The Coronavirus outbreak brings up broad moral and spiritual questions
In an era of neoliberal ideology of individualism and selfishness, COVID-19 has made us realise how badly we depend on real life social interaction, within our communities, and with family, friends and fellow citizens, sharing love, beauty, joy and laughter,
things that our current monetised global leaders, as it seems, have never heard of!
The undeniable collapse of integrity, honesty, trust, kindness and decency- by and large- in our public and private life has fueled racial hatred, intolerance, anger, anxiety and contempt.
In the face of the global pandemic catastrophe where is our leaders’ moral and spiritual compass?
Even a cursory look at trends in human behavior will instantly reveal that kindness, compassion, sympathy, empathy and good are on the decline all over the world, while greed, selfishness, narcissism, corruption, and cruelty are on the rise.
This, therefore, brings me to the following pertinent questions:
What in the world has happened to the moral and spiritual compass? Where has the Common Good gone?
The Time is Now to Speak Truth to Power
‘Our last and only hope is prophetic fightback – a moral and spiritual awakening that puts a premium on courageous truth telling and exemplary action by individuals and communities.’- Cornel West
Photo: The Elephant
It is no exaggeration to say that millions of people around the world are disheartened as they watched Trump and Biden descend into bitter dualistic debate, deteriorating into an ugly display of contempt, and the world’s leaders everywhere struggle with the immense task of holding their countries together, navigating their path through the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
As these and other events unfold on the global stage, where and when our political culture is becoming more and more polarized, the question of moral and spiritual leadership remains uppermost in our minds. What qualities do we need to galvanise others for the common good? How do we hold conflicting narratives without conflict? And where are our role models?
May I dare, with total humility, suggest that one source of inspiration for us, can be our own GCGI itself, where over
the last many years we have connected our intellect with our humanity and moral compass.
We have recognised that our socio-economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is valued. Necessary for this journey is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other – we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers – and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential. It follows that every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and the well-being of the whole human family.
One of the greatest challenges of our time is to apply the ideas of the global common good to practical problems and forge common solutions. Translating the contentions of philosophers, spiritual and religious scholars and leaders into agreement between policymakers and nations is the task of statesmen and citizens, a challenge to which Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) adheres. The purpose is not simply talking about the common good, or simply to have a dialogue, but the purpose is to take action, to make the common good and dialogue work for all of us, benefiting us all.
In short, what the GCGI seeks to offer - through its scholarly and research programme, as well as its outreach and dialogue projects - is a vision that positions the quest for economic and social justice, peace and ecological sustainability within the framework of a spiritual consciousness and a practice of open-heartedness, generosity and caring for others. All are thus encouraged by this vision and consciousness to serve the common good.
Furthermore, as our world becomes increasingly polarised,selfish and self-centred, we also cannot overestimate the profound need for leadership which can stretch beyond the opposites of self and others to recognise the common humanity behind different identities, life experiences, abilities, opportunities, cultures and civilisations.
I recall how passionately, as an ambassador for the common good, I have spoken about these and other similar issues at international conferences in many different parts of the world:
Kamran Mofid Speaking for the Common Good
The 3rd Annual International Conference on An Interfaith Perspective on Globalisation for the Common Good
The Middle East and Globalisation for the Common Good, 26-31 March 2004, Dubai
Globalisation for the Common Good
Invited seminar convened by
The Revd Canon Vincent Strudwick
Chamberlain and Fellow Emeritus,
Emeritus member of the Theology Faculty,
University of Oxford
(Mawby Pavilion, Rewley House, June 5th 2008)
Globalisation and Education for the Common Good: A Path to Sustainability, Well-being and Happiness
Dalhousie School of Business, Dalhousie University, Canada Public Lecture Presented at School of Business Administration
Dalhousie University Wednesday 3 November 2010
Overcoming Greed, Dishonesty and Delusion: Reclaiming the Moral and Spiritual Roots of Economics
A paper presented at
AN INTERFAITH DAY IN LONDON
Into the Heart of the World
International Association for Religious Freedom; with World Congress of Faiths & Religions for Peace
London Central Mosque & The Islamic Cultural Centre 7 December 2011
Awakened World 2012: Engaged Spirituality for the 21st Century
Rome- Florence, Italy
October 13-21, 2012
“Rethinking the Global Economic Order”
Beyond the Wasteland: Seven Common Good Steps to Build a Compassionate World
Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation, Vienna, Austria
The 3rd CGDC Annual Meeting "Dialogue and Cooperation for Change"
3-4 December 2013, Palais Liechtenstein, Vienna
"The Value of Values to Build a World for the Common Good"
World Congress of Faiths, Annual General Meeting
London School of Economics, University of London
The Alumni Theatre, New AcademicBuilding (NAB)
Wednesday 20 May 2015
Global Ethics Forum
A Project of
Responsible Leadership in Action
The Value of Values
25-27 June 2015, Geneva, Switzerland
"Values to Make the World Great Again”
Oxford Theology Society, Keble College-University of Oxford, 8 March 2017
Cortona Week in Todi, 22-29 June 2019– Being Human in a Technological World
...And here are also literally 100s and 100s of articles, blogs and postings too, which shed light on our work on the common good, moral and spiritual compass and much more. Interested readers can access them below:
And there you have it!
Thus, perhaps, when it comes to a moral and spiritual leadership for the common good, may I dare with total humility, suggest that one source of inspiration for us can be our GCGI itself, where over the last many years we have connected our intellect with our humanity and moral compass.