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Looking Forward: Compassion As A Global Ethic

September 04, 2014 | By Rachael Steineckert

More than ever, a healthy society requires compassion that reaches beyond the bounds of our immediate circles.

For as long as they have existed, spiritual traditions have emphasized our interconnectedness, yet this spiritual truth has become a political and economic reality in our globalizing world.

A farmer in Guatemala, for example, might have grown your coffee, while someone in China or Mexico might have made your clothing. We are seeing that war in one country creates upheaval in another, and economic collapse is felt around the world.

As a society, we are confronting the reality that how and what we consume has direct impacts on individuals who live across the world. We are awakening to the fact that our peace and wellbeing are interwoven with that of people who we will never meet.

What does this mean for the creation of a just society? How do we act when we wish to treat others with respect, yet people we are connected to live around the world? How can our ethical and moral systems adjust to accommodate our increasingly global community?

Expanding Our Concept of Compassion

More than ever, a healthy society requires compassion that reaches beyond the bounds of our immediate circles. In 2009 religious and spiritual leaders from around the world gathered to create the Charter for Compassion, which would articulate a new global ethic:

“Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community”

What started out as text has now flourished into an international organization and a movement to put the Golden Rule at the center of our religious and ethical traditions.

The charter’s founder, scholar of religion Karen Armstrong, points out that throughout history, the periods of greatest upheaval and violence would lead the sages to the same insight: we have to expand our concept of compassion if we want peace. This means putting ourselves in the shoes of people outside our communities, to ‘the other,’ including our enemies.

Taken on an international scale, this global Golden Rule transforms cultural and religious differences into a common vision of peace. The Pachamama Alliance is committed to bringing forth this vision based on respect and compassion for all people everywhere.

How can you bring compassion into your communities and the global community? We can teach you how to get into action locally and globally in our Game Changer Intensive, a 7-week online course to equip you with tools and knowledge to bring forth a just, sustainable world. Sign up for our next course now!
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