Our society, communities, knowledge, beliefs, practices, culture, arts, stories, myths, philosophies, psychologies, healing arts, education, innovation, expression, and connection are all forms of common wealth that humanity either builds together . . . or depletes and destroys. I regard these as part of my “true wealth”, and they are all intimately tied to the wellbeing of others. Our common wealth of culture and community is connected to each person’s ability to create, invent, express, live, breathe, heal, nurture, and explore. If my fellow human beings do not have the time or opportunity for these experiences, the “richness” of my own life within our culture and society diminishes.
And, as I wrote in the Billionaire Buddha, our fellow humans are only one small sliver of the total equation. Our human existence is reliant on a vast network of living systems. In this time of climate crisis, our fate is tied up with the vitality or demise of all other species of plants and animals that co-create the ecosystems upon which our own existence depends. No amount of fortune is worth anything on a dead planet. Our human wealth relies on the “wealth and prosperity” of the forests, oceans, plains, rivers, skies, glaciers, mountains, deserts, lakes, and so on. Buddhist perspective (on one level) rests on an understanding of the interconnected web of existence. We make true wealth together or not at all.