If you are a normal person, you will serve your family and your country by trying to do what’s right. This necessarily involves ambition and goals while you try to solve your problems in life. As you settle into your career, whatever it turns out to be, your government in turn tries to equalize the burdens of society so that the country holds together as a cohesive unit. When one segment of society gets out of kilter, for example, if the poor demand too much while resisting work, or if the wealthy become too non-compassionate, then through various means the government is changed; peacefully it is hoped, but more often than not in many parts of the world; violently.
All of this involves many choices, by the people and by the collective people called the government. These choices pit man against man, woman against woman, as a desire for security in the form of wealth and power competes. The poor want the wealth and power of the upper class, and the wealthy fear that the poor will find a way to get it. This is what politics is all about, and I wonder if there is a better way.
The radical segments of the right and left wing of any government, or of any country, loath their counterparts. There is rarely an inkling toward compromise unless compromise is absolutely forced upon each party. Fortunately, compromise is worked out non-violently, for the most part, in industrialized countries, but in developing nations, the gun is usually the decider. Regardless of the means of compromise, however, the nature of politics is to grab power, and grabbing power involves great ambition and greed.
When we set our individual goals, which might be as innocent as treating ourselves with a few things we really don’t need, we are limiting our focus to only ourselves. “What’s wrong with that?” one might ask, and the answer is; that by limiting our focus to only our concerns, we lose our understanding of ambition, what it requires of us, and what it steals from us, which is our very souls.
Ambition always involves wanting more than we have; something better for ourselves or our families. We are never satisfied with what we have because to be satisfied is understood by some to be anti-progressive. All of our focus is on what we can achieve or what we can get, not what we are, or how we be. Governments are the same, because governments are us.
When we focus on only what we can get, someone has to settle for less; that’s how material fortunes in the world work out. It’s hard to imagine that a kid going to college here means that a child in a third world country will starve to death, but we’re all interconnected. And if you follow the intricacies of ambition, you will see that this is true, because we don’t care about those that are starving, we turn our backs in deference to taking care of our own.
If all of the people and countries of the world had equal wealth today, you can be rest assured that tomorrow there would be those who have more and those who have less. But what if magically all the people and governments in the world had equal compassion and love? Would one segment then acquire more and short the rest, or would those who acquired more simply be unable to contain the overflowing love and pass it on to their brothers and sisters?
Actually, because compassion and love are not a hundred dollar bill, one person having more doesn’t follow that others have less. Compassion and love actually grow exponentially.
Like loaves and fishes.