Friday, November 28, 2014

Writing the Future

ADDIS ABABA – What does the future hold for the global economy? Will living standards rise worldwide, as today’s poor countries leapfrog technologies to catch up with richer countries? Or will prosperity slip through our fingers as greed and corruption lead us to deplete vital resources and degrade the natural environment on which human well-being depends? Humanity faces no greater challenge than to ensure a world of prosperity rather than a world that lies in ruins.

Like a novel with two possible endings, ours is a story yet to be written in this new century. There is nothing inevitable about the spread – or the collapse – of prosperity. More than we know (or perhaps care to admit), the future is a matter of human choice, not mere prediction.

Despite the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the United States, the developing world has sustained rapid economic growth. While the International Monetary Fund forecasts that the advanced economies will grow by just 1.5% in 2013, developing-country growth is projected to reach 5.6%. Asia’s developing economies, now the world’s pacesetters, are expected to grow by 7.2%, with output in Sub-Saharan Africa set to rise by a healthy 5.7%.

What is happening is both powerful and clear. Technologies that were once found only in rich countries now belong to the entire world. Mobile phone coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has gone from nearly zero subscribers 20 years ago to around 700 million today. And those phones are helping to bring banking, health care, education, business, government services, and entertainment to the poor. Within a few years, the vast majority of the world will have access to wireless broadband.

Yet there is another truth as well. Last year was the hottest ever recorded in the US. Droughts afflicted around 60% of US counties, including the breadbasket states of the Midwest and the Great Plains. In October, an extraordinary “superstorm” smashed into the Atlantic coastline around New Jersey, causing losses of around $60 billion. Climate problems – floods, droughts, heat waves, extreme storms, massive forest fires, and more – also ravaged many other parts of the world in 2012, including China, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa’s Sahel region.

These environmental disasters are occurring with rising frequency, as they are partly caused by human actions, such as deforestation, coastal erosion, massive pollution, and, of course, the greenhouse-gas emissions that are changing the world’s climate and acidifying the oceans. What is new is that scourges like climate change – until recently described as a future threat – are now clear and present dangers. Scientists have even given a name to our era, the Anthropocene, in which humanity (“anthropos” in Greek) is having a large-scale impact on the planet’s ecosystems.

Herein lies our great challenge – the one that will determine whether we follow the path of prosperity or ruin. The rapidly growing developing countries cannot simply follow the economic-growth path that today’s rich countries traveled. If they try, the world economy will push the planet beyond safe operating conditions. Temperatures will rise, storms will intensify, the oceans will become more acidic, and species will go extinct in vast numbers as their habitats are destroyed.

The simple fact is that humanity faces a stark choice. If the world economy’s current growth patterns continue, we face ecological disaster. If the world economy embraces a new growth pattern – one that harnesses advanced technologies like smart phones, broadband, precision agriculture, and solar power – we can spread prosperity while saving the planet.

I call today’s growth pattern the business-as-usual option; the smart-technology growth pattern, by contrast, represents the sustainable-development option. Business as usual can work for a while, but it will end in tears, while the sustainable-development path can lead to long-term prosperity.

So, what will it take to write the happy ending? First, we must recognize that we, as a global society, have a choice to make. Business as usual is comfortable. We think we understand it. Yet it is not good enough: on our current trajectory, short-term prosperity is coming at the cost of too many future crises.

Second, we must recognize the powerful new tools and technologies that we have at hand. Using advanced information technologies – computers, satellite mapping, image processing, expert systems, and more – we now have the means to grow more food with less environmental damage; improve public health for rich and poor alike; distribute more electricity with lower greenhouse-gas emissions; and make our cities more livable and healthier, even as urbanization raises their populations by billions in the coming decades.

Third, we should set bold goals for the years ahead – to spread prosperity and improve public health while saving the planet. Fifty years ago, US President John F. Kennedy said that we should to go to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard – it tested the best in us. In our generation, sustainable development will be our test, encouraging us to use our creativity and human values to establish a path of sustainable well-being on our crowded and endangered planet.

I am proud and honored that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked me to help mobilize the world’s expertise as we seek to achieve that goal. The greatest talents in our societies – in universities, businesses, NGOs, and especially among the world’s young people – are ready to take on our greatest challenges, and are joining the UN’s new Sustainable Development Solutions Network. In the months and years ahead, these leaders will share their visions of a prosperous and sustainable global society.

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    1. CommentedErik de Ruijter

      Nice paragraph. Indeed, it is not about prediction. But is it about choices ? You only make a real choice when you forfeit the benefits of the alternatives [that you did not choose]. I think this is a dangerous thing to do given the fierce debate every suggested way forward still creates. Therefore, I believe it is about understanding and keeping our options open. This way we can see, evaluate and adapt - our core competence a a human species.

    2. CommentedFemi Awoyinfa

      Timely article by Mr. Sachs. My recommendation would be for the UN and other relevent players to mobilize real efforts to address these stark realities in the ASALs. The situation in Northern Kenya and other arid regions need urgent support. Unfortunately many international organizations are reluctant to invest in these areas where there is little potential for quick successes. There are existing technologies that can make a real difference in the lives of the world's poor and vulnerable. which are yet to be deployed. We should therefore be ready to get our hands dirty especially in hard to reach communities. This is technology justice.

    3. CommentedArne N. Gjorgov, MD, PhD

      To Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs
      Skopje, February 11, 2013

      Re: “Writing the Future,” Project Syndicate, Jan 24, 2013, Comments

      Dear Professor Sachs:
      Mass condomization of female sexuality could hardly be considered ‘sustainable development option’ and a matter of political choice (rather than imperative), because of the documented (indirect) causal relationship with the unabated, ever rising and excess breast cancer epidemic in the developed worlds, spreading globally. The policy of condomized control of women’s sexuality in the name of ‘improved public health for reach and poor (countries) alike’ could continue only by using blatant methods of false information, and will transfer the mistakes, miseries and death to women and girls from the advanced, industrialized, rich world to the developing and poor world. In conclusion: no ‘sustainable well-being on our crowded…planet’ could be done with condoms.
      Arne N. Gjorgov, M.D., Ph.D. (UNC-SPH, Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, NC)
      Author of ♦ “Barrier Contraception and Breast Cancer,” 1980: x+164”

      To quote from the letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on September 25, 2010:
      “…In my opinion as a researcher and physician, the UN agencies dealing with women’s and girls’ health issues could hardly be able to achieve (if at all) the Millennium Development Goals 2015 (MDGs) with a perpetual falsehood and ignorance about the biological nature of women and their reproductive health and lives (besides the goals of promoting social, economic and political status and rights). No independence to women could be envisioned with the every-day threatening of the overlooked and unrecognized high-causal risk factor of breast and other gynecological cancers, the condomization of their inner drives and natural needs…
      “It is my belief that your post of UN Secretary-General represents a unique opportunity to be able to try to help reassess the new scientific evidence about the epidemiological consequences of the never debated and never substantiated arbitrary approaches of condomized control of women’s and girls’ sexuality, a deceptive protection of their reproductive health in MDGs 5 and 6.
      “I have recently written more about these issues in the following editions:
      ♦ Gjorgov AN. (Oct. 2011). "AIDS Changed America with the Twin Breast Cancer Epidemic: Exploring the Consequences of Condomization" (Ch. 22). Editor: Nancy Dumais, InTech, Vienna, Austria.
      ♦ Gjorgov AN. (2009). “Breast cancer risk assessment to barrier contraception exposure. New Approach.” Contributions (‘Prilozi’) Soc Biol Med Sci MASA, XXX, 1, 217-233. (Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Web:
      Arne N. Gjorgov, M.D., Ph.D. (UNC-SPH, Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, NC)
      Author of ♦ “Barrier Contraception and Breast Cancer,” 1980: x+164”

    4. CommentedDerrick Wilkinson

      I have been saying this and writing about it for over 10 years now and seen as somewhat eccentric. Good to see these arguments are at last getting some prominent exposure. I wish Prof. Sachs and the team the very best of luck in developing practical solutions to the increasingly urgent problems we face.

    5. CommentedJohn Brian Shannon

      Hi Jeffrey,

      Impressive article and congratulations on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking you to help mobilize the world’s expertise moreso than you already have.

      The UNSDSN is an idea whose time has come and the fact that it has been initiated, gives me great hope.

      All of the excellent points you raise will not be enough to address our failings at the civilization level. Technology, of course, must be part of the solution. Better governance, must be universal.

      Societal consumption levels must level off and in some cases decrease in order for our civilization to become a sustainable one.

      Which leads me to my point. All the technology in the world, and all the good governance in the world will improve, but ultimately fail to turn our species into a sustainable one.

      Suppose that 90% of the planet's population can and are willing to live a sustainable lifestyle, but 10% insist on living as the 1%'ers do these days, we will miss the mark.

      By 2050, our ecosystem will be in the same, or worse, shape than we are today.

      For now, 1 billion live unsustainably (the developed countries) out of a total population of 7 billion.

      But in 2050 our population is expected to be 10 billion. If 10% of the population refuses to lower their consumption level, we will be worse off than we are now.

      Not to mention a great portion of the Earth's resources will have been used, burned or otherwise consumed before then.

      If we truly are an intelligent species, we will solve these problems, and not just the technological or the governance challenges, but our notions of societal status, as manifested in our consumption levels and living standard expectations.

      We will know by 2050 whether we are an intelligent species or one doomed to living on a depleted and polluted world, from which there is no (yet devised) escape.

      I suggest 'the jury is still out' on that point.

      Best regards, JBS

    6. CommentedGunnar Rundgren

      Some of these are useful technologies. But none of them, even together, will give us a "sustainable" growth or economy. To look at technology for solutions to problem that are mainly social are not useful. It is greed and capitalism that brought us where we are. New technologies will not change that.

      We can already produce enough food and shelter with existing technologies. It is our economic system that perverts the situation, not the lack of technology.

    7. CommentedDallas Weaver, Ph.D.

      I sometimes wonder whether the rational concept of "sustainability" is being is being subverted into a "tool" by those interested in power and control over the lives of others.

      "Sustainability" has a real "devil in the details" problem: generalized top down mandates of all kinds frequently evolve into opportunities that benefit those on top and power seeking opportunists, while not achieving the sustainability goals. The complexity of the problem is far too high. A better way to achieve those goals is to use indirect driving forces like economics (profits) and allow billions of decisions by individuals to evolve a sustainable solution.

      We need to design the economic system with concepts like carbon taxes, raw materials taxes, etc. to evolve solutions to the sustainability problems. This method can capture both large scale sustainability (avoiding carbon taxes with solar developments) and accumulations of small scale actions to avoiding carbon taxes (ride sharing, moving closer to work, planning trips better, and LED lights) being made by the individuals in the society. Although we can obtain some of the former with the present crony subsidy solar energy system at great taxpayer cost, but that will not bring about the significant sum of the more significant individual decisions.

      We already have too much command and control regulatory actions that work against sustainability. More top down regulation will just create more inconsistencies and gridlock, to the benefit of the cronies, "leaders" and "rulers". For example, in the US, we can't recycle a lot of waste feed like food waste to pig/chicken feed without the enormous regulatory burden (FDA regulates animal feed ingredients) rendering it uneconomical. Offshore aquaculture, which is far more cost-effective as well as more sustainable than commercial fisheries (as proven by life cycle analysis (LCA)), is effectively banned in the US by environmental regulators.

    8. CommentedCS Nair

      Excellent and very timely article Dr. Sachs.
      On mobilizing and channeling the world's expertise collectively to bring the power of new technologies, UN must bring get a new platform where all the contemporary small consulting firms and consultants can come together and deploy these new technologies in finding solutions and frameworks. Why not use tele/video-conferencing and electronic bidding in UN opportunities by design and mandate ? Make eligibility and registration criteria more relevant for today's world? Gather and syngergise the power of expertise more effectively? Hope you would cover these in your Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

        CommentedNirmalan Dhas

        This would be a prototype of a 'survival platform' whose task is the generation of 'sustainable communities' which is one of the dynamics that may be generated towards the transformation of the global civilization of the human species into a sustainable one.

    9. CommentedNirmalan Dhas

      Professor Jeffrey Sachs is one of a handful of human individuals who have the courage to look at the issues that will determine the future of the human species and he is right when he points out that one of the major issues whose outcome lies within our power to influence is that the human species “faces no greater challenge than to ensure a world of prosperity rather than a world that lies in ruins.”

      What do we mean by prosperity? Is it the obsessive generation of desires and the compulsive search for their satisfaction through the consumption of our universal environment at as fast a pace as possible which dynamic generates and drives our Global Economy and indeed our current Global Civilization? Is it the generation of a Global Civilization based on the equitable distribution of resources required for the support of human life, its expression and the realization of all that it makes possible, where access to wages is no longer a prerequisite of access to such resources? Is it the continued fostering of the perception of the world as a collection of discrete objects created in time and space and ourselves as autonomous entities created and placed within this created collection of objects all of which along with us are to come to an end in time and space? Is it the facilitation, support and sustenance of the perception of the world as a stochastic process that has neither beginning nor end and ourselves as being amongst a myriad perceptual mechanisms generated by this process in order to perceive the potential modes and pathways of its own being and becoming? What is this prosperity that we seek?

      And how ever we choose to define prosperity we cannot turn away from the question of how this prosperity sits within a context of increasingly volatile weather events and an underlying climate change generated by the pollution of our atmosphere with ‘greenhouse gases’ that drives them. Neither can we turn away from the limited nature of the resources we require to sustain our Global Economy and our Global Civilization which makes it imperative that we look critically at the credibility of the Growth Model of Development on which our Global Economy stands and the potential for Global Monetary Collapse that appears to be one of its inherent dynamics.

      The faith that Professor Sachs places in technology is worthy of note. Technology does indeed hold out the promise of reducing our frenzied movements, finding ways to harvest and use renewable energy, and bringing to every human individual the ‘knowledge’ or ‘culture’ or ‘programming’ that makes us human and for which we currently rely on our social institutions and education system which – on the basis of the results they produce - appear to be ill suited to the task. The linking up of human minds through wireless broadband is one of the most exciting possibilities that will hopefully enable us to perceive as a species what none of us can perceive on our own.

      Rising climate volatility will cause increasing damage. This damage must be looked at carefully. Certainly it is a hindrance to the Building and Sustenance of our Global Economy and Global Civilization. It appears to indicate quite clearly that the path we are on is likely to lead to a neurotic end where we spend the last of our resources struggling to rebuild the very structures that have brought about the climate volatility that destroys them. But this very same volatility brings with it the opportunity to rebuild and to rebuild wisely in locations carefully chosen for their ability to offer the best possible chances of our withstanding the climate change that is upon us. Climate volatility may become the stick that drives the human species towards the transformation of its global civilization that is essential for its survival.

      One of the positions that Professor Sachs has repeatedly articulated is that “The rapidly growing developing countries cannot simply follow the economic-growth path that today’s rich countries traveled. If they try, the world economy will push the planet beyond safe operating conditions. “Temperatures will rise, storms will intensify, the oceans will become more acidic, and species will go extinct in vast numbers as their habitats are destroyed.” This statement poignantly articulates the pathos of those who have learned to rely on the high energy lifestyles that are to be seen in some of the areas of the planet, areas that are called by some the ‘developed countries’. Those in these developed countries hope that if the developing countries are somehow prevented from emulating their extremely high patterns of resource consumption, they will be able to continue their high consumption lifestyles until resources run out. It is clear however that this will not prevent the vision that we can see clearly ahead that “Temperatures will rise, storms will intensify, the oceans will become more acidic, and species will go extinct in vast numbers as their habitats are destroyed” from becoming.

      This forlorn hope must be received with empathy for it is the hope of a people who have been used to living off the ‘fat of the planet’ and who are now faced with the stark reality of the limits of available resources. The process of change that will enable them to accept that what is available is available to the human species and not to any one nation or people and that the human species may choose to use it wisely perhaps dedicating all resources to life’s evolution beyond human being and to its universal spread, while consuming the barest minimum required for its survival in numbers that are commensurate with its objectives. This perhaps is what ‘prosperity’ means within the wider universal context that transcends the desires of human individuals and look beyond towards the possible role of the human species in the universal or cosmic being and becoming.

      At another level prosperity could mean the transforming and rendering sustainable of the principal support systems without which the human species cannot continue to maintain its humanity and human dignity, the ten of which appear to be:

      1. Food and Agricultural Systems
      2. Water Management and Recycling Systems
      3. Health and Social Support Systems
      4. Habitat and Communication Systems
      5. Training and Education Systems
      6. Power Generation Systems
      7. Surgical and Medical Systems
      8. Transport Systems
      9. Emergency Rapid Response Systems
      10. Guidance Systems
      …and which task the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network is possibly the best mechanism to take on.

      And finally Professor Sachs like most of us finds it conveniently to forget – at least occasionally – that the planet has seen extremes of temperature many times over and it needs no salvation and it is the human species that faces its own self-destruction.

    10. CommentedVenu Madhav

      Very nice article Dr. Sachs, what I like most is not only is this edifying but more importantly setting the framework to channel energies and efforts.

      One of the things that I felt needs to be reiterated which although sounds a cliche is: It all starts from the top.
      Let me zero in on the corporate social responsibility aspect which definitely has occupied a lot of real estate on company websites and the walls of various enterprises but has not necessarily translated to real actions with results, especially in certain parts of the world. There could be excuses right from say, the average life span of a CEO is 3-5 years and so where does CSR really stack up when a CEO has to prepare for the next quarterly meeting with investors' to keep interests alive in his business, and when CSR is nice to have but not really a requirement per se. Thus it is quintessential the policy makers pass a law across the globe that all companies public or private depending on the number of employees and turnover indicate their "forward carbon footprint rampdown". I have least faith in all the camera hogging, fifteen minutes to claim proponents and look forward for real people with real goals that every global citizen ascribes to especially when they are part of a business to respect it and sincerely work towards achieving it.

    11. CommentedMia Rizvi

      Professor Sachs first a huge fan of yours, I am an Econ Senior at Maryland. It so happens I am in the process of writing a paper on just this issue of “Sustainable Global market based development”. I am in complete agreement with everything you say in this article except that what you refer to as the “future is here and now”. You are absolutely right when you say “Herein lies our great challenge – the one that will determine whether we follow the path of prosperity or ruin.” Status quo all we really have in front of us are mostly challenges and not too many choices. Sure, if you and I wish to look at it from purely the here and now perspective than May I say we are a doomed people. I certainly do not wish to sound like a harbinger of gloom and doom if anything I really feel this is the “possibility thinkers” paradise. From challenges come opportunities. The current business model with paltry growth in the developed economies and a future that seems without too much promise should in and of itself obviate change. This Professor Sachs is the time for bold thinking. So, while your prescription and the three point agenda you outline for a “happy ending” are absolutely a good start, however, what we really need is a paradigm shift in global cooperation and thinking. I really think this is the time where the developed economies with the established market and technology base have to not lead but partner with emerging economies in discovering and implementing “alternative” market based real solutions. It is not enough and even counterproductive for the developed World to lecture the developing other half on the need for change. The “do as I say and don’t do as I do” line just will not just not work but continue the stalemate. As I said I do not wish to sound like the Proverbial end is here or even near (which it is) but for the pioneers and the risk takers there is an enormous potential and an untapped market that has a long term promise of growth and prosperity. Can you and I work to make to bring this enormous hidden potential to the fore? That is the challenge!

    12. CommentedShane Beck

      Civilizational collapse and massive die-back is more likely....

        CommentedNirmalan Dhas

        Much more than a one liner is required here. Most people cannot see this and even less can see what may be done in response. The few of you must take the trouble to articulate your perceptions clearly and at length. No one else can do it.

    13. Commentedsrinivasan gopalan

      Spreading prosperity, improving public health and saving the planet no doubt constitute a grand vision as set out by the learned professor. But what is required today is not mere slogans or catchy phrases but a dynamic global leadership drawn from both developed and developing countries for a collective commitment to promote sustainable developmental goals. But this calls for a massive sacrifice on the part of the advanced countries in an altruistic gesture so that most of the rest of the developing and the least developed countries could catch up with their lost developmental traction. This is easier said than done even in a globalized world, where powerful countries are refusing to budge from their rigid stance on issues that have a bearing on developmental challenges in general and climate change issue in particular. The essential goodness of mankind can still be invoked to ensure that those who are left behind or bypassed by salutary developments across the universe are still brought on board through mutually helpful policies that address age-old problems of penury, poverty, illiteracy and ill-health that continue to bedevil a large swathe of countries the world over. Sanctimonious sustainable development solutions network can seldom succeed, if the responsible powers remain stuck in their domestic ills with the least thought for the rest of the world where adverse living standards remain the only stark reality to millions. This need not be a pessimistic hoot but a ground reality if only the global leaders woke up from their self-imposed sense of complacency and apathy. G.Srinivasan. Journalist, New Delhi, Inde

    14. CommentedOlanrewaju Kamil-Muhammed OSENI

      Greed & corruption bane of african leadership and why is that still a mystery.Problems is that most finance ministers in africa study oversea and will always use US,Europe and the likes as the basis for their economic theory which ends up meaning so little. For example, Nigeria is growing macroeconomically but poverty in increasing by the day and what is the meaning of the growth. US & Europe are struggling ad they care more about their own economies than others and this affect their attention to others.The world i belief need a chnge of idea when it comes to growth and wealth. It should not be about how much money or GDP but rather the quality of life we can achieve.

    15. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

      If one reverts to the very recent successes of ‘shared prosperity’, the most vivid example could be found in communication, as also highlighted in Mr. Sach’s article. What are the intrinsic factors that made the communication costs such that almost all constituents of the society could benefit from it on a sustainable basis? Was it competition, deregulation or the astounding and undisputed success of innovation? It is perhaps innovation that got the better of every other facilitating constituent in negotiating a ‘fair price’ for the society and ‘common good’ happened at the end. We should not also forget the role of internet, which was far from being a private venture, one in which the motive for profit did not even feature. Convergence of such conditions, in other sectors, had been beset with challenges of all kinds and so had ‘shared prosperity’ remained a pipe-dream.

    16. Portrait of Pingfan Hong

      CommentedPingfan Hong

      The role of technology can be paradoxical: it can both be the cause and the solution to many environmental problems we are facing today. Cars and technological innovation in drilling, for instance, are the causes of the increased GHGs. Mobile phones and broadband are currently promoting prosperity, but we never know whether one day in the future we will discover some hazardous side effects, just as we have realized what detrimental side effects the fossil fuel can cause to our atmosphere after we benefitted from it for decades. Of course, we have to move on, keeping creating new technologies and hoping they can solve our problems, leading us to a better life, until...

    17. CommentedZsolt Hermann

      I agree with the writer, we are at crossroads.
      And I also agree that everything depends on our free, human choice. And it is true only humans can make such a choice no other living creature possesses this option.
      But in order to have a choice we need at least two options.
      Up to this point humanity evolved in an egoistic, self calculating way based on our human ego. This is not a sin, or a fault, this is how we are born, egoism, self benefit, self profit is built into our nature, this human ego differentiate us from other animals, while our biological, even psychological makeup is basically identical with them.
      Thus the whole of human history has been driven by the incremental growth of our egoistic nature, thriving for more, wanting more, exploring, and consuming more.
      So far we wanted to explore and know more in order to exploit it for ourselves regardless of the consequences. All the initially benevolent human inventions, finds were transformed into either weapons or vehicles to gain more profit for a small minority.
      And now this behavior, attitude is drawing to a close as the fully evolved global, interconnected and interdependent network cannot tolerate this cancer like attitude without a total system collapse.
      While on one hand the global crisis, more precisely system failure is a negative event, threatening with serious even catastrophic consequences, on the other hand it gives us for the first time a choice, how we want to evolve from now on.
      We usually only evaluate, think and scrutinize when in distress, when hitting a wall. We have reached this wall.
      Now finally we can deploy the unique human capability of self assessment, and the capability of changing our own nature adapting to the changing conditions around us.
      Now we can start evaluating and assessing the surrounding and obligating vast natural system not in order to exploit it, but to learn how we could adapt to it and continue life as partners with it opening up its potential much deeper than ever before because we live in total harmony with the laws governing the system instead of inventing our own sub-systems, laws that go against the natural system around us.
      In truth the crisis is not a negative event but a chance to break through into a new level of existence.
      But it depends on our choice if we are ready to change ourselves riding over our ego using its power for the right outcome or we choose to stay controlled by it.

        CommentedNirmalan Dhas

        Very nicely expressed...will we chose to change ourselves. Can we do it...and if so do we work with the ego...control it...some say destroy it... I think we have to befriend and guide it..but to do that we have to convince it that we know what we are is afraid that if it lets go we will crash the planet...and it does not realize that its own actions are doing just that...if we change will we still be recognizably human?...