Magazine article Tikkun

Rami Shapiro on Making Happiness Our Compass

Magazine article Tikkun

Rami Shapiro on Making Happiness Our Compass

Article excerpt

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

OF THE MANY SACRED TEXTS THAT DEFINE US AS A PEOPLE AND A NATION, THESE WORDS BY THOMAS Jefferson are among the most precious. I wish to speak with you for a moment about happiness and its pursuit.

Aristotle understood happiness, what he called eudemonia, as a flourishing oflife, a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment The key to eudemonia as I understand it is cultivating love, purpose, and meaning.

Happiness is a national concern calling us to establish laws, institutions, and communities honoring life's diversity, individual liberty, and the pursuit of love, purpose, and meaning.

Happiness is a moral concern and its pursuit fosters creativity, justice, compassion, generosity, fearlessness, and a desire to uplift both self and others.

Happiness is an economic concern liberating us from both poverty and enslavement to endless consumption. Happiness calls us to seek just enough wealth to be happy, and frees us from the lie that to be more we must have more.

Happiness is an international concern challenging us to lead the world not in how much stuff we consume or garbage we produce, but in our capacity to free our citizens to pursue love, purpose, and meaning.

Happiness is a civic concern, for people pursuing love, purpose, and meaning are unmoved by propaganda- commercial, political, and religious- designed to poison them and their communities with fear, self-loathing, lack, conformity, bigotry, and intolerance.

Happiness is a spiritual concern, for people steeped in love, purpose, and meaning reject exclusivism, fear, exploitation, and hate, and resist religiously sanctioned violence, religiously sponsored ignorance, and the rants of clergy and pundits whose sense of compassion and justice is restricted to those who believe as they do.

Mr. President I believe we are entering a time of global apocalypse, literally an "unveiling" ofthe ignorance and hubris behind which we have hidden so long from our interdependence with and responsibUity toward all life.

This unveiling will take many forms: economic collapse, environmental chaos, greater religious and ethnic violence, rising crime, and increased suicide and substance abuse. We will be knocked back on our heels, and then knocked down to our knees. The question is not if this will happen or even when- it is already happening. …

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