The Path Forward
“How do we surmount all these barriers to create a country where all people can flourish?” A country that values every child born as a national asset, where all parents are supported in nurturing that national treasure and all children are welcomed, encouraged, and educated to develop to their best, for their own good and that of their communities.
To do this, we need an economic model that is proven to support this vision successfully. Eisler’s The Real Wealth of Nations (2008) describes a Caring Economy model coupled with a Partnership social construct that supports this vision (www.centerforpartnership.org). We also need a restructuring of policies to address this effort, with all policy makers committing to the Precautionary Principle that allows for passing only legislation that does no harm to current and future generations or to our earth, air, and water (Myers, 2002). In this world that we create together, we can foster the compassionate side of our humanity rather than the selfish side. All citizens are free to work hard, to prosper, and to advance, provided their effort does no harm to others, our country, or our planet. I recognize the need to be protective of our borders and wise about our national and personal safety; however, as we become more compassionate, I imagine that there will be less need for armed forces protecting our cities and our nation.
This is not a pipe dream. In The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness, Dacher Keltner and his colleagues at the University of California Berkley have shown that we are not exclusively selfish beings, as our current economic model assumes; we are also instinctually compassionate (Keltner, 2010). The spiritual work of Wen Len in Hawaii (Vitale & Len, 2008), and the innovative work done in Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, and Rwandan prisons are worthy of consideration (Aleem, 2015; Alexander 2016; Benko, 2015; Taylor, 2016). When we treat prisoners compassionately, the need for prisons is diminished.