Humankind has performed great feats and made many valuable discoveries. We now have excellent understanding of the world and we have the communication technology to spread that understanding easily. These successes have been worthwhile in themselves, but they are also milestones in our progress towards the creation of worldwide happiness. The subconscious motivation for our endeavours has been to spread happiness. The time is right for this subconscious goal to be made conscious.
Until now, we pursued happiness generally working in this order: self, partner, family, community, nation, and finally world. Our assumption has been that by increasing security we provide the foundations for happiness to arise naturally. However, focussing on security tends to keep us at the competitive level of 'us vs them'. This leads to the creation of enemies thereby spoiling our security and happiness.
While it is true that strong fences make good neighbours, we also need to work for the happiness of our neighbours. In resolving disputes, we need to emphasise our desire for the happiness of both sides.
Our greater potential
Our greater potential for individual and group happiness can manifest only in the context of worldwide happiness. In a happy world we enjoy the happiness of others, and the activities of others assists the fulfilment of our own potential. Without worldwide happiness we feel the pain of others, we hurt others, and experience retaliation from others.
Happiness for human beings on Earth means enjoying present reality while creating a good future reality. Ultimately, all life shares this purpose. Simply put, the energy of the Universe manifests its potential in spectacular galaxies, stars, and planets, and then it creates myriad wondrous living forms such as a peacock, a rose, and Angelina Jolie. After taking care of survival matters, animals move towards the pleasant and the enjoyable e.g. sunbathing, playing, and singing.
Progressing from survival to happiness
Human life has five natural stages that will inevitably culminate in spreading happiness to all:
1. Fighting for survival.
2. Establishing security.
3. Appreciating life.
4. Enjoying others and the world.
5. Co-creating the future.
In other words, we survive to establish security; we establish security to live; we live to appreciate and enjoy our bodies, our minds, Planet Earth, and The Universe; and by appreciating and enjoying life together, we co-create the future.
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.
The crucial transition is from the instinctual competitive survival focus of stage 1 to the intelligent cooperative happiness focus of stages 2-5. This is the change we are now ready to make.
The fighting for survival stage is painful but brief. It is a blind instinctual reaction to an emergency, and emergencies are the consequence of a lack of knowledge. Fighting continues until the knowledge of better ways arises. The next stage of establishing security is even briefer than the fighting for survival stage because establishing security comes from knowledge and pro-activity. Establishing security is about cooperatively caring for everyone's security, and this is the foundation for the stages of appreciation, enjoyment, and co-creation.
However, if we do not know about the necessity of all-inclusive cooperation, then we unwittingly repeat aspects of the rudimentary stage of fighting for survival. This leads to destructive behaviours that generate enemies, and so it spoils the very security to which we cling. Progressing to higher stages, on the other hand, increases security because appreciation, enjoyment, and co-creation lead to learning and goodwill, and these inevitably increase security. With the growth in understanding, our actions expand from competing with other groups to spreading happiness to all people.
Given that we have advanced levels of information and technology, we must be ready to let go of fighting and to move on to higher stages. The tree of humankind is ready to strengthen and grow through cooperation. With the advantages of modernity, effective action can be taken quickly and easily.
Interestingly, the majority of people I have spoken to either seem to have given up on the possibility of worldwide happiness, or believe that it is centuries away "…if we survive that long." Most people agree that they would like to walk down the street fearlessly and joyfully in a carnival of love. In contemplation of this, their eyes brighten, their breathing relaxes, and their body language opens. But then clouds close over as they conclude with statements like, "I just don't think it's possible", or "Not in my lifetime." Some people literally topple off their chairs in their efforts to prove that worldwide happiness is impossible.
Objections generally fall into two categories:
Objection 1: "Worldwide happiness is a bad goal."
Objection 2: "Worldwide happiness is impossible because of Earthly or human limitations."
A good refutation for objection 1 is that if you are sensitive to feelings of happiness, you will also be sensitive to the suffering of others, so your happiness depends on others' happiness. In addition, to fulfil our potential we need the happy cooperation of others.
A good refutation for objection 2 is that information and technology have improved to the point where worldwide happiness is now physically possible (e.g. you are reading about it on the internet right now). Although we might think that people are selfish, greedy, or ignorant, we all share the same ultimate goal of happiness, so people only need to learn what works i.e. all-inclusive cooperation.
The cause of objections
People argue against the possibility of worldwide happiness because the idea triggers a network of negative conclusions based on the following repeated evidence:
- The warnings of evil and entrapment promulgated by some religious people.
- The conflict and meaninglessness emphasised by some scientists (e.g. the idea that life is about survival of the fittest).
- The past horrors highlighted by historians.
- The daily horror updates exhibited in the media.
The thinking of humankind is restricted because it takes place within a philosophical ghetto maintained by the momentum of inherited negativity. This is why most people have not seriously considered the possibility of living in a palace of worldwide happiness. In the past, we subconsciously emphasised and spread the old rumour that life is difficult except for the strong, the clever, the evil, and the lucky, and that we must struggle for survival and happiness. That is the predominant worldview we live in today, and it needs to be challenged.
Our higher instincts
While we made war, we also created great art and technological wonders. We were destructive only because we knew no better way to deal with threats or imagined threats. We have been constructive because this is what we naturally do when we have free time, inspiration, and knowledge.
We commonly hear that violence, selfishness, and greed are 'human nature.' Some people tell us we are animals born to compete, and others tell us we are sinners born to submit to impossible ideals. Such views inadvertently emphasise the worst of our past and reinforce our lower instincts and sense of powerlessness. To deal with this negativity about the world and other people, we can simply emphasise the future and stimulate our higher instincts.
However, emphasising our higher instincts does not mean advocating heroism or ideals. Those who promote inspirational success stories ultimately produce a negative effect. This is because success stories are about heroes overcoming adversity, and since the storytellers do not address the primary adversity, they inadvertently reinforce the presumed inevitability of adversity.
The most useful hero would be the one who ends adversity as such, thereby putting heroes and idealists out of business. Then we can all get on with living out our potential, rather than comparing ourselves with heroes and struggling pointlessly in an unnecessarily difficult world. Why presume that we need to fight as heroes or submit to ideals in order to live happily?
In reality, we only need information that is true to life. True information is universal and reliable - the natural progressive ways of life work well. The most relevant information is that all human beings desire happiness and they all have goodwill somewhere within them that they want to express. Knowing this, we can focus our attention on what will be effective.
What will cause worldwide happiness?
To achieve our greater potential, we only need to widely communicate the idea that establishing worldwide happiness is necessary and easy. Communication quickly leads to foresight, which stimulates the will, which leads to co-creation, learning, and fulfilment of potential. As soon as people get the idea, they spontaneously act more cooperatively, thereby increasing happiness. Many people are already doing it, but the predominant worldview of competition and adversity is diminishing the results.
Cooperation uses less time and energy than conflict does, and it produces better results. With a focus on happiness, we act with increasing harmony and inclusiveness, and we learn more quickly from our experience. This will create an environment of goodwill. In that environment 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.
If we exclude anyone, then we only create trouble for ourselves later. Even villains need to be included, at least in principle. They are waiting for their hearts to be unlocked and their goodwill to be released. 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 a higher standard of happiness has been achieved, stragglers will be attracted to it. Since the essence of human nature is to seek greater happiness, the counterproductive methods of conflict and exclusion will be recognised as redundant.
The goal is ultimately small and easily achieved. Rather than having to change 6 billion human beings, we only need to adjust the prevailing worldview from the competitive survival focus to the cooperative happiness focus. This change occurs naturally once it sinks in that the preliminary survival emergency is over for our species and that happiness is both the next step and the reason for surviving. We only have to spread the word.
Easy practical examples
When sufficient numbers of people understand the necessity and ease of worldwide happiness it would naturally lead to the implementation of measures such as:
- Banning war, warlike activities, and violence
- Ending starvation and easily treated diseases
- Committing 5% of national income, resources, and defence personnel for international policing and emergency work
- Preparing for pandemics and catastrophes
- Reassessing national and international security
- Finding common ground for resolving conflict
- Improving education and helping people find their true passions
- Developing a national and international focus on happiness and fulfilment
- Increasing study and research
- Rewarding cooperation
- Promoting creative intelligent people to increase appreciation, enjoyment, and creativity
- Fostering goodwill activities
- Preferring beauty and quality over cost-cutting
- Developing both a close and a wide sense of community
Worldwide happiness is the most important issue for humankind. Until now, we discussed, and polarised over, secondary issues without stating the primary issue i.e. ultimate goal. Secondary issues, such as territory, national security, and fixing people's behaviour, have remained unresolved for centuries. Each war is marketed as being the last war, which will bring final peace, security, justice, freedom, holiness, and wealth, yet wars continue; each government promises to stop crime, yet crime continues. Instead of wasting energy through diversion into secondary goals, we can focus on the primary, all-encompassing goal of worldwide happiness. A by-product of this would be an earlier end war, crime, starvation, and other large problems anyway.
We can successfully work through any political, moral, and economic issue by finding common ground. The desire for happiness is the most reliable common ground. By making mutual happiness the reference point for our discussions, other goals either instantly make sense or they are revealed to be counterproductive.
In principle, every plan and action should benefit all (or at least not hurt others) in the short-term and long-term. Aiming for the benefit of all is more effective 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 unhappy defences against life.
We could ask every leader how each policy would contribute to the spreading of happiness. Harping on about supposed security issues only begs the question of why we want to be secure i.e. why do we want to continue living? Surely, it is to enjoy life and to fulfil our potential. And what leader would not want to support that? Why aim any lower? Spreading happiness and goodwill works better than more fences, laws, and bombs.
A fresh global dialogue
Due to the fog caused by the prevailing competitive survival worldview, we need a fresh global dialogue on our purpose i.e. the purpose of human life on Planet Earth - here amongst all the plants and animals. The greater the number of people contemplating our purpose and the means of achieving our purpose, the sooner our greater potential will manifest.
Your actions could make the difference. For example, you could discuss the subject of worldwide happiness with friends and acquaintances. They might communicate about it further. The process you start might reach some charismatic person who can say it better than anyone else can.
Regularly asking straightforward questions could lead to the spreading of a more meaningful worldview for humankind. Would you like more enjoyment and opportunities for fulfilment? Do you want to be free from seeing people suffering in poverty and war? Do you want to see how great this world can be when based on cooperation rather than competition? Do you want to see humankind respond to life in a way that more appropriately matches the magic and wonder of this majestic universe?
It is fascinating to see what comes up when talking about worldwide happiness. Some responses are astonishingly negative. Nevertheless, if you ask objectors to imagine walking down the street in a carnival of love, especially on a Friday night or on a Sunday afternoon, you will see their bodies relax and a twinkle lighting up their eyes. It is like returning a gasping fish out of water to its natural habitat. Simply saying, 'Maybe it's possible,' opens doors.
When enough of us are aware of the possibility of worldwide happiness, it will happen. We already have the physical and mental resources, so we only need to stimulate the will that is present in us all. This happens by discussing and acknowledging the direction we are already subconsciously heading in - the fulfilment of our greater potential.
When the will is stimulated in a sufficient number of people, I believe we can create worldwide happiness in 10 years. What else would we do? In the 60s, technology and information reached the level required to send a human being to the moon, and now technology and information has reached the level required to create worldwide happiness. The time is right.
Finally, if you like this article, please pass it on. Send it to friends and ask them to pass it on if they like it. Otherwise, I welcome your responses, suggestions, or objections. And keep an eye out for my book called Worldwide Happiness - The Necessity and Ease of Creating Paradise on Earth, which should be published in 2010.