Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Imagine the world without anger, without greed

Shops in Ireland
(Note bicycle under lamp post)
Image courtesy karpati
Can you vision a world free of hatred, anger, and greed? What would your day be like if you were to walk down the street this morning and there were no such thing as greed or anger? Can you take a moment to indulge the fantasy? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the difference in your neighborhood. What would change right there, on your block?

On my block, there would be no homeless men and women packing up their cardboard and blankets and shuffling away before the shopkeepers found them sleeping in their doorways. That's the first thing I would notice, in the early hours of the morning.

Later, shops and stores would bustle with friendly voices and faces. Clerks would be well compensated for their work. They would have no worries about a toothache sending zinging shots of pain through their head if they sipped their hot coffee on the wrong side of the mouth.

Bicycle racks would line the parking spots outside shops and apartments, and the bicycles would not be locked. There, see that man parking his bike? He gets off, removes his helmet, hooks the strap over the handlebar, helps his two-year-old daughter from the child safety seat, lays her helmet in her seat, and walks into the grocery store, cloth bag in one hand, daughter's in the other. He doesn't even look back to check the bike. No need! Not one soul on the face of the earth would think of taking it.

Inside the store, the man and his daughter visit with the green grocer and learn what the farmers are bringing in this week. He adds just enough kale, turnips and cauliflower to his bag to make the soup he plans for today's supper. He picks up a handful of sweet Valencia oranges, brought in only this morning from a neighbor's tree. He stops and chats with the butcher while she slices a thick slab of ham from the side the local pig farm delivered yesterday. He'll use the small round bone and some of the ham to flavor the soup. His wife will use the rest of the ham in a quiche she wants to take to their neighbors, who have been under the weather with a flu bug.

On the way out, the man tells the manager that he'll bring a clean, repaired awning tomorrow to replace the soiled one over the front of the store.

This dad, you see, is a sail and awning maker. When the neighborhood awnings begin to show signs of tears and wear, he replaces them with cleaned, repaired awnings. When they become too worn to be repaired, he provides new ones. Fisherman and recreational sailors in the area come to him for refurbished and, when necessary, new sails as well. The awning maker especially enjoys creating new designs to decorate his canvases. He has a knack for understanding just what will please his customers and bring surprise and joy to their faces.

Money never changes hands. There is no such thing as a bank account. Each person's work is valued. Each person does the work he or she loves. Because everyone does fulfilling work they enjoy, people are happy. Because their basic needs are always met, because they have time and energy to nourish their creative, spiritual and relationship needs, they are healthy emotionally and physically. Because children are brought into a loving world full of happy people, conflict is rare. Like the Ladakhi, when conflict does arise, people shrug it off easily, Chi choen--What's the point? Life is too precious to waste in conflict.

That's one vision for today. One idea of what the world might look like if there were no greed and no anger.

So, back to my original question. If there were no greed and no anger, what would be different in your life, your neighborhood?

We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


Wanda said...

Not sure how to answer this this morning. It is not that I think anger should be eliminated--unless we are indeed in a state of evolving beyond it. However...our behavior MUST change when we are angry.

I watched a movie last night where people yelled at each other--ongoing. It was so unpleasant.

I just want us to be kind--not doormats or Pollyannas. Just kind and compassionate, whole human beings.

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Haven't fully developed an answer to your question-- but I think I just fell in love with the neighborhood you painted in my head... I want to live THERE!

kario said...

I must be in a strange mood today because, although I love this post and the underlying notion, I am also aware that without examples of greed and anger and unhappiness, we have nothing to contrast with and learn from. Without making mistakes, we can't learn. I do wish that many of our social ills like homelessness and healthcare for the rich could be eliminated and I share your wish for compassion and love. Thanks for the food for thought.

Sharon said...

My first thought was that I would be out of a job! Child welfare is full of anger, types of greed, taking taking taking, giving violence instead of love, kindness and compassion.

That would mean my work would be to contribute to the ongoing wellness of the community by contributing whatever other strengths, talents and hobbies I have. Oh, the possibilities!

Then I thought of my neighborhood, and how much quieter it would be without cab horns honking, bus engines nosily stopping at my corner, beeping when they come. No more voices yelling and cussing at 2:00 am when the bars empty. No more skate boarding noises at 1:00 am. The corner merchant wouldn't spend 10 minutes yelling at the homeless man to get up out of his doorway before he calls the police. I would never see the elder woman who is sometimes naked underneath her clear plastic raincoat waiting for a bus, or the man who stands in front of a bus pushing on it as though he can push it backwards, while the bus driver sits waiting for police. No more witnessing police take down a homeless man who challenges them when questioned.

I love my neighborhood for its many attributes. I always think of it as one of the more calm and peaceful and safe areas in town. But as I thought of your question and started typing my reply, all of this came rushing out. And there's more I could add.

But instead, I want to revision my community into a place of peacefulness, kindness, and compassion. Because that's where I want to live.

Thanks Kate!

A Box of Chocolates said...

well i would love that wonderful place you described. Recently we have suffered the most devastating floods here in Australia and watching the community pull together and total strangers helping others clean and sort through the disaster areas has been so inspiring and has made me so proud to be an Aussie. Yes we have had the looters only a couple as well, human nature at its worst but overall we have seen the Aussie Spirit that is mateship come forward.

Kathryn Grace said...

Wanda, I'd love to hear more from you about the uses of anger. I realize that in our world, anger motivates us to act for positive change, or to protect ourselves and our loved ones when threatened. What I'm trying to visualize here, though, is a world in which anger is totally unnecessary. I realize how Pollyannish that sounds. Still, the question ingrigues me. In a world without anger or greed, there would be no doormats, don't you agree?

Lauren, I want to live there too! It is such a stretch, for those of us who have grown up with anger as a way of life--in our personal lives, in our culture--to imagine society without. The first Star Trek used to show peaceful civilizations, occasionally, and the implication was always that people would lose their individuality and their passion. I'd like to come up with a vision in which people simply have no need for the negative aspects of passion, only the positive.

Kathryn Grace said...

Kario, I agree that it is often through our mistakes--either through shame or loss as a result of making them--that we learn. But how would we learn if we humans did not respond to situations with greed and anger? How would we teach our children? How would we interact with our environment and other creatures?

Sharon, I love how you made the connection between the work you do now and the possibilities for work in a world without greed and anger, and I'm curious what you might choose as your vocation in that world. How would your life be different from what you experience today?

Chocolates, it is wonderful to hear of the ways your compatriots have helped one another in this time of severe crisis. You've had horrific fires, now the floods. It seems you are challenged, as individuals, as communities, and as a nation, at every turn. Your experience gives me hope for all of humanity. I love that term: Mateship.

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