Since everyone was a partner in the trading ventures and everyone was involved in the decision making process, everyone profited from the trading ventures. The risk and the wealth were shared by everyone in each city. The economy was inclusive and worked for everyone not a select few. They developed an equitable system where people were not poor nor were people extraordinarily wealthy. If one family was more active in trade ventures, of course, they would achieve more wealth. However, no one family acquired too much of the community’s wealth; no one lived in poverty. Instead of fighting and competing with each other to get ahead, they used their energy to focus on achieving a common purpose, expand international trade and create prosperity for everyone. Upward mobility became an integral aspect of their trade. Anyone could aspire to acquire greater skills and wealth but not at the expense of the society as a whole. All members of their society benefited and people cared for the well-being of everyone.
As you can see, a more solid foundation of heart coherence and heart connection to others builds with each principle. At this point the Phoenicians valued cooperation, collaboration, creativity, harmony, life, freedom, peace, relationship, family, allowing, acceptance, alignment, appreciation, respect, dignity, reverence, caring for others and fairness—all qualities of the Phoenician soul. Remember, whatever we appreciate, grows and expands and re-wires our brains. Our brains are altered by the qualities and practices which we embody in our culture.
After they began trading with Egypt and all the families acquired their new found wealth, they stopped living in huts and built multi-room homes out of stone in Byblos and eventually other cities. Now the experience of treating all people in their society with equality became the norm and was stored in their memory files. No matter what town the Phoenicians lived in, people were treated with fairness.
Scientific research demonstrates that being altruistic is natural. Selfishness is culturally conditioned. Greed is culturally conditioned. The more a society operates interdependently focused on a common vision, the fairer individuals act toward each other. Working together as a unified force field, creates a sense of fairness in a group.
Giving to others, being generous and kind, acting compassionate and helping others is not the exception, but our natural state of being. Acting with personal self interest is not our natural biological state but is culturally conditioned.
Lynn McTaggert reports that many ancient societies including Aborigines, ancient Egyptians and Eastern religions such as Zen, Taoism and Buddhism and indigenous cultures, conceive of the universe as inseparable, connected by some universal energy or life force. This central belief breeds an extraordinarily different way of seeing and interacting with the world. We see the thing; they see the totality, the relationship between the things. Giving is rewarding and a plus in a relationship rather than a minus.
Even though most Americans are generous in helping those less fortunate then themselves, we have yet to truly understand that inequality has been increasing over the last 30 years ago, while regulation on the financial sector has been decreasing along with tax decreases for the rich. As income and wealth inequality continues to rise, middle class incomes are being squashed downward and poverty is on the rise. Last year, the top 1 percent of Americans took home 22 percent of the nation’s income; the top 0.1 percent, 11 percent. Ninety-five percent of all income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent. Nothing destroys democracy more than inequality. And, it’s a disgrace that child poverty is on the rise in our country.
Pope Francis, in his official platform for the papacy, equated an economy of exclusion and inequality, as an economy which kills. He believes the global economic system is an “idolatry of money” and asked global leaders to focus on eradicating poverty and the growing inequality. He believes politicians should guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”.
The Phoenicians’ understood that health, happiness, harmony and prosperity of all people in their society were crucial to building a solid foundation and key to embracing life affirming values.
What a marked difference there is in the American and most global cultures today from the Phoenicians in ancient times. Which society do you want to be a member of, given a choice? The Phoenicians were exceptionally wise. Each of us has a choice. We can align ourselves with the wisdom of the Phoenicians and transform our inner world, our country and the world. Or, we can stay the course and continue to experience crisis after crisis and become weaker and eventually face extinction like most societies in ancient times.
What would the world look like if all people prospered and were treated with respect and dignity regardless of their material wealth, nationality, race, religion, or position of power?
This is the tenth article in a series on the Ancient Wisdom of the Phoenicians. Article 11 is: