I had this dream last night. It was about the redistribution of wealth. I dreamt that people woke up to the dawning of a new empowerment. They saw the futility of mindless accumulation. They saw the temporariness of power, riches and fame. They saw a new solidarity arising. They had in fact reached a powerful consensus. They had decided to do the right thing for the right reason. It was a rush to make a worldwide difference. They started to sell what they don’t need and keep only what they need. They started to lose what they could not keep so as to keep what they could not lose. This revolution had no name. It was wholly unprecedented. It was the color revolution of velvet, orange, rose and purple all mish-mashed into one rainbow uprising.
The billionaires and millionaires challenged each other to give away their wealth. It was a wager to see who could reach the finished line first by emptying their immense fortune. It was a race to embrace equality for all. And it was a race of total renunciation of self, gains and fame.
The race was no more about who is richer than who. It is no more about who has the biggest toys when they pass on. For envy has lost its venom and greed has become barren. But it is a race about giving and not hording, building and not exploiting, healing and not wounding, sharing and not extracting. It is not just a mindset change but a heartrending conviction. And it is enduring and self-sustaining. It is also contagious, infectious even. The virus of generosity spread like a pandemic. No one in the Forbes’ richest list was left uninfected by this humanitarian bug. The power of the powerful joined hands with the power of the powerless.
Societies after societies were inverting the pyramid of market-driven hording and misplaced priorities. The bottom of the pyramid got to share the gains of the top and the top were giving away almost all they have to the bottom. The scripture that the first shall be last and the last shall be first was finally inspiring everyone to greater acts of charity. Strangely, having enough is more than enough for those who once never had had enough.
Profit margins were abolished. 10-20-50-year plans of extractive developments were abandoned. And shareholders’ values were no longer seen as making more but giving more. Suddenly, a new horizon was emerging and it was a horizon of selfless co-existence. Equality was becoming a bankable reality. Rich neighbors were quickly downgrading, liquidating, converting fixed assets into cash to be distributed and shared amongst the less fortunate. And the transformation took upon a vibrant life of its own.
The world was totally revolutionized and turned inside out. Everybody who were once somebody wasted no time in hopping onto the pay-it-forward bandwagon. Indeed free lunches became the norm and the oppressed majority became a relic of the past. The Invisible Hand lusting after scarce resources became the Maternal Embrace caring for the environment and all life living under her.
Even freeloaders were deeply touched by the universal demonstration of untrammeled philanthropy. They were reformed. At first, they couldn’t believe their eyes. How could those who wield great power and control unimaginable wealth be so stupid, so naive? Why would they give it all up, abandon their gilded estates, private jets and gold reserves, and choose to be identified with the outcasts, the downtrodden and the underprivileged in society? The transformation was just unbelievable. Are the rich unruly possessed to have volunteered to be so ungainly dispossessed? What led them to give it all? Temporary Insanity? Rabies-like Madness?
The truth is, they saw another way, an infinitely more just society, an enduringly happier one. It was a realization of a better world and what a better world it turned out to be! Everyone was changed. Bentham's and Mill’s utilitarianism was turned on its head with the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people - which is usually reserved for the top 1% - transforming into the greatest happiness to an infinite number of people – that is, the other bottom 99%. Privileges renounced. Entitlement abandoned. Materialism defanged. A classless global society soon emerged as social stratification, economic discrimination and mental uppity gave way to a movement of social unity, financial giveaways and convicting humility. Occupy Wall Street became Sacrifice-All Creed.
The haves gave what they have to the have-nots and the grateful have-nots returned the favor by closing the interpersonal gap and making peace with the haves. As old wounds healed, new understanding and cooperation were revealed. The never-ending cycle of gratitude was unrelenting and the loop of empowering influences only expanded in size, scope and depth.
The unintended consequences of this transformation were equally empowering, if not totally bewildering. Crime rates worldwide fell to near zero. Wars, terroism and border skirmishes reduced to a trickle. And respect for gender differences reached new unprecedented heights. Corporate glass ceiling for women were blown wide open and their achievements were celebrated by all. Men became the protectors of women and women soon learned to trust men back.
Marriages also thrived. Relationship flourished. Families were stronger. Without rampant inequality and the flaunting of wealth, stealing, cheating and all forms of criminal enterprises became the thing of the past. What's even more miraculous is that the rate of climate changes was resolutely arrested and suddenly reversed. As mother earth recovered from the mindless human abuses, she was once again able to resume her primary role as nurturer, caregiver and protector of our fragile terrestrial home.
Corrupt politics took a backstage as differences were settled on the spot, exactly where it occurred. Cold hard feelings became warm bonding ones and trust, charity and gratitude supplanted suspicion, hatred and unforgiveness. It is said that although no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible, it is the power of one that changes the world and changes it for good. The responsibility for such transformation is therefore none other than everybody’s.
This is my dream that started with the redistribution of wealth and ended with an unstoppable revolution that upended the world - its superficial values, its market-driven economy and its envy-gnawing culture.
Some may ridicule it as naive or simplistic. Others may call it preposterous or wishful thinking. Call it however you fancy but history has shown that it is not for the lack of good intention that the world is on its path to self-destruction, but the lack of imagination. Cheerz.