This happiness blog accommodates sadness (article 63) by appropriately practicing empathy. Glee over misfortune is insensitive. Denying suffering is mislabeling of reality. When someone suffers injury, it does not help to incur the same injury so as to feel the same pain. Article 45 taught the need to preserve strength for overcoming the effects of the pain. If you are limping, I share the pain by using two healthy legs to carry you.
The expectation that autocratic rule by the minority will abruptly end in America this month is simplistic. The country’s pain is not a person. It is anger. The pain will endure as long as the anger, regardless of personnel changes. We must not expect that replacing the actors changes the script. If any of us continue to follow the discordant playbook, we are perpetuating the pain into the future. Attempting to get even and to override others is scripted discord.
Putting others first—again
A fundamental teaching here relates self to others. A good illustration is the phrase “getting ahead.” Article 71 pointed out that getting ahead of the rent payments is good and getting ahead of other people is evil. From the ground up, from the moment of birth, America teaches its rising generation to “get ahead.” That fosters not only dissatisfaction and discontent, it also drives people apart as competing entities.
My self-awareness is not realizing that I am better than other people. Much to the contrary, it is awakening to the reality that I am ordinary like other people. Sentience is to be aware that I exist in the context of my equals—that is, the human species. The series building up to article 78 replaces discord with “we” by blending self with other, culminating in article 106. Today I observe that anger is a characteristic symptom of regarding self over others.
Taken together, we people are a priceless collection. Being bonded in mutuality is the foundation of happiness, the only assurance of completeness. Viewed apart, separated from each other, we are ineffective competitors. Triumph over the other expresses selfishness, not completeness. Imagine the discord in a family if any member takes pleasure when another member of the family does not succeed. That flies in the face of the most primitive level of decency. The meaning for which I exist is the benefit I am to the family. That is the strongest motivation for my excellence: I exist in a happier state because of my effect on others. Their happiness is the tide that lifts my boat.
Is it fair to point out that I am not a writer if there are no readers? My chosen new occupation is evident interdependence, and happiness is the effect I receive in return for the effect I have on you. I am aware that my effusive happiness must not mask my understanding of and empathy for less happy people. The “share the pain” principle above is that I must not cause pain to either of us to equalize us at the low end. I must invite, lift, and carry the shared load to bring us both to the high end. What is good for you blesses me.
It is time to apply the panacea taught in Article 95: understanding. Winners and losers of elections, such as the terms are used, need to emulate the candidate Owl of articles 79 and 80. Those articles detail the process of making each other look good without taking credit. Every change, every resetting of course, provides some degree of fresh start in this constructive process. It was so beautifully expressed in George H. W. Bush’s emphasis on the “kinder, gentler America.” With a dramatic personnel change underway, we have the perfect moment to institute that more divine order.
I call us to selflessness. We are all sentient beings intelligent enough to realize mutual benefit. Success over others is the opposite of that.
My accumulated teachings about other ahead of self apply to this moment of history. Those who concentrate on fulfilling themselves will spin off into their own silo worlds in what they think is their superiority—the “not heaven” described in article 99. Those who understand the allegory of article 50 will become aware that there are others in the building and will share the light.
I choose to study our disappointments and reorient them into positive expectations. What neither side achieved by brute force will be exceeded as each concentrates on meeting the needs of the other. There is no joy in a partisan victory. Our joy lies in being the new America where we sincerely care about the least of these (our neighbors).
I remind readers that laws do not make us who we are. They reflect who we are. If we are great, it is not because of the economy. It is the state of our magnanimity. When we elevate others above ourselves, over 200 million Americans have our backs. Let’s not let them down. Each benefit to my neighbor enriches every one of us.
Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol