The World, As I, We, You May See It:
The Strive For The Concept Of "Happiness" And How To Usefully Maintain It
(Written In Response To The Open Government Idea Brainstorm, May 22, 2009)
Each of us Human Beings live our lives day to day striving to maintain a level of balance, of general happiness. Events can seemingly come and go like changing seasons. Some of us are in a position to move, to change, and to expand. But what about if that affects one's own level of personal comfort, even if the change could be wholly beneficial? The U.S. has become far too comfortable as a whole and we are slowly loosing grip of the reality of how harsh this world really is, we are becoming more concerned with television programs to entertain our children than real programs to actually help them survive the future. The general populous seems to want to imagine a romanticized world where every person is "happy". Happiness is a perception of one's own state of being, i.e. what makes me happy doesn't necessarily make you feel the same. Currently we have a government in the U.S. that, to us mostly laymen, seems like an unstoppable force. Whether you see it as a good force, or a bad force, a force it certainly is. A force that, currently, seems to thrive on the venom of vindictive action against an entity known as: "Terrorist". A terrorist is frankly, someone who causes a sense of terror to advance an agenda, i.e. 224 years ago when British colonist rebelled against their king, they too, where labeled terrorist. In this sense, any entity to attack a perceived enemy, is well, a terrorist. But that word carries some heavy weight, where does the word’s application stop? Just hearing the word brings up memories of 9/11, destruction & dismay, and a general sense of fear from the unknown. To those who the U.S. would deem terrorist, they see themselves as revolutionaries, martyrs, people who, in their eyes, are stopping a beast from invading their lands, their ideals, much as we would if presented with similar circumstance. Remember, people want happiness and comfort, and the majority will do what is needed to attain that goal and make it last. That is why most wars are fought, pure and simple. To obtain a state of happiness for one's self, a sense of security. For some rulers of history past this meant conquest for supreme power and to others the exact opposite through treaties for peace, but all outcomes where roughly the same. Eventually the fighting stopped and the ruling powers returned to their kingly affairs. Whether their interest was in their subjects or themselves, they no longer had to worry about a bordering state invading them and vice versa, instead they had a new source for free resources or they had a new trading partner, either way, both goals attempt to obtain comfort, stability, and a general sense of happiness.
We need to move away from technological happiness, or as I view it, lulled comfort. While technology is an amazing, constantly evolving organism, it's application is severely limited due to it's effect on the environment and the masses. Why you may ask? Because a majority of technology relies too heavily on other factors i.e. electricity and other natural resources. Throughout history there have been searches to find perfect renewable resource such as the fabled Philosopher's stone, but all of these have turned up nothing. Nothing that could be generally applied. I purpose a co-existence with technology here in America. To where most people will equally know, for instance, the value of a home garden, or at least, have the ability to produce one if they so desired, next to knowledge of, say, what ABC has next fall for it's line up . The focus in this country should be how are we going to survive the next 100 years, not Mr. Obama or the next guy's term. General education of techniques that have been keeping people alive for the past 2,000 years, such as farming, building a shelter from the land, basic survival skills, etc. should be given serious consideration by state and federal governments and taught in public classes, for adults and children. Tax incentives should be given to folks who join up to teach. Now what if, but certainly hopefully not, something terrible happens, and as a result, our country breaks down, to the point where it is in utter chaos, such as the current situation in many areas of Iraq. What then? All those hours wasted with Grand Theft Auto and American Idol could have been used to further your own development. But don't get me wrong, entertainment is needed for our human mind, just in quantity. We need to find a balance between desire and necessity or else our future will not last that long if our only goals are the consumption of material goods to obtain a sense of "happiness". This is what addicts do, achieve that current "high", and then move to the next best thing. Our culture is very much in this addict mode, just look at how the media excitement is over new studio movies or a celebrity's new thing. These things embody what many people view as Happiness. We want to imagine, or romanticize about what it could be like if we were in the movie or if we were the celebrity. This is not reality, but a lulled state of being, to where one's cares leave the emotional realm and enter the material. A focus should be put on fellowship over ownership, Nature education over digital sedation. To learn survival skills and it's applications for the future can bring lasting happiness and security to any mind. To have the confidence to know that you have the skills at hand that at any moment, you could feed your family and not have to rely on loan notes we affectionately call money so you can go to a grocery store and buy what you could have harvested one's own self. Technology is not inherently evil, just widely misused, and now, is slowly numbing the populous to forget their roots and plan for their future. Move away from Facebook and put your face in a book on how to grow food, how to culture ground for use, or even how to paint, create, or to somehow further your life in anyway with the goal: for the good of all creatures of the Earth, because this will, of course, benefit mankind as a whole. Communal learning, cultural evolution, it's how people got to where we are today and what we’ll need for tomorrow. The culture of America is becoming digital, it needs to return to the camp fire. We each have our part to bear in this life. What we do with it, in the end, only truly matters to the bearer.