Most of us were raised to believe that giving was a nice thing to do, that it was the right thing to do. Today there is more evidence than ever that giving is the necessary thing to do if we want to survive and thrive as a species.
"There are no passengers on spaceship earth, only crew members," said Marshall McLuhan in 1965. Buckminster Fuller coined the term Spaceship Earth in 1963 to convey the idea that in order for humanity to enter the next era, we would have to work together as crew on a ship. Through his teachings, Bucky wanted to change his generation's perception of the world and demonstrate that humans have a function in the universe.
"Humans have a destiny," he said, "to serve as information gatherers and local problem solvers in support of the integrity of an eternally regenerative universe."
His call was for people to start operating with integrity (from the Latin integritas, meaning "wholeness, perfect condition") and convert their experience to the highest advantage of all; to love comprehensively and live in service of the whole living system we are part of.
A futurist thinker, Bucky knew his teachings collided with the socio-political context of his time.
"The very essence of political economics is that there's not enough to go around," he said. "It has to be you or me."
Today our awareness is evolving, as is our economy. While standard economic theory states that people are interested only in their own material gain, new insights from behavioral economics show that our primary motivator is not greed but compassion.
Science is confirming what wisdom traditions have pointed to for thousands of years: that everything around us is part of a living universe, and we are only stewards of whatever we "own."
As the old economy of fear and greed is crumbling, a new economy of partnership is being born.
I feel blessed to serve a profession whose leaders are frontrunners in this global shift. Network marketing offers a unique context, vehicle and structure for doing business based on the awareness of our unity, through servant leadership, cooperation, community involvement and charitable giving.
We live in a time of profound change and opportunity, when a breakthrough of generosity could turn global problems around. The heart is the instrument that will help us navigate through these times. Giving from the heart lifts us out of ourselves, offers renewed vision and unleashes our true creativity.
In 1981, shortly before he died, Bucky said, quite prophetically: "If you dare to go with your own mind as opposed to going with the crowd, you'll be doing what you see needs to be done because you feel you want to do it. You will want to qualify to be able to serve one another, and you'll have no question at all about earning a living. If you do this, we will win."
JOSEPHINE GROSS, Ph.D. is cofounder and editor of Networking Times.