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Natural Living – Development vs wellbeing

Happiness and wellbeing are such a natural and obvious state of existence that every animal knows it by instinct, except the ‘modern’ humans.

What is happiness and wellbeing?

For me it’s simply a state of body and mind where the body is healthy – full of energy, vitality and life; and the mind is peaceful, content and harmonious. It’s a totally internal reality experienced by each individual.

It’s no rocket science and doesn’t require any great intellect to understand this. It’s the natural state of affairs of a happy and healthy body and mind.

But how do we define happiness & wellbeing?

Unfortunately, today we have gotten ourselves so completely cut off from this most obvious and most intuitive and instinctive reality, that we equate happiness with all the wrong things – bank balance, material possessions, job title, looks, induced experiences or external phenomenon.

So, we are supposed to become happy if we get a fancy car, or a high end villa or apartment, or attain a certain bank balance, or achieve a certain job title, or travel to some exotic destinations, or go on a cruise, wear certain branded clothes and so on; All things that money can buy and associated with ‘Development’.

By that yardstick most of the so called ‘developed’ world should be happy individuals and societies experiencing wellbeing.

Consequences of our choice

But we know for a fact that the reality is quite the opposite.

Instead of being happy and healthy, our societies are becoming sicker by the day both physically and mentally.

We are perpetually in a drive to acquire and possess, never satisfied, always wanting something bigger and ‘better’, fancier and latest – be it a house, car, phone, gadgets, clothes, gifts, destinations to travel to and so on.

We are Perpetually in conflict with our fellow human beings, with nature and finally with ourselves.

Living in a constant state of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, stress and desire; our societies are becoming more violent and more intolerant; social and family bonds are falling apart; obscene concentration of wealth and extreme disparities becoming the norm; our health deteriorating with chronic diseases spreading rapidly and striking ever younger; loneliness and depression becoming the hallmark of our ‘modern’ societies.

What we are witnessing all around us is exactly the opposite of health, happiness and wellbeing.

Development vs Wellbeing – Chasing the wrong dream!

We are being constantly told that ‘Development’ is a sacrosanct, secular goal we should all be chasing; that development requires rapid and eternal growth of our economies; that achieving this ‘development’ will solve all our problems; that the developed world led by America have realized that cherished dream and the goal for all of us in the rest of the world is to follow them, imitate them, and reach their state of development.

That achieving this ‘American dream’ is our only passport to happiness, health and success. And this can only be achieved by ‘Development’.

And what is ‘development’? More cars, fancier cars? More – bigger and better – roads, more flyovers and more expressways to drive them on? More malls and more online shopping? Bigger houses with ever increasing list of gadgets? More fancier hotel and restaurants? More junk food and processed food? More travel to every corner of the world? More ultra-modern hospitals, super specialty doctors, cutting edge equipment and ‘miracle’ drugs???

American Dream or American Nightmare?

What has such pursuit gotten us – be it to America, the leader of the pack or to us in the so called ‘third world’ or ‘developing’ countries trying to imitate the Leader?

  • Yes indeed we have more modern and bigger hospitals, latest gadgets and miracle drugs, but ever sicker societies;

  • Longer lifespan but poor quality of life;

  • Money in the bank and loads of material possessions but life characterized by loneliness, anxiety, state of fear and uncertainty, and loss of health;

  • More friends and Likes on social media but breakdown of all social, family and personal bonds and relationships;

  • More ‘modern’ medical facilities but rising epidemic of chronic diseases;

  • More instant information at our finger tips but less real knowledge and more importantly wisdom;

  • More ‘education’ and ‘educated’ but people who have lost their creativity, spirit of enquiry, natural inquisitiveness and ability to observe, listen and learn.

  • More global travel but less understanding and appreciation of diversity of cultures instead resulting in an increasingly monocultural world

  • More hybrid and GM seeds, more wonder chemicals to control pests and diseases and increase yields, but a rapidly dying soil, plants that are becoming sicker and food that lacks real nutrition and natural medicinal properties

  • More of all material possessions but utter total lack of sensitivity and empathy towards our fellow human beings and animals and total disconnect from nature as a whole

In short a total, all-round nightmare of our own creation!

The root cause of our misery

It is this constant need to consume, to acquire, to possess that is at the root of all our problems in ‘modern’ society both at the individual level and at the societal level; in our economies or polities.

This model of ‘development’ – based on ‘eternal’ growth fueled by unbridled consumerism powered by an ever ballooning debt bubble – where greed is glorified and money is the new God, is a fairly recent phenomenon, mainly taking hold and spreading rapidly in the last 50 to 70 years.

It is this of model of ‘development’ that has created the all-round total mess that we are in today, resulting in:

  • The unparalleled environmental destruction and devastation; rampant health crises;

  • Collapse of social and family structures, ties and cohesion;

  • Dog-eat-dog competitive environment based on hyper individualism, violence and pure greed;

  • A rapidly imploding economy driven by an unsustainable debt bubble and mirage of eternal growth;

  • Political collapse – rise of totalitarianism, extreme intolerance, ever spreading wars & conflict.

We are in a mad race to the bottom, to our own destruction and are rapidly racing past the point of no return.

Time to wake up and face the reality

It’s time we realize this ugly reality for what it is.

It’s time we come out of this illusion, this mirage of perpetual growth, of measuring GDP and development for progress and success of our societies, and possessions and title for individual progress and success.

It’s time we junk this broken, fundamentally faulty and evil model and go back to our roots; to nature; to pursuing what really matters to us individually and as a society – a state of happiness and well-being characterized by genuine good health, peace of mind, harmonious living with nature and fellow human beings.

It is time we start focusing on – quality of life; interpersonal relationships; social harmony and cohesion; helping each other and living collaboratively; renouncing and giving instead of acquiring and accumulating; finding happiness and contentment in simple things in life; being present in and cherishing the moment and rather than living in the past or the future.

The choice is ours, so are the consequences of our choice – individually as well as collectively!
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