Numerous social engineers and political scientists over the years have contemplated what a truly enlightened society might look like, so I imagine one more opinion can't do any great harm. Of course, I'm neither a social engineer or a political scientists, so my opinions carry no more weight than anyone else's, but hopefully you may still find something in them of interest.

I've suggested in other articles the prospect that even government institutions are capable of evolving a degree of spiritual sensitivity, portending the prospect that a utopian world is not only possible, but even inevitable, but do I really believe such a thing is truly possible?

Yes and no. One the one hand, I certainly don't believe it's possible to achieve such a thing at our present level of spiritual consciousness. We simply still live in too much fear and darkness for anything approaching a utopian world to be possible today. Despite such being the promise and expectations of many failed governments and political philosophies over the years, it is something they can never deliver. Theirs is the "pipe dream" so many accuse the spiritual of advocating, and one that has led to the deaths of literally millions of people whenever it has been attempted.

On the other hand, if the world could collectively come into a high degree of awareness—step out of the darkness of separation and walk into the light of unity, for instance—what might such a world look like? How would it function? For that matter, would it be possible at all or merely another "pipe dream" after all?

Clearly it is impossible to know the answer to such a question with anything approaching certainty, so I won't try to pretend to speak as an authority on the issue. However, I might offer some suggestions on how such a society might look. Again, these are merely ideas and not the last word on the subject (or even the first word, for that matter) but hopefully you will be able to get a better idea of what a spiritually conscious world might look like—as I understand the term.

First of all, it's important to remember that regardless of what political perspective you adhere to, we all want to see the world become a better place. This is as true for the conservative as it is for the liberal; the trouble is that we disagree on how best this might be brought about and have very different ideas of what constitute "better" when it comes to forging this great society. However, I think it's fair to assume that we're all really looking for a world in which all human beings are treated with dignity and respect, all basic needs are met, personal freedom is guaranteed, and peaceful coexistence between both individuals and nations is the norm rather than the exception. This, however, is the great chimera of history which leaders and governments have promised to provide if one will only follow them-usually to their destruction-and have always failed to deliver on.

Past and even present failure, however, does not mean success is impossible. Human history is replete with examples of man attempting various ideas repeatedly only to suffer failure after setback, before finally achieving success. (One needs only to look at the evolution of manned, heavier-than-air flight—a process which took literally centuries to finally realize—to appreciate this fact.) As such, I submit that such is possible, but it can only be realized from within rather than from without. In effect, it would come about naturally rather than be imposed from without through some global affirmation of a set of laws or ethics. In fact, if done properly, the end result would not even be a government in the truest sense at all, because the end product would be a world that doesn't need laws, and without laws, it would be one that needed no court system, a law enforcement apparatus, or prisons. And without these things, it would be a world that needs no funding, no oversight, no regulations, and no leaders to run it all. It would just be each individual doing what they are led by spirit to do-making it a truly lawless society.

Of course, most people chafe at the astonishing idea is that a spiritually conscious society would have no laws, imagining that such a thing would be a recipe for chaos. After all, it is our laws that keep order in society and prevent the strong from destroying the weak. Without the rule of law we would very quickly revert to the law of the jungle, or so it is assumed.

However, we need to realize that laws are incapable of truly maintaining a fair and just society. We have all sorts of laws on the books that outlaw everything from murder to rape and from jaywalking to public nudity, yet does that mean there are no murders, rapes, thefts, or any of the thousands of other little injustices that we inflict upon each other on a daily basis?

Laws don't protect anyone, especially from those who are intent upon taking what they want at any cost. They may, admittedly, have a deterrent effect, but only to a degree and to those who are basically law abiding in any case. However, even then this is often minimized when the temptation becomes stronger than the fear of the consequences or when the risk appears worth it. Many crimes aren't even premeditated but happen on the spur of the moment without any consideration as to the consequences. In this, then, laws are not designed for the law-abiding, but for the lawless as a standard by which they may be prosecuted and incarcerated.

People who are spiritually conscious have no need for laws because they live by a higher standard. They don't kill or steal or take a woman by force not because it is illegal to do so and they fear going to prison, but because it is not in their nature to do so. It is as alien to them as it is for pigs to whistle. In fact, for such people they could not even conceive of such actions or be tempted in any way, which is the hallmark of a truly spiritually conscious person.

As such, a spiritually enlightened society would have no laws. There may still be unfortunate events that occur in such a world, but they would be the results of accidents or carelessness (or, more precisely, inattention) than of the will. In such a world, people may still be killed, but it would never be intentional. Windows may still be broken, but it would be as a result of an errant baseball rather than a rock thrown in anger. Of course, there would still be disagreements and disputes and perhaps even feelings of anger, but such would be ultimately resolved through compassion, arbitration, and forgiveness.

But how would such a society deal with the basic necessities of life, such as maintaining basic services and the distribution of food and medical care? This is often where the traditional utopian model breaks down, for it is nearly impossible to imagine how people might be induced to repair bridges, clear snow, or collect garbage without some incentive to do so.

Communism tries to answer this predicament by proposing common ownership of all goods and services, making each person a willing participant for the greater good of the community. The shoe maker, for example, gives his wares to those who require them and in exchange the baker provides him with free bread. Unfortunately, while this may work in some instances on a small scale—such as in a commune setting—it has proven a dismal failure whenever it has been attempted on a larger scale, largely because not everyone needs the same things. In essence, while the shoemaker may require bread from the baker for his sustenance, the baker can use only so many pairs of shoes. Or perhaps the shoemaker makes shoes of such low quality that no one wants them, so what happens when a person has nothing to contribute? Within the communist system, such a person would soon be deemed a parasite and so be either forced to engage in a type of labor they may be ill-suited for or are simply exterminated. And, of course, there is never a shortage of individuals willing to make this determination, which is why communism always ultimately fails to deliver on its utopian promises.

Spirituality, in contrast, recognizes that not everyone is equally capable nor does everyone want the same things out of life, meaning that there will always be a disparity within the population. Some desire to be fabulously wealthy while others are content to live simple lives uncluttered by the trappings of great wealth. Some people are naturally gifted in ways others are not, or they have a drive and determination that others may lack, which is why within the context of capitalism, some people become fabulously successful while others can barely pay their bills. A spiritually advanced culture would recognize such as inevitable and not condemn it, but try to work with it. Spirituality, then, would never limit or dictate what a person could do or how much they could have, nor would it ever insist on how those gifts should be used or the profits spent.

Most assume that in such a case, the haves will lord it over the have nots, which has usually been the case throughout history. However, we are talking about a society in which everyone lives according to the law of the Spirit—both the wealthiest and the poorest—meaning that such inequalities would not be tolerated by anyone, rich or poor. In other words, if a millionaire was living in a high degree of spiritual consciousness, he would recognize his obligation to provide for others—not through state mandated taxation (which is nothing more than an external mechanism for redistributing income)—but through charitable giving and the willingness to use his resources to provide opportunities for others to also prosper to whatever degree possible. At the same time, a person of humble means who is also living in a high degree of spiritual awareness would recognize their obligation to do their best to provide for themselves according to the opportunities made available to them and not expect to be taken care of. Additionally, the enlightened millionaire would not feel they were superior to those who have less while those who have less would not feel they have a right to the millionaire's resources. In other words, a spiritually enlightened society would not be one in which everyone had the same degree of wealth or education, but one in which everyone lives up to the potential within them. In this respect, then, a spiritually enlightened society would appear in many ways still quite capitalistic, but there would be an alliance between the classes and not warfare between them, as has traditionally been the case throughout human history. There would be a genuine desire among the wealthy and talented to see what we crudely call the "lower class" succeed while the "lower class" would want to see the business owners and industrialists prosper, knowing that they benefit from their success as much as the wealthy benefit from their labors.

Of course, for this to work, there would have to be a high degree of spiritual enlightenment evident, or else it would all degenerate into the sort of selfish competition we commonly see today. Additionally, it might be pointed out that a truly enlightened individual would see through the transitory illusion of wealth and not desire it, but that's another point entirely. The point I'm trying to make here is simply that within the context of spirituality, the desire to take care of each other would not be government mandated or imposed, but would be heart-felt and natural. It would reflect the natural, inherent compassion of spirit.

There is also the issue of pride in personal ownership or accomplishment to take into account. People like to accomplish things rather than simply have them handed to them. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the purr of an engine you repaired yourself or eating a fine meal you created with your own hands. Additionally, there is a sense of pride that comes with having built a remarkable collection of fine art or in possessing an object of astonishing beauty. While the spiritually enlightened recognizes that material objects are temporal, transitory objects that merely reflect the illusory nature of the physical universe, they are still manifestations of the divine—in temporal physical form—and as such things to be treasured for their inherent perfection. In other words, people would accumulate nice things not because they are valuable or were a good investment, but because of the inherent beauty contained within them. In some cases, material possessions can also be triggers that take us back to our childhood or remind us of deceased loved ones long passed, and so take on a certain inherent value they would not have to another person. This is why communal ownership never has and never will work. Objects mean different things to different people.

But even in a spiritually enlightened society, there are going to be people who are less conscious than others and so may be unwilling to participate in this shared adventure. What of them, the cynic asks?

Spirit recognizes that each person is on an individual journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Those who are farther along the path realize the difficulties those who are still burdened by the illusion of separateness and so demonstrate a degree of patience and compassion that may seem, at first glance, entirely unreasonable. But long-suffering has always been the hallmark of true spirituality, for it is a reflection of God's love for himself and his creation. Additionally, in a society in which the majority of the residents are well along in their path of understanding, those who resist the pull of spirit will quickly find themselves at war with themselves, which carries its own brand of punishment.

In the end, it's best to leave the idea of achieving a utopian world alone. Whenever someone comes along who is determined to try it, they invariably end up doing more harm than good. It is my belief that if and when humanity does accomplish its utopian dream, it will occur naturally over a long period of time-possibly even centuries in length-and not appear suddenly. It will be realized incrementally, much as societies that once recognized slavery as being perfectly acceptable today unanimously recognize it for the evil it is; this is a progression of spiritual consciousness which occurred with astonishing speed-less than two centuries-after having lived with the institution of slavery for thousands of years beforehand. This demonstrates that while a utopia is still far off, it is not impossible to achieve if only we hold on to the vision of it. It will simply remain for the future to realize it.