This SEED-SCALE workplan was on a wall in the library of a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A person may disagree with any creed—doctrine is not the center of religion—every religion has a conceptualization of values. Values shape the relationships in a community. Religions are not the only driver that shapes relationships, but they, like creeds, gather the value-based systems and determine relationships. The methods of SEED-SCALE were carefully gathered to fit with all religions. They seek to offer tools that can be applied in all value systems.
For animists, the value system is connection to Nature (fear, awe, mystery). For the Abrahamic faiths, values come from a One God who attends to His (yes) peoples. For Hindus and Buddhists, the underlying value is release from human self and entering the Divine. Capitalism, framed as a religion, priorities production for self. Values sign how people assign behaviors. SEED-SCALE advances a frame by which any faith system can apply its values—it allows this framing to fit every group’s situ and situation.
Playfully, perhaps helpful, the classic equation how physical energy and matter interrelate can give perspective on human energy relation with what matters to people. The equation is, of course, E=MC2 This is a statement of energy potential: a massive amount of energy is in every bit of mass. As a metaphor, then, when people decide what matters to them, in coming together they can generate transformative forces: societies change en masse.
Empowerment—power comes from people applying their energies. But while one person can be empowered and transform him/herself, society changing is in en masse. Collectivism is the historic bond for humans. Until recently, it was possible to believe technology would link aspirations to more effective action. While technologies have certainly done that, they also focused individuals to look at screens in their palms not look to a future of sharing alms across community. Rising social media, connecting individual-to-individual seems to be advancing individualism, hardening lines of separateness.
In our lifting up of individualism as a value—individual rights, taking product from eternity to use for one individual today, prioritizing personal wants—individuals separate from community, disengage from the assumption of acting together. Lost is the force of all, while growing is the focus on self (and wealth). Taxing the wealth of individual gain is not the same as truly sharing human energies together, whether in sweat, song, or sports. The ascendancy of currency as a proxy for human energy, and its management of through economics—while appreciating the liquidity of exchange is just that: exchange. It does not so powerfully change the human soul and uplift as does sharing in sweat, song, or sports.