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Worldwide happiness - say yes, pass it on

By Martin Gifford
Created 15/09/2005 - 06:50

G'day. Martin Gifford is a regular Webdiarist. This is the second piece in his series for Webdiary on worldwide happiness.

by Martin Gifford

In my recent article, Let’s Create Worldwide Happiness [1], I suggested that creating a happy human world should be the new reference point for our actions, meaning that, in principle, everything we do should benefit all (or at least not hurt others) in the short-term and long-term. Aiming for the benefit of all is better than aiming for one’s own benefit, or for the benefit of any individual or group. Expansive, inclusive, harmonious goals are life affirming, whereas smaller goals are often defences against life.

In presenting a case for change, a person needs to describe the suggested change, counter the objections, and close the deal. My previous article outlined the suggested change, and I countered many objections in the comments section. The purpose of this article is to briefly summarise the suggestion, the objections, and the counterarguments, and then to close the deal.

The natural stages of life are:

  1. Establishing security (like a vine growing roots and branches).
  2. Appreciation and enjoyment of current creation (like a vine flowering), while co-creating the future (like a vine fruiting).

In other words, we survive to live, we live to appreciate and enjoy our bodies, our minds, Planet Earth, and The Universe, and by appreciating and enjoying life, we co-create the future. Doing these things is my definition of human happiness.

These stages of life fit in with all philosophies and religions since philosophy essentially means ‘love of life’, and the major religions hold that we earn paradise or liberation in the next life according to what we do in this life. If you explore why people pursue anything, you will find that the quest for greater happiness for themselves or others is at the heart of it.

Given that we have completed stage 1 (we are the dominant species), we must be ready for stage 2 (appreciation, enjoyment, and creation). The buds are ready to bloom; we only need to let it happen. It is now the easiest thing to do.

However, if we do not know about stage 2, we unwittingly repeat aspects of stage 1, leading to pain, boredom, and frustration. When we do not know about co-creating the future, we become destructive e.g. we find scapegoats to blame and punish such as refugees or the nine alleged drug traffickers in Indonesia, or we indulge in war such as the War in Iraq or performing terrorist acts. Destructive behaviour generates enemies and so it spoils the very security to which we cling. Progressing to stage 2, on the other hand, increases security.

The essence of the way for creating a happy human world is to act harmoniously (appreciation and enjoyment of all) and inclusively (co-creating with all). This is natural once we realise that the initial survival emergency is over and that stage 2 is next. Acting harmoniously and inclusively will create an environment of goodwill that is conducive to the natural blooming of widespread happiness. In that environment of goodwill the rich will help the poor to help themselves, the strong will help the weak to become strong, and we will resolve misunderstandings before conflicts arise. Cooperation uses less time and energy than conflict does, and it produces better results.

The objections to establishing worldwide happiness as our goal fall into two general categories:

Objection 1 - “Worldwide happiness is a bad goal.”

Objection 2 - “Worldwide happiness is impossible now or forever.”

A good refutation for objection 1 is as follows: All people naturally seek greater happiness (security, appreciation, enjoyment, and fulfilment). To experience feelings of happiness, people need to be sensitive. But if you are sensitive to feelings of happiness, you will also be sensitive to the suffering of others. Therefore, for an individual to be happy, all the people she or he meets, sees, hears about, or reads about must be happy - the more the better. In addition, human beings need good relationships to be happy, firstly because we are social creatures, and secondly because we need others’ goodwill to maintain the present good and to create a better future.

In other words, it is only in a happy world that we can a) relax and be sensitive enough to experience happiness, b) enjoy the happiness of others, and c) convert conflict and competition into support and cooperation, thereby efficiently maintaining present good while improving the future.

A good refutation for objection 2 is that technology, information, and channels of communication have evolved to the point where worldwide happiness is now possible. We now have the physical and mental resources to create and maintain a happy human world e.g. you are reading about it on the internet right now. So we seem to need only the will. But since the desire to be happy is present in all individuals, we must really only need to communicate the fact that an environment of happiness is a prerequisite for each individual to reach his or her own desired happiness. In 2005 AD, such communication is easy.

This brings me to a paradoxical form of objection 2, which is also the essential cause of suffering for humankind. A self-fulfilling prophecy that people often think is that since other people believe worldwide happiness is impossible, or since other people will say no, worldwide happiness must be impossible. In other words, people say no, because they think others will say no. This represents an underestimation of our communication and creation abilities.

After hearing the rationale for making this world into a happy home for us all, and after having objections answered, what if we say that it is a good goal and that it is possible? What if we just say yes? And what if we ask the next person to experiment with saying yes? By saying yes, we can see how the world looks from that viewpoint. It is a creative step that opens the door to further creativity. Then arguing becomes part of the co-creative process of life. We start using our minds for exploring how worldwide happiness might be possible, rather than for guarding the door. We might even discover a better goal.

People have become accustomed to a low standard of happiness, so it helps if they can see a higher standard. Ask people to imagine walking down the street in a carnival of appreciation, enjoyment, and creativity, especially on a Friday night or on a Sunday afternoon. Watch their bodies relax. See the twinkle in their eyes. It is like returning a gasping fish to its natural watery habitat. Ask people what kind of world they want to live in. We can create paradise on Earth.

Everyone must be included. Even villains are waiting for someone with a key to unlock the villains’ hearts and release their goodwill. In the meantime, we can generate greater security, appreciation, enjoyment, and creativity, and then invite criminals, terrorists, despots, presidents, prime ministers, opposition leaders, and media magnates to join in and be happy too. Once we have achieved a higher standard of happiness, stragglers will be attracted to it.

So this is my close: Let’s create worldwide happiness. Say yes, and pass it on. Let’s move on from endless debate about secondary issues, to the evolutionary, all-encompassing, co-creative way of life. A happy world is closer than we normally think, and your agreement and further communication will bring it even closer. You might be the one who makes all the difference.

My email address is worldwidehappiness@yahoo.com.au [2]. I welcome your responses, suggestions, and objections.

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