Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Lennon-esque Diversion of Thought

I'd expect to find the following line of thought lodged deeply into the mythology John Lennon created with his lyrics. A little pie-in-the-sky, yes, and probably impossible to achieve. Nonetheless it bears saying, because it would be an awfully nice world to live in.

Imagine (see, Lennon would be proud) if every single person on the planet took great pleasure in the happiness of others. If, in fact, people uniformly based their happiness on the happiness of those around them. They didn't judge people. They didn't think them wrong or immoral for acting any particular way. They simply suffered when those around them suffered and took great joy from bringing joy to others.

To put it more precisely, imagine if every human being was concerned primarily with other people, focusing on themselves secondly. The exact opposite of the model we find most of the planet functioning under currently. It would be a wonderful, powerful feedback loop. I, being one of the human beings under scrutiny here, would expend great effort to bring happiness to my neighbors. This would make them happy, and bring me even more happiness. My neighbors, observing the happiness my efforts in their favor were bringing me would, being that they too were made happy by the happiness of others, have their happiness amplified.

This happiness-building loop would spill out from my small network of people, and from other pockets of happiness-amplification around the globe until the entire planet, from individuals to entire governments, all race and all creeds were united in making the planet as exceptional a place for humans to exist in as possible.

The alternative model (the world as it is now) doesn't work nearly as well. In it individuals strive single-mindedly to bring happiness to themselves. Sometimes they're successful. Often times they're not. But they're working on it alone. And many times they build their happiness on the backs of others' misfortune. Even if they are successful in building a solid, honest foundation of happiness for themselves, that sentiment may or may not make the jump to others around them. After all, they are happy and satisfied. The rest of the world can go about its own way.

I'm speaking generally, of course. There are those already that subscribe to the philosophy I espoused earlier. But those people are the minority. I'm imagining what would happen if those people climbed securely into the majority and beyond. How would you go about realizing a universally "you" centered model instead of the "me" centered one we currently promote? I have no idea. But it sounds awfully good.

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