Saving the World by Rediscovering Happiness

At a time when people worldwide are “occupying Wall Street,” it might be wise to ask: Is there a way of life by which we are not dependent on Wall Street? Surely we have it in us. By trusting our lives to the members of our extended families is how we made it possible for our species to flourish during the long period before monetary and legal systems took us over. Our need to return to a state of mind in which we seek contentment and security in our relationships, instead of in wealth and privilege, is what the book, Eden – Regaining our Spiritual Freedom, is all about. Having established a way of life based on real needs, we will no longer look to “Wall Street” for salvation – which, in the end, it cannot offer anyhow.

To modern humans, life’s purpose is to produce and distribute resources. Indeed, we evaluate the ideologies of Capitalism and Communism on the basis of which system enables us to produce the most, a contest Capitalism has won. But the notion we are on Earth to produce resources is a mistake. We are members of a highly-evolved social species for whom relationships, not resources, are our most basic need. During the 200 thousand years or so that humans existed in our natural state – before there was wealth and privilege – we attained our resources through our relationships. The fact that our need for relationships is paramount is evident in that even people of wealth and privilege are not happy when lonely, or when their relationships are not working. Others not so well off, but whose relationships are working, are happy.

In our natural state, humans managed for our species’ to flourish by trusting their lives to one another. By our genetic disposition we know that trust is the prerequisite for any functional relationship – something that neither capitalism nor communism allows. In capitalism, our personal sense of wellbeing is far more dependent on the value of our bank account than on the wellbeing of those around us. How can one possibly trust one’s life to relationships based on other than mutual needs? In communism, survival requires that we account directly to the state according to edict, rather than serve one another according to soul-felt needs. In either case, relationships are rendered so insufficient that, instead of realizing happiness through them, as do the members of other social species, we – including the privileged – live mostly in pursuit of happiness.

And where do we seek happiness? Having effectively banned relationships based on trust, we look for it in the acquisition of things. This explains our dependence on Wall Street, despite the failures of capitalism including even the threat of monetary system collapse. We continue to worship capitalism while the proliferation of goods and services it so proficiently makes possible threatens our very survival via a denatured habitat.

If a few of us were somehow inspired to secure our lives in relationships, instead of money and law, including rules that prescribe how we are to serve the other members of our extended families, the idea of spiritual freedom might just catch on. When realizing happiness in our relationships, ever-increasing numbers of us would no longer have to pursue our fruitless search for happiness in wealth and privilege, thereby relieving us of our gluttonous need for “things.” This would alleviate our dependence on Wall Street, while easing the pressure we are placing on this beautiful little blue marble suspended somewhere in deep space – the one that produced us and that is also trying to sustain us.

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