Monday, September 25, 2006

Simply a world citizen

In the past I have quoted from The Happy Guy, who kindly sends out daily e-mails if you are so inclined. This one came with a link to what David Leonhardt calls a World Happiness Manifesto. Have a look and see what you think, and see if any of it resonates somewhere deep within you. If so, feel free to copy it as per his instructions below. In any case, you may want to probe a little more deeply into this mindset.

World Happiness Manifesto

My personal manifesto for a better world

I am a member of the human race. The only race I recognize is my own -- the human race.

Members of my race are carbon-based bipods, with one head and one heart. They all smile. They all despair. They all feel anger and pain. They all feel joy and hope. They see. They smell. They hear. They learn. They love. They seek happiness for self and for others.

Members of my race speak many tongues, wear their skin and hair in a variety of hues, choose from thousands of occupations and live in a multitude of places. They are all good. They are all worthwhile. They are all human. In my world, the only racism is love of the human race.

I am a citizen of the world. I recognize my overriding responsibility to be a good citizen. To care for my fellow citizens. To share with my fellow citizens. To be a good steward of the planet and its resources, for the wellbeing of my fellow citizens and of future generations. The absence of a world government in no way diminishes my obligations of citizenship or my sense of belonging.

As a citizen of the world, I recognize local governments. I pay my local taxes. I obey local ordinances. I salute my local flag. I protect my neighbors and their rights. My responsibility to my neighbors and to my local government is part of my citizenship in the world.

It is a sad reality that many local governments do not recognize my citizenship in the world. I pray for the day when no person shall be called an “alien" anywhere in my world.

I am a child of God. I reside in my family home with my brothers and sisters. Some have heard the voice of God and some have not. I do not begrudge those who have heard the voice, nor those who have not.

To the best of my ability, despite my many weaknesses, I will endeavor to do God’s will. I recognize that most of my brothers and sisters also do their best to follow God’s will, even when the message they are following sounds different than what I have heard. I will not second-guess God’s message to others; I respect God’s divine right and wisdom to send different messages to each of us children.

I am an instrument of peace. Happiness and peace go hand-in-hand. Complete happiness might be unattainable on this planet, but it remains crucial that we never stop striving for it. Therefore, we must all be instruments of peace.

Members of every race sometimes fight amongst themselves. As a member of the human race, I will strive to promote understanding amongst humans and to reduce conflict within our race.

Members of every nation sometimes bicker amongst themselves. As a citizen of the world, I will strive to promote understanding amongst citizens everywhere and to reduce conflict across our planet.

Members of every family sometimes quarrel amongst themselves. As a child of God, I will strive to promote understanding amongst my brothers and sisters and to reduce conflict within our family.


This world happiness manifesto is reproduced from the original World Happiness Manifesto, a production of The Happy Guy’s happiness center

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Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, I guess that this manifesto is OK, but it does not do much for me. There are good thoughts and affirmations there, but at the same time, it seems to be missing a deep understanding of what we really need to be happy.

My point is that very few people (if anyone) will read his manifesto and thereby become happy. See what I mean? This manifesto does not help an individual much in his quest to achieve happiness.

OK, there is my criticism but what do I have to offer in place of this manifesto? Well, I do not have anything that people can read and thereby become happy either.

But consider these two thoughts together, a) suffering is caused by desire, b) the only way to be happy is to make sure that your happiness is not dependent on getting what you want.

Sound impossible? It is not - but I don't know how to demonstrate that, or prove that to anyone. Not even to the people that I love and most want to give it to. It is frustrating. I know that if I could somehow "show it to people", or "bottle it and sell it", then all the world would be ringing my doorbell, lined up across the continents, trying to buy it from me. And by the way, I would just it away, if I could.

Steven Crisp said...

Very wise, anon. And yes, I too felt his manifesto lacked a bit in what I might call the "spiritual" department. Clearly he is promoting a world-centric view (rather than nation-state, ethnic, tribal, or religious). It seems to me that such a view recognizes the inherent interconnectedness of all things, and from that perspective, moves us in the right direction.

But I would agree with one of your imlicit points, I think, and that is that this is the result of, not the cause of, your two points:

The manifest world is one in which suffering inherently exists (caused by loss, fear, death, decay, etc.), Being "happy" (or I would prefer "at peace") comes from not being attached to the outcome of those things that cause (pleasure or) suffering. Is that a fair restatement?

Of course, these are ancient teachings, and have been around longer than any of our "western" religions. And so, many would say "it" (your secret) is out there for anyone to see that cares to look. And probably cannot be recognized it if they do not wish to look.

How do you help illuminate these insights? It would seem to me by the life that you lead, in accordance with these fundamental beliefs. Then for those that wish to see, or at least observe your non-mainstream behavior, they have an exemplar of what such foundational wisdom means.

I would suspect they would see it reflected in your light-heartedness, your easy-going nature, your desire to help others (including your enemies), your unconditional love, and many other manifestations.

No doubt you have heard this quote:

"Wherever Mahatmas appear, people gather around them. People are attracted to them like dust to a whirlwind. Their breath and even the very breeze that touches their body is beneficial to the world."

-- Mata Amritanandamayi

That sounds like the offering you are talking about. I hope you keep moving in that direction. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Anonymous said...

Acchully, now that I think about it, I probably would not give it away to everyone - I would not give it to people I don't like.

That would be their punishment for making me dislike them. Everyone else would be happy except them.


Steven Crisp said...

Anon, you sound just like God in all the books I have read. Silly boy. Silly God. When will we learn.

Anonymous said...

I read with interest the dialogue between Crisp and Anon. Anon would have done his enemy a favour by not giving him/her the manifesto for happiness.We are meant to work our way from suffering to happiness.Duality are such that if we start from the less favour one and progress up to the more favourable or pleasurable one, then only we will appreciate or understand the duality. For example we will not appreciate or give a thought to thirst if we have plenty of water, but in a drought we would crave for water.Similarly if we have the manifesto to happiness, we will not understand suffering and in consequent we will not appreciate happiness. So Anon would have done his friend whom he dislike a favour. Life is both suffering and happiness and in the forward progression.It just doesn't work backward or with short cut.

Steven Crisp said...

Anon2 -- I had the perfect comment prepared to reply, but then Blogger ate it. Consider it my own lesson in non-attachment ;-)

Anyways, let me try again. You concluded with:

"Life is both suffering and happiness and in the forward progression. It just doesn't work backward or with short cut."

I agree with this notion of a natural forward (or upward) progression, but that is not from suffering to happiness. The conditions that create suffering are always present. Happiness comes from our attitude towards these conditions. Acceptance of what is and non-attachment to what will be are the fundamental foundation of true happiness.

And one reaches that ability by elevating one's level of conciousness -- that is the evolutionary progression to which I am referring. By transcending (moving beyond AND including) lower levels.

The manifesto is clearly targeting a world-centric level. It also honors nation-centric, ethnic-centric, tribal-centric, family-centric, and mythic perspectives. But it is suggesting to its reader that moving beyond natural societal and cultural beliefs is a good thing -- and I would agree with that. But it will only contribute to happiness if it also causes a deep level of inner work to understand why such elevation is needed. Then one might actually transcend these more limiting beliefs, and with a little luck, recognize the path that can help him or her continue this journey.

Ever upward until one not only recognizes the duality that you mention, and can transcend even that, and rest in the groundless presence of the creative potential that gives birth to this moment, and this one, and this one too.

Thanks much for your visit and comment.