaching its death. There is a third totalitarianism yet to break up: religious totalitarianism. Religious totalitarianism is reaching the acme of its power. We see that in the rise of fundamentalist groups in all religions, even in the tolerant Buddhist and Hindu faiths. It is expressed in Islam very powerfully today and in Christianity too. It will be the last to disappear, but eventually totalitarianism in the churches will go. Then humanity will know freedom for the first time: political freedom, economic freedom and justice, and freedom of thought and belief.
From the July/August 1997 issue of Share International