We are all human and we are all equal. We may be different, some educated and some not, rich or poor, belonging to various religious traditions or ideologies etc. But we are all human and we all have the same wish – to be happy. And no one’s right to happiness supercedes the rights of anyone else. With the shrinking of the world and increased interdependence, whatever we do will affect people across the globe. Our challenges are great enough that we need nothing but the best form of self interest – the most efficient form. Each civilization needs peace and prosperity to be stable and not act destructively through pollution or other means to harm the planet. The only way we can stabilize these societies is to insure their basic needs for survival are met at a minimum, even if they do not belong to our community. So the best form of self interest here is altruism, and we need it in larger doses than ever. We need to take universal responsibility to create a positive world for all human kind irrespective of the previous borders we thought important.
So we need to look to altruism as the real solution – just trying to get along is not enough. We need to develop it actively, flooding our environment in a positive manner. From this mind comes other positive qualities such as tolerance, forgiveness, confidence, etc. We can take bad situations and transform them into positive ones. The need for altruism is not limited only to those in the particular helping fields such as psychology or social work, etc. It is the responsibility of everyone in all walks of life. Then when critical conflicts arise, through the altruistic mind the impasse can be broken and more serious damage averted.
If we compare ourselves to various animals, such as wolves or bees, they work well in harmony with each other and take care of the group. Yet when we live in large cities, we feel more alone than ever. While we have made great strides forward in improving our lifestyles, it seems an over emphasis on the material aspects of life have removed us from the source of happiness and the ability to solve our more serious problems as they arise. We need to develop a genuine sense of responsibility for all of humanity and only compassion, a spontaneous feeling of empathy and warm heartedness towards others, will allow us to cross the bridge and truly act on behalf of the people with whom we share this planet.
Next we will look more specifically at how to apply these ideas to solve the problems we face globally.