Good luck attempting to put a positive spin on world events. Societal divisiveness
swells, the ecosystem deteriorates, and personal relationships fray, often beyond repair.
How can we move from conditions most abhor to those we seek? More of the same won’t
Current conditions are our creation. We can change them but only with a major shift
in our beliefs about what constitutes a meaningful, wholesome life. That requires our
values and priorities be reordered. Occasionally, more things may increase our sense of
joy and fulfillment. But the elation is sporadic and far from optimum. Rising inequality
demonstrates how pockets of economic growth have failed to deliver better living standards
for the majority. Unless most participants, in this experiment called life, are engaged and satisfied, disruptions will be frequent and disquieting. No one will be pleased for long.
The Universe is encouraging us to view life differently and place our focus on that which is
enduring and consequential. We will discuss how to do this later in the article. For now,
we must remember, human beings have free will. Thus, it is a painstakingly slow job to
form a consensus sufficient to change hearts and minds and move in a more productive
direction. But it is a task we must pursue. Grow wiser or perish. Live sustainably or face
the consequences. The choices are ours.
Economics of happiness
Where to begin? First, be grateful and accept what we have while refraining from
comparing yourself to others. Those are two key attributes of the Finnish people. Finland
is a country ranked as the happiest country in the world according to the World
Happiness Report. Finns also downplay material things and avoid overt displays of
wealth. In Finland, “successful” people are considered no different than anyone else.
After all, success is a subjective judgment dependent on personal values and who is doing
the judging. Finns also place a high value on being out in nature. They believe
incorporating all forms of wildlife in their daily activities increases their well-being. It
also gives them a greater sense of the unity behind all things. Finally, Finnish people trust
one another and value honesty. Given the fabrications and lies permeating society, is it
any wonder that mistrust is rampant? Fostering greater trust is an important building
block that fortifies personal well-being. (Martela)
The insatiable appetite for material wealth hasn’t worked as planned. For centuries
the world has been constructed around the belief that continual economic growth will
save us from our recurring problems of poverty, pollution, and conflict, among others.
More things can distract us from our problems and temporarily divert the attention of the
disenfranchised. They are not, however, a permanent solution to our challenges. We need
to move from materially focused beings to more conscious beings. What has our focus on
the former gotten us? A stressful life with material abundance for some and anxiety and
anguish for most. Our priorities are short term with social status and power our yardstick
for success and happiness. Years of research have conclusively shown that more things
don’t make us happier. Once people’s basic needs for food, clothing and shelter are met,
more of the same adds little if anything to a person’s happiness. (Schwerin)
In fact, some believe too much choice is a formula for anxiety, and dissatisfaction.
Those faced with too many choices are less happy, less optimistic and have lower self-
esteem than those who are satisfied with less. Those satisfied with less practice self-
restraint, lower their expectations, don’t fret if they could have made a better choice or
regret any “imperfect” decisions.
To rectify the situation, we need to measure our prosperity and well-being around
something other than a flawed measurement like GDP (Gross Domestic Product). No
single number can capture the state of monetary policy, consumer confidence, ecological
vitality, and supply chain integrity. Yet we rely on GDP metrics to inform us of exactly
that. In addition, GDP counts things that harm society, from pollution to airplane crashes
(both of which require expenditures that increase GDP), as positive contributors to the
economy. Yet excluded from the GDP calculations are beneficial contributions, such as
the housework of millions of citizens. GDP measures everything except that which makes
life worthwhile. It would be far better to focus on economic activity that adds to society’s
well-being so one segment isn’t expanding while another is shriveling.
More insightful measures include determining how equitably we satisfy basic human
needs, and how successfully we inspire creativity, enrich relationships, and encourage
cooperation that serves the common good. More broadly, how can we improve our
biological, psychological, and environmental stewardship.
Decoupling the quest for economic growth from the belief that it is the only way to
attain contentment and well-being will not be easy. It is a concept the has been ingrained
in our psyche for a long time. Fortunately, more meaningful information on which to base
economic well-being will soon be available. The United Nations is expected to release an
updated national accounting system that uses standardized metrics for well-being and
sustainability. The U.N. will push to get everyone aligned so there is a basis for
comparability. Hopefully, it will supplant the use of GDP in political and economic
Today’s economic growth mantra badly needs an update. Surprising to many,
humanity experienced little if any economic growth for hundreds if not thousands of
years. Europe experienced no growth in per capita income in the 500 years prior to the
Industrial Revolution. (Porter)
It was only about 200 years ago that the need for economic growth gained
prominence thanks largely to significant innovation and increased use of carbon-based
fuels such as oil and coal. We have now reached the point where there is a growing
backlash against fossil fuels. An increasing number of citizens see that increases in
greenhouse gases have had a deleterious effect on our climate and the sustainability of
That is not to say that the no-growth trajectory of years past will be free of
challenges. Reverting to a world that is economically stagnant would make populations
most vulnerable and powerless the biggest losers. This could create societal upheaval
exaggerating the already dangerous situation that pits one economic class against another.
What to do? While many fall back on technological advances as our savior; others think that is simply wishful thinking. While sustainable energy technologies are possible, even probable, they are still far down the road. This leaves current scientific understandings
scant time to advance and provide practical solutions. Like with most things, the universe
doesn’t leave us defenseless and completely on our own. Help is available even if it is
from an expected source. Think Extraterrestrials! I know this idea is controversial and
will leave many skeptical if not outright cynical. Please bear with me. Let me offer a few
comments from respected scientists to bolster this position:
Out of this world
“Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of the billions of
galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we
are the only living things within that enormous immensity.” (Von Braun)
It is possible that the future of human civilization depends on the receipt of
interstellar messages.” (Sagan)
Finally, to paraphrase the esteemed scientist and mathematician Stephen Hawking,
whose mathematical intelligence was far ahead of most, the numbers alone make thinking
about aliens perfectly rational.
Since scientists have estimated there are over 100 billion galaxies in the universe,
each with an untold number of stars, to think we are the most advanced life-form on the
multi-trillion planets in existence, is highly implausible.
Still not convinced? How do you think the pyramids got here? Humans are still
baffled by the skill and knowledge that was needed to build these colossal edifices. An
advanced civilization was surely involved. You’re probably thrown off by thinking about
beings that look like us, think like us and behave like us. Most aliens differ considerably
from humans. Many ETs no longer have nor need a physical body so they can travel
unfathomable distances at warp speed. They are more advanced in many other ways. First
off, it should be obvious humans are not very highly evolved. Much of our ecosystem is
ravaged, many parts of our health and educational systems are dysfunctional, inequality is
rampant and there is little relationship between someone’s work compensation and their
contribution to society. Despite our failings, ETs are compassionate and loving. Being
from older civilizations, they have experienced and overcome many of the same
environmental, economic, and social challenges we now face and understand our plight.
They know at the deepest level that we’re all intimately connected and act accordingly.
They’re working with us to help us evolve faster. They want to be of service. And the
help we need, starting with our gravely distressed oceans. It has been said, if the oceans
die, our planet dies.
Most scientists believe life originated in the oceans. Now rising ocean temperatures
threaten not only marine species but also life on land. As the ocean heat increases water expands and sea levels rise, increasing coastal flooding and beach erosion while destroying homes, businesses, and tourism-based economies. The United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report in 2021 that declared:
“Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean
acidification and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence.”
(McCarthy) Ocean temperatures reached record levels in 2022 according to a team of
researchers. In fact, record ocean heat levels have been recorded each year since 2018,
with each year eclipsing the year before. The IPCC report describes observable rising
marine temperatures everywhere from the equator to the poles.
To preserve marine creatures that once formed the basis of life, humanity must
acknowledge its role in climate change and work tirelessly to reverse the damage
humanity has caused. Beings more advanced than humanity should be encouraged to
educate and assist us; it is in our self-interest, if not our very survival. You will find
willing hands and knowledgeable beings ready to help. Their assistance becomes easier
once our technology advances and we are disposed to communicate in an open, humble
A fundamental aim of evolution is to shift all beings from a self-centered state of
isolation to a state of union with all that exists. Doing so implicitly recognizes that
everything is an integral part of the totality of life; a life continually striving for greater
awareness and self-realization. By undertaking the goal of union with all that exists one
becomes capable of a truly fulfilling life. Until then ignorance, confusion, and a
misunderstanding about the meaning of life clouds one’s vision. With a proper outlook,
however, a glorious transition becomes possible. One not only understands themselves
and others better but humanity’s unique purpose in the universe and how to function in it
in a balanced, sustainable way. This provides the type of security all people clamor for.
The Great Transition
Histories great teachers and sages have spoken, in various ways, about this grand
transition. It is a goal of all beings. A contemporary version of ancient wisdom that
echoes this philosophy, is found in “The Pathwork.” This profound psycho-spiritual body
of work includes 258 lectures, one of which focuses on “The Great Transition in Human
Development.” This article draws, in part, from The Pathwork material. (Pierrakos)
The first step is to become aware of your effort to maintain a secluded life. This may
initially be unconscious. Deeply probing self-knowledge is required. This includes an
understanding our unconscious problems, beliefs, and attitudes. Self-knowledge and self-
acceptance are the prerequires, all else naturally follows. Changing our inner direction
brings untold joy, purpose, and security. It takes courage to break free from the habitual tendency toward isolation and self-centeredness. But continuing down the path of separation creates fear and insecurity. Exactly what no one wants.
In addition, the best way to change the world is to raise the consciousness of all
aspects of creation. Moving from separation to unity consciousness is a crucial step on
this path. The more hearts that open to universal love and acceptance, the more people
who will decide to serve not only themselves and but the world as well. Aware people
realize that whatever they do for themselves they also do for others and what they fail to
do for others is foreclosed to them. This follows logically since everything is unalterably
For example, when one truly understands the unity of life; how everything is
interconnected and interdependent, it becomes unimaginable to harm another part of
creation, be it a human being, a plant, an animal, or any part of the web of life?
More specifically, people who expand their consciousness are unlikely to defile the
environment, deny people their rights, engage in dishonest practices or participate in
unwholesome relationships. Understanding where and why our misconceptions and
distorted beliefs come from and the damage they cause is an intensely impactful
experience. It helps strengthen one’s resolve to remain aware of how all thoughts and
actions affect others. The law of cause and effect works both positively and negatively.
Look deeply at the conflicts in your life. Every choice we make affects everyone and
everything. Making the transition from separation to unity thinking generates in a level of
joy and security previously unknown. A profound understanding of the purpose behind
all aspects of life will be indelibly impressed upon the psyche. Realizing you are neither
more nor less than a part of the whole makes one a supremely content and confident
person. One’s dignity and welfare are greatly enhanced as one’s values, purpose, and
concept of life changes. Recognizing your commonality with all that exists increases
creativity and diminishes loneliness. The transition is subtle and doesn’t require a drastic
change in one’s outer life. It does necessitate a deepening of one’s self-acceptance and
self-knowledge. All else follows organically.
At this time of immense insecurity and heightened instability, we long for greater
certainty and understanding. The answer for our longing is all around us. It is derived
from knowing our connectedness to all things and the love that underlies all that exists.