Joseph R. Simonetta

We advance technologically easily but not so socially, politically, or intellectually. We war with each other in every way conceivable. We destroy our environment, deplete our resources, and damage our health. Why?

We don’t drive around in vehicles that are thousands of years old. We don’t see chariots being driven down our streets. Yet, we cling to religions thousands of years old that are products of the infancy of our intelligence.

Consequently, many of us exist in a world of fiction and fantasy. We do not understand our reality and its behavioral demands. We do not recognize the security that is found in the oneness in which we exist.

We create all kinds of divisions. We have nation-state tribes, political-party tribes, religious tribes, corporate tribes, ad infinitum. These divisions result in a troubled world characterized by separation, exclusivity, segregation, and unilateralism.

We have created a destructive and unsustainable momentum that we must arrest and reverse if we are to sustain humanity and advance our civilization. To do so requires a sensible global belief system — a nonreligious understanding of what is sacred and cannot, at our peril, be violated, damaged, dishonored, or destroyed.

A unique truth has emerged in our lifetime. It informs us that we exist as a tiny fragment of an immensely larger interlocking whole in which the parts are interconnected and dependent upon each other for survival. Simply put, everything is connected to everything else.

We exist, not separately, but in communion with all living things. Life is an interrelated interdependent phenomenon. Everything is in relationship. That is the nature of the universe and life.

The practical value of this knowledge lies in the realization that for us there are three relationships that are foundational.

The first is our relationship with our self. The second is our relationship with others. The third is our relationship with our environment.

If we chose one word to optimize each of these relationships, our relationship with our self is about health. Our relationship with others is about kindness. Our relationship with our environment is about respect.

The quality of our lives reflects the quality of these relationships. This is a sacred construct that exists as an integral part of reality. This is not a human construct.

It is a sacred construct because these relationships represent that in our lives which, at our peril, we cannot violate, damage, dishonor, or destroy. When we do, we suffer. This is simply the way life works.

This is not contrived or fiction, arbitrary or subject to dismissal, or in any way negotiable. It has nothing to do with gods, religions, or anything supernatural.

How we take care of ourselves, each other, and our environment determines not only the quality of our lives but whether we will live or die. These relationships are sacred. They are the wellsprings of life. We emerged from these relationships. We are sustained by them. We are surrounded by the very sacredness that, before science, we sought from afar.

We get by with destructive behavior in the short term. In time, we find that we are victims of our own exploitation. For the architecture of life reveals an exquisite intimacy among all phenomena.

Life broadcasts a riveting truth from which there is no escape. It’s the reverse side of the Golden Rule. Where the Golden Rule commands that we do to others as we would have others do to us, the reverse side of the Golden Rule warns that what we do to others we do to ourselves.

In an interconnected world, all exploitation and oppression returns to its source inevitably. This is a reality that we must understand, and from this understanding make the critical mind shift required of us if we are to sustain humanity and advance our civilization.

This mind shift is to understand clearly, unequivocally, that what we do to others we do to ourselves. This is evident in our three foundational relationships. In each there exists a dynamic between self and other.

If we damage and destroy our environment, we damage and destroy ourselves. If we mistreat and are unkind to others, our actions return to haunt and torment us in one form or another over time. If we abuse ourselves, our health, in any one of countless ways, sooner or later, we will suffer the consequences.

When all of this becomes evident and acted upon, our belief system and behavior become aligned not with some fantasy or fictional story, but with the larger unrelenting reality in which we exist.

Our belief system is not something for just one day of the week, or a time of the day when we pray or bow to this or that god, or to be celebrated only in special places. Our belief system becomes our lifestyle, and our lifestyle becomes aligned with and honors reality.

Reality has behavioral demands. They can be summarized in seven words which form three simple rules for living: Be healthy. Be kind. Respect the environment.

These seven words have the power to change the way we govern, the laws that we enact, the way we do business, the products that we create, and the services that we offer. And, how we treat our employees, our environment, each other, and ourselves.

Leaders must model these seven words, teachers must teach them, and we must exhibit them if we wish to sustain humanity and advance our civilization.

To do so requires embracing a completely new understanding of the reality in which we exist. Our window of opportunity to make the necessary and monumental shift in thinking is small compared to the large obstacles within our current belief systems that must be dissolved. Yet, we must do this if we and all the life forms that share this jewel of a planet are to survive.

In a very real sense, it’s time for humanity to honor our current knowledge and grow up. Only then will we arrest and reverse our destructive and unsustainable momentum, end our needless suffering, prosper together, find peace, sustain humanity, and advance our civilization.

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Joseph R. Simonetta’s latest book is ONE, For the Third Millennium. It’s free at

Originally published at


  • Joe Simonetta

    Joe, born 11/22/43, holds master's degrees from Harvard (Divinity) and Univ. of Colorado (Architecture) and a B.S in Business from Pennsylvania State University.