God’s covenant with Abraham continues to have a profound impact on us.
Long after the Edenic covenant, God told Abraham to “be fruitful and multiply” and that his progeny would be blessed.
So why has Western society narrowed this contract to mean only material growth?
Does it not also mean spiritual replenishment and creation?
During the Reformation and the Enlightenment, society rejected the oligarchies of the King and the Church.
This led to the modern era of individualism.
The protection of the rights of the individual could have deepened our capacity for spiritual understanding, so that each of us would sustain our body to allow our mind to explore the higher realms of Being.
But individualism has been interpreted very differently -- the person is seen as a mental substance and the body its material property.
Rather than bring us creative, spiritual power, modern individualism has been captured by the systems of materialism.
Yet this overemphasis on rational and deductive thought, rather than our creative and inductive capacities, goes back much further in history.
It was Ancient Rome which suppressed the covenant that originated with Abraham and was carried on through Jesus.
Today, materialist Rome has revived itself in another form -- the confluence of business and government, the market and state.
The material forces that once led Rome now lead the Market State in creating a political force designed to oppress humanity.
Its doctrines teach that matter is the ultimate reality and that we are all just individuals trying to survive.
Its denies that our physical bodies are here to support our minds in order that our minds might connect with their higher source.
And in ignoring our common heritage, our covenant with God, we are left empty and deeply unfulfilled.
When Abraham promised God that his children would be fruitful and multiply, did this mean that we should be mastered by materiality and time?
Was it God’s intention that we become slaves to boom and bust cycles, compulsory growth, the concentration of wealth and the devaluation of social capital?
Our ancestors interpreted spiritual belief as the process of saving their souls, faith in their Creator, trust in their sisters and brothers, and the value found in Christ.
Now we speak of saving money, faith in the government that issues it, trust in the banks that distribute it, and the value we find in this money.
Indeed, the interest rate which expresses the value of our currency is tantamount to the motive power of God in this secular age.
That’s because compound interest, increasing at a fixed rate over long periods, seems to achieve the immortality that we can never attain in our short life-spans — the power to conquer time.
Indeed, interest rates grow faster than human beings.
Money literally continues to live on and increase after we die, which is the closest thing to eternal life that exists for most people in a culture which no longer believes in God.
By linking the past with the future through linear time, interest rates tie our consciousness to materiality, making us slaves to the outer world.
These interest rates which express the material growth of money take us out of this present moment and our capacity for creation, so we are no longer able to see ourselves as individuals who are parts of a greater whole.
Debt-based interest rates empower our body-dominated culture, where the higher mind is absent and the human spirit is suppressed.
It is interest-driven debt that drives the competition for scarce resources, reinforcing our mind-body split and providing the instrument for our own oppression.
Individual and social conflict are both the result of competition.
We’re all in such a rush to compete, we’re not replenishing what we consume.
We don’t allow time in our lives for the processes of natural transformation.
Interest rates drive this hyper-competitiveness, causing us to consume our finite resources and short the natural cycles of creation.
How long will Earth continue to support life if we continue to degrade and destroy it?
The commons as a consciously organized sector -- beyond the Market and State -- creates a far more beneficial balance in economics and society, putting us back in touch with the natural cycles of life.
The commons -- including social, cultural, intellectual, digital, solar, natural, genetic and material resources -- are already becoming a potent alternative to the materialism of the Market State.
In many places across the world, people who share their commons are managing them through unique forms of self-governance and collaboration, which protect the gifts of creation by ensuring their long-term sustainability.
Whether these commons are traditional (rivers, forests, indigenous cultures) or emerging (solar energy, intellectual property, internet), communities are taking collective action to preserve their resources, both for themselves and for future generations.
The common responsibility of people to protect and sustain their valuable common goods is really a spiritual act, whether or not this is consciously recognized.
When people come together to manage a resource through trust, cooperation and sharing, they link with each other subjectively.
This creates physical and social interdependencies.
It ensures a freer flow of our creative energies across the artificial boundaries of private property and sovereign borders, which otherwise impede and distort human intersubjectivity and create separations between people.
When we co-create the commons, we invest in one another.
This is really a process of replenishment.
By co-creating the commons, we replenish ourselves as individuals, society as a whole, and the natural world.
That’s why the new ethic of personal development, social cohesion and ecological sustainability which is spreading rapidly across the world is far more in line with the spiritual teachings of the world’s religions than the present system of debt-based economics which create separation and division.
The age-old vision of spirituality is being realized through our calling to become trustees of the world’s resources -- to preserve and restore the very things we have promised would bear fruit and multiply.
We express the commons through our collective intentions for sustainability, not through the Romanization of society by the Market State.
The dualism between materiality and spirituality that came out of Rome expressed human existence in terms of physical sustenance and physical survival, separating mind from body.
But the commons is lifting the masses to the guidance of the higher mind and the creative world, which are intended to be our inheritance, bringing mind and body into a unified force of evolution.
It is our covenant to create unity on the planet by replenishing its living and material systems.
Abraham’s covenant with God - to ‘be fruitful and mulitply’ - expresses not only the right to grow, but also our responsibility to steward this growth.
Consumption is about replenishing ourselves merely at a material level. We must also replenish ourselves at the level of our higher being. And it is this creative spirit which will lead us to replenish society and nature and bring economic healing into our world.
So long as interest rates remain our god, artificially speeding up life and preventing the sustainability of creation, we shall remain in this endless cycle of consumption until we destroy ourselves and our planet.
But we can break these chains of debt and scarcity and transform the world of necessity.
This is what the commons brings to us, the self-governance of our commons based on unity and creation -- a confederation of world citizens based on our collective intentions to produce a sustainable community on this planet.
Our beloved commons must be created and restored for the benefit of everyone.
To be fruitful and multiply, we must replenish ourselves and leave to future generations a peaceful and sustainable society that supports individual growth and spiritual advancement.
We can create plenty in our world by ensuring that it is used wisely and sustainably, so that everyone will meet their needs today, tomorrow and hundreds of years into the future.
Let’s think of our commons as the new economics of replenishment.
In the past, people understood religion as a process of saving their souls, faith in their Creator, trust in their fellow man, and the values they acquire through religion. But these spiritual attributes have been displaced by a new material creed.
Now we speak of saving money, faith in the government that issues it, trust in the banks that distribute it, and the value we derive from it. Indeed, the interest rate which expresses the value of our currency is tantamount to God in this secular age. That’s because compound interest, growing at a fixed rate over long periods, seems to achieve an immortality that we can never attain in our short life-spans — the power to conquer time.
Money literally continues to live on and grow after we die, which is the closest thing to eternal life for most people in a culture that does not believe in God.
This seminar examines the spiritual dimension of the commons. In many places across the world, people who share particular resources are managing them through unique forms of self-governance and collaboration, which attempt to protect the gifts of creation by ensuring their long-term sustainability. Whether these commons are traditional (rivers, forests, indigenous cultures) or emerging (solar energy, intellectual property, internet), communities are taking collective action to preserve their local resources, both for themselves and for future generations.
Behind the governance of these commons is an essential spiritual aspect, whether or not this is consciously recognized by those involved. When people come together to manage a resource through trust, cooperation and sharing, they link with each other subjectively. This creates physical, social, affective and cognitive interdependencies among them. It also ensures a freer flow of subtle energies across the artificial boundaries of private property and national borders, which otherwise impede or distort human intersubjectivity and create separations between people.
Hence, the new ethic of personal development, social cohesion and ecological sustainability that is rapidly spreading across the world is much more in line with the spiritual practices of the world’s major religions than the present system of debt-based economics. In many ways, the age-old vision of spirituality is being realized through our calling to become trustees of the world’s resources.