We started 2024 with a major earthquake in Japan, and deepening wars in the Middle East and Europe, not to mention Africa, and many other parts of the world. I have not even mentioned the climate and environmental challenges, which are equally huge.
Not only have humans destroyed the environment, they are continuously fearful and aggressive, fighting war on humanity. How can we make New Year resolutions against this backdrop? What can any individual achieve and transform? The only thought that comes to mind to me is prayer, meditation and healing – to help us face the impossible odds by hoping and nurturing a better life for all.
Watching TV series on wildlife and nature, including the latest BBC show ‘Wild Scandinavia’, it is amazing to see the diversity of life on the planet, and the courage and resilience in the face of all weathers that animals show routinely. Unlike humans, they rarely have the tools to build permanent shelters in the wild, and are fully exposed to the elements, day and night. Furthermore, the ways in which different species live side by side, and how no animal is ever obese, shows that greed and ego are alien to animals. Their lives are constantly at risk, and they have no shelter from the storms – they actively suffer and adapt as best they can. We humans have got insurance policies and bank accounts to help us cushion risk, but what we forget is that when we experience risk (instead of insulating it) we strengthen our soul. Animals know this too well.
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Their wisdom and intelligence can be staggering – in a highly overcrowded island of seals, mothers are able to find their chicks and feed them. Green turtles know exactly where they have laid their eggs hundreds of miles from the seas in which they swim to Rain Island in the Pacific. Whales can protect their young through coded messages which are covered up by the sounds of the waves. The intelligence of animals is far beyond the scope of our scientific understanding. We have much to learn from their humility and silence.
For us mortal humans, 2024 will demand the highest courage and resilience, and the calmness and deep spiritual energy required to weather life’s storms. Activism and campaigning have their limitations, and predicting the future trends, given the rise of Artificial Intelligence may seem impossible. At the same time, accepting the status quo of inequality, violence and declining mental and physical health is also not the answer. We must be the change we wish to see in the world. How we manifest this is our own personal choice.
As I write this, I am about to set off to India on a month-long research and lecture tour, sharing my findings on ethical business and finance. There are plenty of good examples and role models on compassionate living in India. These cultures and traditions are not in the global business education curriculum, even when they ought to be.
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We fail to learn from what is directly visible to us because of our prejudices, arrogance and ignorance. Human biodiversity is a vast reservoir of wisdom. We can resolve to be kinder, caring and cooperative in all our endeavours. Less will be More in 2024.