In trying to imitate other societies, Sadhguru explains, policymakers may overlook what works best for their own citizens. The main policy of any government, he says, must be the wellbeing of the citizens of that nation, and achieving this requires continuous evolution.

Sadhguru: If you look at the kind of economic structures we have created today, they are simply unrealistic. For example, if you take the American economy as the ideal, because that is among the richest societies on the planet, and if you provide that level of economic wellbeing for the 7.2 billion people on this planet, I think we would have just another 30-40 years before extinction. We have to reinvent the way we run the economy so that it is not self-destructive in the process of creating prosperity.

One thing we should definitely relook at is the very idea of what development and prosperity is. Prosperity does not mean simply more, more and more. There is only one planet to live on. We cannot continue endlessly with more, more and more. Societies have to look at how to generate wellbeing for everyone within what we have.

No Common Prescription

Unfortunately, societies get identified with policies, systems and ideologies, and we forget that all this was created only for human wellbeing. For any government, the main policy must be the wellbeing of citizens of that nation. All other policies should be around that. To fulfill that, we may have to continuously evolve what we are doing – it could change every other day as situations change.

One of the biggest pains in Asia in the past few decades is that many nations tried to imitate how Western societies crafted themselves. This has not fit into people’s way of thinking, feeling and doing things in the East, and it is causing a lot of struggle. A lot of policymakers have been influenced by one successful culture and, in trying to implement the same thing elsewhere, have caused disasters and pain. This is not a question of right or wrong. It is just a question of what works for a particular culture or nation.

The Role of Government

A government is generally not designed to run the nation in its entirety. It is the people who have to run the nation. It has always been so. Governments are there to create the necessary atmosphere. For example, in India we drive on the left side of the road, but if someone starts driving on the right and someone else drives in the middle, we will crash into each other every day. The government is there essentially to see that people don’t crash into each other in whatever they are doing – whether it is economics, social life or something else.

There may be situations where the government has to step in sometimes and pump up a few things because it may not be happening the way it is supposed to happen, but any long-term intervention from a government could, in most situations, lead to resentment. The intervention should be timely and limited. There is no common prescription; these things must be decided and determined by different societies as it is necessary for them. But essentially, at all levels, the government is present to create the right atmosphere.

For the First Time in History

Today, for the first time in history, we as humanity have resources, technology and capability to solve all the basic problems of human population. The only thing missing is inclusive consciousness. Every society should focus on producing the right kind of people who have a larger vision of life. If we want to create gentler and more compassionate economies, where every human being can find a way without being ground down, it is very important that public policy comes from a more inclusive understanding. Essentially, every human being should be focused towards creating wellbeing for all life on this planet. That should be the fundamental policy.

Editor’s Note: In “Bha-Ra-Ta: The Rhythm of a Nation,” Sadhguru looks at the past, present and future of this nation, and explores why this culture matters to every human being on the planet. With images, graphics and Sadhguru’s inspiring words, here’s Bharat as you have never known it! Available as “pay what you wish.”

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A version of this article was originally published in Asian Age.