WE ARE all embodied spirits, more spirit than body having been created in the image and likeness of God. This is a truism that must be the basis of our existence so that the development of the spirit must be the priority rather than be enslaved to the whims and caprices of the body. WE ARE all embodied spirits, more spirit than body having been created in the image and likeness of God. This is a truism that must be the basis of our existence so that the development of the spirit must be the priority rather than be enslaved to the whims and caprices of the body.
It is sad to note that the present development paradigm indulges so much on unbridled materialism and consumerism which does not only run counter to the essence of our very own spirituality but can be likened to the workings of an auto-immune disease syndrome (Aids), where no less than the body’s defense mechanisms are attacking vital organs. We decimate our forests, pollute our rivers and bays; we produce food yet contaminate our water table following costly agricultural technologies tied up to the heavy use of toxic chemicals; modern living adopting lifestyle that what makes of a throw-away-society – all done in the name of development.
That kind of development can only be described as ruthless and futureless which has made the impossible now possible, which is the end of life on earth. Biodiversity embracing the billions of life forms has tremendously decreased as these life forms which have evolved on earth for billions of years are now extinct. As the earth warms and the oceans rise, we are now confronted on how to feed, clothe and house the exponentially growing earthlings that will reach the 9.3 billion mark in 2050.
If our way of making a living is killing Mother Earth because it is just all about how to respond to bodily needs, that kind of mindset has totally disregarded man’s spirituality. In fact, the growth-at-all-cost development strategy is rooted on the brutal, jungle-like philosophy of the “survival of the fittest”, “fittest” being the most aggressive, the strongest – all but physical qualities.
This world is not just all physical. As embodied spirits, we must develop our spiritual qualities as these are what are the essentials when we will leap to the Great Beyond. In the world inside the womb of a mother, the fetus must develop the physical qualities as it is a sort of hell living on earth without senses or arms or feet.
But the next life will not anymore be physical but spiritual, thus, we must develop what are the essentials in the spiritual world such as love, service, intellectual prowess, patience, kindness, honesty, integrity and all the God-like qualities that qualify us to end up in the loving embrace of God. How can you end up in God’s loving embrace if all you have developed on earth is the physical devoid of love. All material wealth will have no bearing in the spiritual world as signified in the biblical lines, “what will profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul.” That kind of development that is just centered on materiality and consumerism must now be debunked. There is now the increasing call to replace it with one that is sustainable, holistic and community-based that puts the people at the center and at the mainstream of development processes. Human development must take precedence over materiality. The first principle of sustainable development is the full development of human potentials. The most pitiful sight on earth is to see a human being dying without developing his/her human potentials whose heart has not throbbed with that celestial fire called love.
We in the cooperative movement adhere to the United Nations’ definition as the full development of human potentials, the expansion of choices and opportunities. For development to be so, it must pass a three-way test. First, is it ecologically sustainable, meaning, it does not harm the environment but instead nurtures it. Second, does it benefit the people in whose name and for whose cause it is there for? And third, does it have people’s participation? We believe that unless people participate in development processes, all the outpourings of development programs will just be palliatives. All told, unless all these three criteria are satisfied, no development can take place, only mal-development.
Mahatma Gandhi had put it more succinctly when he said, “If man has to be saved from doom, development must be in harmony with nature and not at its own expense.”
As embodied spirits, let us all be one with God’s creation in the spirit of love and service exemplifying “paglilingkod” at “pagmamahal” through cooperativism.