Simply put, living well can be summarised with one word…AWARE.
Our awareness is being hijacked.
When we are aware of ourselves and others we immediately become loving, kind, thoughtful and generous. Usually we will want the best for ourselves and the best for others. There is no other reasonable way to live.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you.1
What better way to live well than to follow this simple directive. I don’t believe it was a god or “superior” being who brought this idea into the world. It was the commonsense of the first person to be in the company of another being. Even animals (even?) will follow this dictum. It preserves themselves and the other and the group.
What trips up such a straightforward idea? There seems to be no simpler way of being than to to “be aware”.
Well, the years of “They fuck you up your mum and dad…” the loverly poem by Philip Larkin (This Be the Verse) comes to my mind. And it’s not so much the mum and dad Larking says it is but the culture, societal “norms”, expectation of teachers and policemen and politicians, all those people who form our laws and principles to live by…these all play their part in determining how we live. And to be completely frank, many of these people in power do not have your best interests at heart.
Many people follow the principle of determining who the most important person in the room is (themselves) but they fail to see that this only works if you move beyond the “self” and to the “other” when the principle become all too clear.
The Ten Commandments are not the word of God on the Mountain handed down to the Israelites… they are a list of commonsense directives designed to help us live well. Thou shalt not kill, steal, covet etc are nothing spectacularly original or enlightening. They are simply sensible rules to enable a group of people (any more than one person) to live freely and comfortably and easily and lovingly together.
I do not need the kind of institutional organisation such as the church to inspire me to be a kind and loving person. Neither do you. So what makes these institutional decrees required fundamentals?
Greed. The need to win, be better, to be bigger and more influential. I blame advertising. Advertising in it’s original sense is simply the art of informing. However, in today’s world advertising is clearly used to highly influence you; to steer you in directions paid for by those who will profit from your purchase.
All kinds of psychological and emotional ploys are employed to lure you into the trap of being satisfied by the offered product or service. Every kind of method is utilised to feed off your insecurities, only to be salved by the use of this lotion or that car or the other whatever the advertiser can make a profit from.
Overwhelmingly, the influencers are being paid huge amounts of ready cash to post and discuss things that will send messages designed to get us all to spend money.
Our awareness is being hijacked.
We are more and more losing our sense of self as a highly sophisticated array of “influencers” from journalist and commentators who all spruik their particular line. I love The Bolt Report for it’s fine analysis of Alan Jones’ Commentary. A FINE OLD MESS WE GET OURSELVES INTO WHEN THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE “the influencers”.
1 The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures. The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BCE) according to Rushworth Kidder, who identifies that this concept appears prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and the “rest of the world’s major religions”. [ WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule]