Chapter 7: Empty from Birth to Death
And to me, wealth is a certain kind of creativity. If five thousand rich people who have all created wealth individually are together, they can create wealth a millionfold. Their standard will not go lower; their standard can even go higher. Or they can start sharing. They can start inviting people who are not rich but who are creative in some other way, who will enhance the life of their commune although they may be poor.
Five thousand rich people, together with their genius for creating wealth, are capable of creating so much wealth that they can invite thousands of other people who may not be rich in the sense of being wealthy, but who may be rich as painters, as poets, as dancers, as singers.
What are you going to do only with wealth? You cannot play music on money; you cannot dance just because you have so much cash in the bank. And these rich communes can start becoming bigger, absorbing more and more creative people. These rich communes will need every kind of thing.
Talking about the rich commune, I am reminded of the Jaina community. There was a time, in India, in the history of Jainism.because Jainism is a small community and it is a community of rich people. In India you cannot find a single Jaina beggar, a single Jaina orphan. In the ancient days it was a fundamental rule that if a Jaina was poor, then all other Jainas would simply contribute just little parts.
For example, if he needs a house, the whole commune simply provides it. Somebody provides the wood, somebody provides the bricks, somebody provides the tiles and the whole community provides some money for the man to start off with. You have changed a poor man into a rich man. Nobody has been forced to do it, it is just out of generosity. And that man will do the same when a new arrival happens to come to the commune.
You are asking me right now what the rich people should do. They should drop their private ownership and make a rich commune wherever they can manage - and they can manage everywhere, anywhere. They can make beautiful places all around the world, and slowly, slowly more people can be absorbed.
For example, you will need plumbers, however rich you may be; you will need mechanical people; you will need technicians; you will need shoemakers. Invite these people - and they come to you not as servants, but as members of the commune. They will be enriching the commune doing whatever they can do the best. And it is the commune’s duty to raise those people to the same standard of life.
Slowly slowly we can transform the whole world - without any bloodshed and without any dictatorship.
A communism that comes out of love, out of intelligence, out of generosity, will be real. A communism that comes through force is going to be unreal. There is not a single man in the world, howsoever poor, who has nothing to contribute.
I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln.I love this anecdote so much!