Since arriving in America, (May 1932) I have been asked many times what solution I have brought for the social problems now confronting you – what did I have to offer that would solve the problems of unemployment, prohibition and crime that would eliminate the strife between individuals and nations, and pour a healing balm of peace upon a troubled world?
The answer has been so simple that it has been difficult to grasp. The root of all our difficulties, individual and social, is self-interest. It is self interest which causes corruptible politicians to accept bribes and betray the interests of those whom they have been elected to serve, which in turn causes bootleggers for their own profit to break a law designed, whether wisely or not, to help the nation as a whole. This in turn causes people to connive for their own pleasure in the breaking of that law, thus causing disrespect for law in general and increasing crime tremendously. Self-interest in other forms causes the exploitation of the great masses of humanity by individuals or groups of individuals seeking personal gain, which impedes the progress of civilization by shelving inventions which would contribute to the welfare of humanity at large, simply because their use would mean the scrapping of present inferior equipment; which, when people are starving, causes the wanton destruction of large quantities of food, simply in order to maintain the market prices; which causes the hoarding of large sums of gold when the welfare of the world demands its circulation.
But the elimination of self-interest, granting even a sincere desire on the part of the individual to accomplish it, is not so easy and is never completely achieved except by the aid of a Perfect Master. It is because self-interest springs from a false idea of the true nature of the Self, and this idea must be eradicated and the Truth experienced before that elimination of self-interest is possible.
Lord Meher, Original ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 5, pp. 1652 – 1653.