Frozen souls

I do not know about you, dear readers, but I was stunned when I learnt that more than sixty people died from the unusual cold weather in Europe in the early days of spring.

Actually, the end of autumn statistics is probably more depressing. Unfortunately, I could not find the exact data to verify it. It has long become commonplace: the poor, often elderly and sick people, who are not necessarily homeless, die of cold every year by dozens. They are neither climbers caught in a snow storm nor the polar explorers crashed somewhere near the pole a hundred kilometres away from their base. They are ordinary people. In a prosperous Europe.

Our civilization entered the third millennium. We conquered the atom, launch spaceships into the depths of the Universe and consider the exploration of Mars. How did we manage to reconcile ourselves to the fact that the annual dozens, if not hundreds, of lost lives are perceived not as a catastrophe but as dry statistics?

Unfortunately, it did not start yesterday or even a hundred years ago. The folklore of different peoples and the works of various writers, from Charles Perrault to Eugene Schwartz, reflected the motifs of a frozen heart and petrified soul. Dante’s most terrible the ninth circle of hell is clad in ice.

But nobody cares. Scientists and meteorologists shout themselves hoarse whether we shall expect global warming or global cooling. However, they should be more concerned about the frozen, petrified human souls and hearts and think about how to bring them back to their natural state. How to teach people to sympathize with their neighbour again and be merciful and unselfish to any living being.

I am a Buddhist and I believe that humanity is on the threshold of the age of Buddha Maitreya, the Buddha of Love. A new epoch must bring a new, planetary and harmonious society, put an end to wars, hunger and disease and, ultimately, obtain victory over death.

It sounds tempting but heaven on Earth will not come out of the blue. People, humanity as a whole must make efforts to deserve a better and happier life.

I hope I would not offend anyone if I say that we and our souls are too lazy and our self comes first. Everyone from common staff member to CEO and politician is guided by selfish motives while taking decisions. However, some are mostly concerned about their own well-being while others strive to control corporations or states. And at the same time, many of us have no doubt that they live quite a complete, respectable life.

But there is too few who care even about the good of their neighbour. Under circumstances, it's ridiculous to even talk about the welfare of mankind, our planet and universal harmony.

In my opinion, this is not due to the insidiousness of human nature and certainly not to the intrigues of aliens or demons. The narrowmindedness, the unwillingness to develop intelligence is the cause of selfishness, no matter how it presents itself.

That is why I announced and implemented FIDE slogan "One billion chess players – one billion smart people". A smart person always remembers that he does not live in a vacuum and any of his deeds will bear consequences. Not only will he avoid doing anything to worsen his neighbour’s life, but he will certainly try to help him improve his life: in fact, the better others live the better you will live. If, for the sake of this, it is necessary to somehow limit your ambitions and desires, then so be it.

Life would be much better if we had a billion intelligent people on Earth. Such a large community would inevitably influence the policies of states, which would lead to a reduction in wars, economic and trade conflicts. Smart people prefer to come to an agreement over a chessboard rather than protect their interests on the battlefield.

And there is no doubt that we are able to make deals. Take for example a nuclear research centre in Switzerland, the famous CERN, where an international team of scientists conducts research at the large hadron collider. This is very expensive enterprise, however, over the past fifteen years, several countries have managed to agree to cooperate and we have advanced in the knowledge of the atom much further than in the previous century. And what if we were able to agree in the same way on the establishment of an international centre for disease control? And to use at least a fifth of the military budget of the US, Europe and Russia for its financing? Surely, cancer and AIDS would already have been gone, if not cornered.

However, there is the permafrost in the hearts of those who decide the fate of the world. There is still no such agreement. It seems to me that this is because we – at least in the "developed countries" – incorrectly prioritize the key issues at hand. And the cause of this is the same notorious egoism. While one should care about people.

It is believed that capitalism and democracy, under which a large part of the world's population lives, is the best form of social and economic relations to which humanity could come to. But are we living in an ideal world now? In my opinion, we can change much if the well-being of man is taken as the best measure of the success of society and the state. There should be no higher value than the right to life. And not just life as such but life free from the threat of hunger and cold, from the threat of ignorance and lack of culture. And most importantly, the life free from- from the threat of premature death from disease and war.

There is nothing fantastic or supernatural in this idea. There are calculations showing that the resources of our planet and modern technologies are able to provide a decent life for a much larger number of people than the Earth now inhabits. And getting rid of diseases and wars depends only on the goodwill of smart people who are able to come to an agreement.

I see no other alternative to the development of human civilization. And I am sure that the earlier we acknowledge it and take action, the earlier will be the coming of the blessed age of the Buddha Maitreya. The hearts and souls will thaw out faster and people in outwardly prosperous countries will stop dying from the cold.