Let us begin with the timeless question that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?” Certainly, you can see that when you look at history, in times of war, truth flies out the window, if it was even in the room to begin with. When there is a war going on, both sides will use propaganda for a variety of purposes. But the question is: what is the long-term outcome of a conflict? How will it be looked upon once the fighting stops? Will there at some point emerge a dedication to truth?
You can say right now: “What will be the nation that emerges in the best possible way from the war in Ukraine? Will it be Russia? Will it be Ukraine?” Well, that depends on which nation has the greater dedication to truth. Again, many people will say: “Well, what is truth?” The Russians claim that their way of looking at the war is truth. The Russians claim that their motivation for starting the war is truth. The Ukrainians claim that their view of the war is truth, and that what they have said during the course of the war is truth. Who is right? Who is wrong?
The increase in trust and affluence
What is it you see that has happened in the world, especially after the Second World War? You see that there is a rising number of democratic nations. You see that these nations have started to cooperate in various ways. You see that these nations have experienced a quite dramatic increase in affluence and the standard of living of the general population. You see that the economy, the entire level of the economy in these nations, has gone up, has increased tremendously. If you look at the level of the economy in most modern democracies, you will see that it is much, much higher than it was after the Second World War or even before the Second World War. The economy has been accelerated many, many times above what it was.
What is the basis for this growth? Well, it is actually an increase in the dedication to truth. But this is not what you would normally see as truth if you are thinking in terms of which religion, or which ideology, or which philosophy is the truth. Truth has different facets and truth has a very practical facet, which is very simply this: you can enter an agreement with two people and they both trust that the other side will keep the agreement. This is an aspect of truth.
It is also very linear. Two people, two businesses, two nations come together. They negotiate an agreement, which each of them believes will be to their own benefit. They finalize the agreement, they sign it, and they go away trusting that the other side will keep the agreement. If the other side says: “I will deliver X amount of goods at this time” then it can be trusted that they will stand by this. And if the one side says: “We will pay for these goods at this time” then the one delivering the goods can believe that the payment will be made. This very, very simple mechanism is the basis for the incredible increase of affluence you have seen in modern nations, especially in the democratic nations.
You may say today that there is a much higher level of cooperation between, for example, the nations of Europe than there was right after the Second World War. Back then, there was very little trust between Germany, France and England, for example, or Italy, Spain, for that matter. There was very little trust. But throughout the decades, this trust has been increased, and it is precisely because of this one mechanism, that the nations have increased their commitment to what we can call an aspect of truth, namely: “We keep agreements, we are trustworthy.” But more than that, what you see in the EU and NATO is that there has emerged a certain foundation of shared values: “We are dedicated to peace. We will not attack each other.” If the nations in the European Union believe that tomorrow a dictator could take over Germany and decide to attack their nations, there would be no European Union so there is a dedication to peace. We will not attack each other.
But there is also a dedication to democracy: “We will not allow our nations to revert back to some fascist, or Nazist, or communist dictatorship.” There is also beyond that, a dedication to truth: “We will base our nations to the greatest possible extent on facts, on reality of what is actually going on, not some kind of ideology. We will base our nations on practical realities, a practical evaluation of what is best for us and what is best for the whole. We will also be dedicated to making honest agreements and keeping those agreements.” In other words, honesty is a facet of truth. You are honest with each other. That is the basis for both sides thinking that an agreement will be kept and that is the basis for trust. You see an increase in trust among European nations and that is one of the most important foundations for the increase in abundance.
Dependability of the laws of nature
Without truth, how can there be trust? Without a dedication to truth, how can there be trust? It cannot be done. It never has been possible to do it in the past. It certainly will never be possible in the future. This is an aspect of what we might call the linear mind. Now, despite the limitations of the linear mind in terms of knowing a greater truth than what you can observe with the outer mind and the senses, there is tremendous value in the linear mind.
The linear mind is actually what is behind what you call the laws of nature. You can trust that the laws of nature will function a certain way and will continue to function that way. If you know the laws of nature and you make calculations for how to send a rocket to Mars, then you can trust that the rocket can continue on its trajectory and Mars is still going to be there when the rocket arrives. There is no variance here, in these laws. You can trust that if you do something today that builds towards the future, then it will manifest in the future. There will not be some lapse in the laws of nature that suddenly obliterates your plans or your efforts.
In a sense, the laws of nature are linear because they are based on certain invariable principles so this is another aspect of truth, invariability. Nature does not change its mind all of a sudden, and decides to suspend gravity so you all float off into the atmosphere. You can rely on the natural laws to continue working. Dependability, invariability, linearity allows people to plan, to set plans in motion, often very large and complex plans and they can trust that when they execute their plans, they will come to fruition. This is what you see in the world at large, not only in the European Union, but in many other nations that have become part of what you might call, the world order.
“The world order” vs. voluntary development
The term “the world order” is like waving a red flag in front of a bull to many conspiracy theorists, and certainly there are manipulators who are plotting to control the world, but they are not able to do so and why not? Consider a very, very simple mechanism. What is the essence of a conspiracy? It is secrecy. What is the opposite that has happened in the world since the Second World War? Openness, which is another facet of truth. You are not seeking to hide something. How can you enter an agreement with somebody if that somebody cannot trust that you are not hiding anything that will cause you to betray the agreement? You see that the power elite, the manipulators, who are secretly attempting to create their world order of control, they are on the losing end of history.
If they had been able to control the world, then the development just described could not have happened. This is not saying they do not have a high degree of control. They have a large degree of control over the economy and the financial system, but they do not have complete control, and why is this? Because the greater cooperation between nations and businesses is not an order, it is not a world order, it is not something that is forced from a central authority.
You look at the world, and what has happened over these last decades? The increase in freedom, cooperation and affluence. It is not forced, it is a voluntary movement because all of these nations have risen to the level of humanity where they can see that this is best for us, but it is also best for others. In fact, what is best for us is what is best for others. A win-win situation is actually best for us, because it is only to our advantage that the affluence in other countries rises. Because if people in other countries have more money, we can sell more products to them and therefore we become more affluent when other people become more affluent, and the entire economy is raised to a different level.
This is not a forced development. It is a voluntary development based on an increase in humanity and an increase in the recognition of how the world works. An increase in the recognition of these basic principles that make the universe work and make the universe sustainable. Truth is one of those principles that makes the world sustainable. Invariance makes the world sustainable. Transcendence is also part of it, but transcendence happens based on these laws and principles, and therefore there is invariance in the transcendence. Transcendence is based on the invariable laws and principles. The reality is that what Putin calls “the world order where the West is dominating the world” is not a world order, it is not a forced organized effort. It is actually not controlled from any central point.
It is an emerging awareness of the very simple fact that Jesus described in the parable about the talents, that if you multiply your efforts, you will be rewarded. And how do you multiply the efforts? By doing unto others what you want them to do to you, or rather that actually you are seeking to raise the whole. That is how you receive the greatest return of your efforts. There is a growing recognition of this, although few people would put these words on it. But nevertheless, there is in the collective consciousness a growing recognition.
The ultimate con: honesty
There is an old book by the American author John Steinbeck that describes a person who all his life was a con man trying to cheat, trying to always get ahead by cheating other people. And finally, one day he had an epiphany that the ultimate con was honesty, because what was he trying to do? He was trying to get an advantage for himself and all of his life he thought the only way to get an advantage for himself was to take something from others, and thereby do a disadvantage to others. He thought there was a limited supply, so for him to get more he had to take from somebody else. But finally, he realized that what was the greatest benefit for himself was what was to the benefit of others because thereby the entire level of affluence is raised, and it benefits everyone. This is what many, many people in the modern nations have grasped.
What Putin calls “the West”, but it is not only the West, certainly many people in Asia have started grasping this, in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India to some degree. Many people, in fact, people in all nations have started to grasp this: “If we are all able to trust each other, we can manifest much more abundance, and the greater the amount of abundance that is in the world, the more this will benefit ourselves.” Yes, of course, there is a power elite that is attempting to take more and more of the abundance and concentrate it in their hands, but nevertheless there is still an increase in the abundance and they cannot control all of it. Although there are obvious exceptions, the general trend is clear, and this is all based on trust. You can trust each other. We make a business deal, we both keep it, we both benefit. If one of the parties does not keep it, it harms both parties. You are harming yourself by not being trustworthy.
How can we trust Russia?
What does all this philosophical discussion have to do with the situation in Ukraine? Well, many things actually. On an immediate level you can see that the Ukrainian government has been much more intelligent than the Russian government in terms of dealing with the media, the western nations, in terms of promoting their version of events. This is partly because the Ukrainian government has a higher dedication to truth than the Russian government. You will see, if you look at this with the linear mind, that the Russian government has made many statements that have then been either contradicted by other statements they have made, or have been contradicted by actual events. The foreign minister said early on in the war: “We are not targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure.“ Well, only last week you had a massive attack on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. You can see there is a great inconsistency between what the Russians say and what the Russians do.
Now, there are of course some people who are aware that this is part of a strategy. The Russians want to create chaos and confusion. They want the world not to be able to predict what they are going to do. In the Russian mind they think they gained some advantage from this. They think this is one of the ways to challenge “the world order of the West” as Putin calls it. But there is no world order. There is trust, and what are the Russians doing? They are demonstrating to anyone who has just an average level of intelligence that they are not trustworthy. How can you trust anything the Russian government says? How can you trust any agreement they sign? Why not simply let that grain deal expire? Why pull out of it now? Well, there are various reasons for this, including that they know that if they pull out of it, prices of grain will rise and they will get more money. But it is all part of this strategy where they think that if they are unpredictable, they will gain some advantage.
They think that what has happened in the West, the increased trust, is a weakness. And they in their minds think that the way to challenge the world order is to be completely unpredictable. Waving the flag of nuclear war, all of these statements they have made that are contradicted by facts or by other statements, they think that if nobody knows what they are going to do next, they have some kind of power. They think this causes the world to fear them, or to even respect them. But the part of the world that has moved on to this higher level of trust, simply look at this and shake their heads. It is like a bully in the classroom who is acting out in order to get attention. But as the little boy who cried “wolf!”, you can only do this so many times, and then people just shake their heads and turn away from you. How can you take a country seriously that behaves like this? How can you trust them? How can you cooperate with them? How can you do business with them?
You see here a fundamental difference in world view. When you are below a certain level of consciousness, a certain level of humanity, you look at the world in a particular way and you are absolutely convinced that you are right, and that this is the only way to look at the world. You often also project upon others that they think the same way, that they have the same intentions. That is why Putin is projecting onto the West that they forced him to invade Ukraine, NATO is an aggressive force that wants to attack and destroy Russia.
But what the western nations want is to be able to trust Russia, so they can cooperate with them to the mutual benefit. The western nations look at whatever Putin is doing and he has no chance of forcing them. They just shake their heads and turn away, as many western businesses have done because they have realized: “We cannot do business in Russia because we cannot trust that there is continuity, we cannot trust that the situation will not change tomorrow.”
The challenge for the Ukrainian nation
All of this also applies to Ukraine because you have a certain common heritage of the Kievan Rus and a certain group of people that have a certain mindset they have shared. At the fall of the Soviet Union the mindset in Ukraine was not that different from the mindset in Russia, around Moscow. So the Ukrainian nation is facing the challenge where you transcend the mindset that sees truth not as something linear, but truth is something you can change any time, you can say something without really meaning it, you can enter an agreement without being willing to keep it. There is no continuity, there is no consistency. This goes, of course, with honesty from the government towards the people and towards other nations. It also has an impact on the business climate in Ukraine and corruption.
There is an old joke that a company in Russia wants to build a building and they get bids from three other companies. One is a Turkish company, and the cost to build the building will be one million. The other is a Russian company, they say the cost will be two million, and when they ask why, they say: “Well, we pay the Turks one million to build the building and we pocket the other million.” Then there is a third company that says the cost will be three million, and when they ask why, they say: “Well, we pay the Turks one million, we keep the second million, and we give you the third million under the table.” The joke is, of course, that the third company is always the one who gets the contract. This is what corruption does, the company that is best qualified will not get the contract. The one that is most willing to cheat and be dishonest will get the contract.
The cost of corruption
But what is the effect of this on the economy? Well, it is first of all that everything costs more than it needs to cost and somebody has to pay for that. If this is an apartment building the people who move into the apartment will have to pay more in rent, in fact three times as much in rent, as they needed to pay if there has not been corruption. And this reverberates throughout the economy, which means that the economy is kept at a lower level than it would be if there was no corruption. Many people will say: “Well, we are public officials, we are hardly paid anything by the government, we could not survive on what the government pays us so we have to take bribes so we could survive.” But why is it that the government does not have money to pay its employees a decent salary? It is because of corruption, where so many companies are trying to cheat and avoid paying taxes so it becomes a self-reinforcing effect where corruption prevents the economy from growing to a higher level and you see this in all countries that are corrupt.
You see it in Iran where you have this growing percentage of young people who cannot find a job, who see that it could take them decades to find a job, and that means if they do not have a job, how can they start a family, how can they buy a house, how can they move forward in life? And in large part this is corruption. There is not that business climate of trust. In a Western economy you may also have a situation where a company wants to build a building and they elicit bids, but they will look at what is the lowest cost, and what is the company that is most qualified to build the building. And based on that evaluation they will award the contract, not necessarily to the cheapest bid but to the one that is deemed to be the most qualified to perform the job.
This means that when a company submits a bid to build a building, they can trust that they will be evaluated in an honest way. They do not have to cheat, they do not have to pay bribes, they can get this done. Companies can also trust that if they apply for a permit from the local government, it will be evaluated based on its merits, not on whether they pay a bribe to some official, or many officials. There are companies who have looked into doing business in Ukraine and realized how many bribes they have to pay and they have said this is not worth it, or they have said: “Well this is against our business principles, we will not do this.” And this keeps the economy of Ukraine at a much lower level than it would otherwise be.
The oligarchs and monopolies
Then, of course, you have the whole concept of the oligarchs which you see in other nations around the world, primarily in Russia but not exclusively in Russia, where there is corruption where certain companies will be allowed by the state to be in a privileged position. But what is the effect of this on the economy? It is that these companies are granted a virtual or even a real monopoly, and what happens when a company has a monopoly? Well, it exploits the people.
The dream of the big capitalists in the West in America in the 1800s was to create a monopoly because that was the only way they could make more money because then when you have a monopoly, you could set the price artificially high. But what is the result of all people having to pay more for certain goods? It is that people have less money to buy other goods and this means the entire economy goes down. So, you now have a situation where you have a few companies, a few oligarchs who are making billions and billions of dollars, and they think they are doing great. But the effect of it is that the economy is kept at an artificially low level so all the other people are making less money. Many businesses cannot be started and this means that everybody in the population is kept poor while a few oligarchs get rich.
This has nothing to do with truth because the truth is that the more affluence there is in the general population, the more it will benefit everybody except those few at the top who do not really care how much money there is in the economy, they just want to have more than the population. Once they have enough for themselves, they actually want to keep the economy down so they can continue to feel they have more than the population. This is the feudal lords of the Middle Ages who sat there in their castles living an affluent lifestyle while the peasants who worked the land could barely survive and feed their children. This is not truth because the truth is: when you multiply the talents, when everybody multiplies the talents, then the economy is multiplied and everybody has more. This is the basic truth about the economy.
Rebuilding the economy
Again, what can Ukraine do? Well, it needs to make a shift and say: “We need to overcome corruption. It is the primary goal before we can become a member of the EU, before we can become a modern nation, before we can increase the economy, rebuild the economy.” And you have the opportunity now because you can clearly say: “We cannot allow a few oligarchs to have these privileged positions and make all of this money. We need to build the entire economy and we can only do this if people have money to spend. We must prevent the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and spread it out to the entire population. Otherwise, we have no chance whatsoever of rebuilding our economy. We will stay at an artificially low level unless we make this change.”
Then of course there needs to be a dedication to being open and honest, not as long as the war is going on but certainly after. There needs to be honesty, there needs to be willingness to go back and look at the entire situation, and look at what could the government have done better, including should they have taken the threat more seriously from the very beginning and prepared the country better for an invasion. These are things that can be done once the war stops, and they need to be done, and the government needs to be honest about this and not fall into the trap of wanting to maintain this image, that they have sort of gotten used to now, where they seem to be heroes and almost infallible.
This is especially a challenge for the president, will he continue to be the relatively humble realistic person he was before? Or will he start to feel that he is the hero and he wants to maintain this image of being the hero, so he will try to maintain it even if it prevents him from being honest? This challenge goes for all in the government, even in the military and the level of dedication to truth and honesty will be in direct proportion to the progress that Ukraine can make after the war.
How do we need to change?
This situation has shaken the collective consciousness of Ukraine to such an extent that there is a real potential that Ukraine can accelerate its growth and therefore can catch up to the other Eastern European nations who have already joined NATO and the EU. Ukraine was behind these nations, or it could have joined NATO and the EU a number of years ago. This is not seeing that Ukraine is now this advanced nation. It is a nation that needs to catch up, yet this can be done. It will require effort and a willingness to look at: “How do we need to change?”
You cannot join the EU and think that this is going to be charity forever. You need to step up and say: “How do we qualify? How can we recognize that we did not qualify before, and what do we need to do now in order to qualify?” The potential is there, the potential is tremendous that in 10, 15, 20 years Ukraine will be such a different nation that many among the older generation will be unable to believe it. They would not believe it today if they were told.
This is another aspect of truth. You look at reality: “Where are we at today? Where do we want to be in the future?” And then you recognize that you can look at the future, create a goal and say: “This is where we want to be.” But then you need to be honest and be willing to look at: “This is where we want to be, this is where we are today. There is a gap. There is a gap between the two. How do we cross that gap?” Not by wanting it, not by having an ideology and following that ideology.
Has Ukraine learned anything from the Soviet experience and the demise of the Soviet Union? It could be that ideology does not work because it is out of touch with the sustaining principles of the universe. You need to be willing to look at those principles and bring yourself and your nation into alignment with those principles. Because if you do that, then you can plot a step-by-step course that will help you overcome the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. You get to that goal in the future by aligning yourself with the basic principles of the universe that are dependable, that are linear, that can be trusted. And therefore, when you take one step you get to that level, and when you take the next step you get to the next level, and you continue taking one small doable step at a time until you are at your goal. But this requires the willingness to be honest and say: “We are not there, and we are not going to get there if we do not change. How do we need to change? What do we need to do in order to change?“
This is what there was not a widespread willingness to do before the war. The war has changed everything and therefore there is a potential that a critical mass of people can step up to that willingness to say: “What will it take for Ukraine to become a modern democratic nation that has affluence for the entire population not just for a few? What will it take for us? How do we get there from here?” There is no catch-22 so that you cannot get there from here. In fact, the entire concept of a catch-22 was actually inspired in order to show people that when you look at a situation from a certain perspective it seems like we cannot get there from here. But the reason for this is that you are not willing to look at yourself and say: “How do we have to change?” Because in a sense you can say: “We, as we are now, cannot get there from here, where we are now. But if we change ourselves and our perspective, then the “new we” can get there from where we are, after we have changed our perspective.”
So, there is no catch-22 here. There is no insurmountable obstacle. It is all a matter of your willingness to be dedicated to truth, to honesty, to being trustworthy. Right now, you have a great degree of trust from the modern democratic world. You need to be very careful that you maintain that trust. And you can only do that, not by lying, not through propaganda, but through the dedication to being honest and truthful and being trustworthy. Clearly the modern world trusts Ukraine much more than they trust Russia. You need to keep it that way if you want maximum progress for Ukraine.
When it comes to a situation like you have in Ukraine, certainly there is physical healing of the wounded soldiers and civilians, but in terms of the healing of the nation, well, healing happens through truth, your dedication to truth. By being dedicated to truth, to looking at reality, to being trustworthy, that is what can heal the nation both in a physical way – in terms of healing the economy and the infrastructure, but also in terms of healing the nation psychologically, stepping up to a higher view of itself. You have the opportunity to forge a new national identity. If you want maximum success, it must be based on truth, honesty, openness.