Never before in human history has affluence been so widespread, but how can we move beyond material affluence and recognize the important things in life?
Food, housing, and water are secure for a broader spectrum of humans than ever before while violence, rape, and warfare are all at all time lows.
For the first time arguably ever we have widespread environmental movements and they’re growing around the world. Species that seemed sure to go extinct a few decades ago are in recovery.
We have more ability to connect across the globe, we are even entering an era when we can edit our own genomes. We should see ourselves as in a golden age.
Despite all this, happiness is declining almost everywhere it is measured.
Anxiety, depression, obesity, and prescription drug use are an epidemic. In the west, we have the first generation in 200 years predicted to live shorter lives than our parents.
We are trapped in debt slavery, have far less civic culture, are on average far physically weaker, have less connection to nature, and are profoundly afraid of the world around us: afraid to go outside, afraid to connect to other humans, and afraid to take risks.
Recognizing Real Affluences
Capitalism has unlocked material affluence for so many, but rather then recognizing that was only part of the puzzle of happiness, we have just continued to reach for more and more material affluence.
What we really need is to start recognizing and valuing the affluences of time, community, family, health, movement, and mindfulness and make those are central focuses.
You don’t need a bigger house or bigger car, you need a better relationship to your own mind, body, family, friends, lovers, community, and land.