It seems intuitive that crime and poverty are directly correlated and there are studies that support this claim, but can you have poverty without crime or other societal ailments like poor health, obesity, and violence? Our society is driven by the economy. It’s argued that the free market is what drives people to work hard and develop a healthy society. One concern I have is that with this competition for wealth there are winners and losers. Losers, by definition, are unhappy failures that a forced to either accept this title or work and fight their way out of it. This pecking order permeates throughout our society into schools, sports, and households. I’ve heard many conversations about which sibling is smarter, more athletic, a more successful. This is how our society works and this system is part of what’s driving the low-income “losers” to commit more crimes and violent acts.
So what if we used equanimity instead of money as our measurement of success? What would our society look like? Would we still have these feelings of being winners and losers? Could a group of meditators live simply in a small community for next to nothing and be the happy? They would be poor and by societal definitions “losers,” but they would be living in a community free from crime and violent acts. They would be able to dedicate a large amount of their time to growing with dhamma and sharing this process would be a strong cornerstone for building a community. Instead of needing to buy your way to safety with larger properties and higher fences you could continuously practice living in peace and harmony together.
So what about healthcare and obesity? If you’re not making any money healthcare is obviously a problem but obesity shouldn’t be. This practice helps you become more and more aware of how your body feels which leads most people to develop a healthy diet. A vegetarian diet can be both healthy and affordable. Now if this community learns a little bit about farming it could really improve its quality of health.
It seems to me that a lot of our societal problems are driven by the limitations of our current societal view. We’re playing a game that we can’t win. I’m not sure if a community of meditators could overcome these problems but my intuition tells me that it’s worth trying. If it doesn’t work we’ll certainly learn some things along the way. It’s better than playing a came that I can’t win. I’m not quite ready to jump into this type of challenge but the possibility is intriguing. For now, let’s see if meditating two hours a day continues to lead my life in a healthy, positive direction. Later on, we’ll see.