We have reached a crucial decision point. Shifting UP to a sustainable world—or drifting DOWN to crisis and chaos—this, as Hamlet would say, is now the question. It is the challenge of our time. It is no longer a question of whether to change, only how to change. The crises we are experiencing are driving us to change whether we are willing or not.
Changing the wrong way would have catastrophic consequences. We would encounter a series of deepening crises—the COVID crisis and the climate change crisis would be just forerunners. But the right way could open for the human community a new epoch of sane and healthy living.
The crisis we are experiencing is not only dangerous: it is also an opportunity. It is the opportunity to rethink and revise the way we have been treating ourselves and the world around us. Here are “Ten Commandments” that guide us toward a constructive outcome of the tipping point granted us by the current crisis.
- Meet the needs for assuring a healthy and sane existence for yourself and your family and community without detracting from the rights and opportunities of other people to meet their needs.
- Recognize that all people have an inherent right to the conditions and resources of a sane and healthy life regardless of where they live and what their gender, belief system, ethnic community, and national citizenship is.
- Pursue happiness, freedom, and personal fulfillment in harmony with the integrity of nature, with consideration of the related pursuit of others around you.
- Do not interfere with the rhythms and balances of nature for self-centered human ends; consider the Earth’s biosphere sacred and not available for anthropocentric manipulation.
- Require your political leaders to relate to other peoples peacefully and in a spirit of cooperation, respecting the legitimate aspirations for a better life and a healthy environment of all peoples and communities on the planet.
- Require your business leaders to accept responsibility for their stakeholders and not only for the owners and shareholders, insisting that they produce goods and offer services that do not impair nature and do not reduce the chances of less powerful competitors to enter the marketplace.
- Require public media to provide a constant stream of reliable information on current and foreseeable trends and processes so as to enable people to reach informed decisions on issues that affect their lives and the human future.
- Make room in your agenda of activities for projects that help presently underprivileged people to live a life of dignity, free from the struggles and humiliations of abject poverty.
- Work with people and organizations to help restore the integrity of the biosphere by observing the norms of a healthy and sane life beyond the single-minded pursuit of wealth and power.
- Encourage young people and open-minded individuals of all ages to make foresighted decisions on issues that decide their future, and the future of all the people who make up the human community.
About the Author
Ervin Laszlo, Doctorat ès Lettres et Sciences Humaines, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Laureate of the Luxembourg Peace Prize, the Assisi Mandir of Peace Prize, as well as of the Japan Peace Prize, the Goi Award, has been identified by an international jury convened by OOOM Magazine as the 28th among the world’s 100 most inspiring people. He is the editor of the prestigious periodical World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research, founder-president of the international think tank Club of Budapest, founder-president of The Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research, and chairperson of The Wisdom Council of the new internet platform People Together. He is the author of over 100 books translated into 24 languages, including The Wisdom Principles, along with nearly 400 studies and articles. He lives in the Tuscan hills of the Mediterranean coast of Italy.