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3.1.5 THE PARADOX OF OUR TIME

on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 14:24

WHILE it would seem that we are naturally heading towards an era of unprecedented peace through technology and other means, we still have wars and tremendous human suffering. We live in a world of paradox, of great duality. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers. Wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We retain more information but have less wisdom. We have more options for leisure and less fun. More conveniences, yet less time. We have more medicine and medical options, yet less wellness. More kinds of food available, but less nutrition. We have more media outlets but less communication. More acquaintances, but fewer friends. We have increased our possessions, but reduced our values. We have conquered outer space, but neglected inner space. We have smashed the atom, but not our prejudices.

“When I was five years old,” remembered musician John Lennon, “my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Later in his life, when John Lennon became a crusader for peace, he noted how difficult it was to struggle against a society seemingly indifferent to the pursuit of happiness and focused on violence. “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game,” Lennon said. “The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is nonviolence and humor.” In our pursuit for a utopian society, or even a utopia within ourselves, we need to transcend the meaningless distractions and the temptation to become angry or fearful. ”Imagine all the people sharing all the world,” as the lyrics to Imagine suggest, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.” John Lennon got it right again when he sang All You Need is Love. No one is the solution for your own happiness but yourself.

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