Humanism is the Joy of Living
In this essay I will talk about how to create a good society with a special emphasis on the happiness and joy of living. It is a field presented by Erich Fromm. He analyzed the work of the greatest authorities in the field of productive life and gave his recommendations on how to achieve a healthy and joyful life. Fromm analyzed the problem from a psychological perspective and left it to the individuals to accept his recommendations. Although Fromm sold many books, it cannot be determined how successful he has been in improving society. I wanted to accomplish a lot more, so I created a political-economic system that will, with the help of democracy, unconditionally and inevitably give all people a good, healthy and joyful life.
People strongly want happiness but are not successful in finding it. I'll try to explain in this essay why. In short, happiness is the result of satisfying needs while the inability to meet the needs creates a misfortune. Man forms need through his thoughts. Thoughts objectively define the basic human needs, such as for example, freedom and realization of assets for survival. Inability to achieve freedom and finding food creates an objective misfortune. This type of misfortune today should not exist because society is sufficiently developed to be able to overcome it; but it still exists. Why?
Thoughts are free and as such they are free to set needs. Man is aware of his own powerlessness in relation to nature and has a need to overcome it. At such moments man can easily use the freedom of his thoughts to create a subjective vision of the nature that surrounds him. Generally such a view tries to glorify his person and diminishes the power of nature. If such a view does not directly confront the powers of nature man adopts it as real. In this way, a man builds the illusion of overcoming the powerlessness in nature. That is how the man alienates himself from his nature.
The man most often tries to compensate his powerlessness in nature by creating power over other people. This is achieved by using physical force, ideology, power, wealth, fame, and other alienated values that give power over the people. Every success in the field of achieving the power over people in a man's subjective consciousness easily gives the characteristics of overcoming his objective powerlessness in nature. It is an illusion that brings great happiness but it looks real to the alienated man and he accepts it as such. The man, who achieves power over people or becomes rich or famous, experiences an eruption of captivating happiness.
But there arises a big problem; the man who becomes convinced that he has overcome his powerlessness before nature sooner or later comes in contradiction with the objective laws of nature. He reveals that his life is passing, that emerge stronger, richer, more famous people than him. The result is disappointing, the illusion of happiness vanishes and pain appears. Once a man becomes convinced that he has overcome his own powerlessness in nature, any violation of its illusions leads in his subjective consciousness threatens his survival. Then he desperately acts in the field of alienated interests, trying to develop more power, more wealth, or more fame. But no activity can affect the nature of the origin of such needs. Power over the people cannot overcome human objective weakness in nature. So the man in the field of alienated interest cannot find his satisfaction. That is why such a man lives a permanently dissatisfied life. When a man satisfies his hunger he does not eat anymore because it would bring problems in his stomach and he is aware of this. But man does not recognize the causes of trouble arising from the formation of alienated needs. Otherwise, he would have dismissed alienated needs. The result of the formation of alienated needs is a lot worse than when a man with a full stomach continues to eat.
In an alienated society, successful people are more alienated from their nature, and therefore lead to stress and divorce for example, and if they do not live reasonably, productively, and disciplined enough, which is difficult to achieve in the privileges they have, then, their way of life leads them to depression, drug addiction, alcoholism , etc. If you pay attention, you can see that the powerful, rich, and famous people who are not responsible for their lives are not happy. They just try hard to demonstrate the success and well-being. As a rule they are very concerned about their wealth, fame, power, and do not enjoy life because they are alienated from their natural needs.
Furthermore, power over people develops human narcissistic character that glorifies own personality and underestimates other people. Narcissistic man loses respect for other people. He loses the ability to achieve natural advantages in relation with other people. Greed creates his unfeeling heart, perverts his soul and takes away the joy of living. Such a man often creates an objective suffering to other people preventing them from meeting their needs. Benefits arising from the equal relationship among people by their nature are the greatest possible benefits that human nature can accomplish. The man who, because of his ignorance, rejects such benefits is his own worst enemy.
Inability to meet the alienated needs creates alienated misery but to man it looks real. It can be even more problematical than objective misery. For example, a man would never commit suicide because he cannot satisfy his natural needs, for example hunger, but he would do it if he cannot meet his alienated needs. If a man by his subjective conscience finds the origin of his problems outside of himself, then painful tension easily turns him to the destruction of the world that surrounds him. Alienation develops irrationality and permanently miserable results from which it is difficult to find a way out. The alienated man lives spiritually a very poor life no matter what he achieves. He cannot understand the nature of his needs, acts against his nature and lives an unhappy life.
Therefore, the society must develop an orientation that will stimulate objectivity and not alienation of objectivity. This is exactly what the system I have proposed promises. This system will bring society to a natural, good and joyful life.
It may sound unbelievable, but all the problems with happiness and unhappiness will be solved by establishing equal rights among the people. Today we have a formal equality proclaimed by human rights laws. In practice, there is no equality because there are a huge number of different privileges of people that bring harm to society. I have proposed a new system which will begin to solve the problem of unequal rights among the people by the system of equal right evaluation among people. I've called it democratic anarchy. Each person will have an equal right to evaluate a few people of their choice. The positive evaluation will slightly increase the income of the evaluated person and the negative evaluation will slightly diminish it. Such evaluations will force every man to respect other people; to do everything they can to beautify other people’s lives and not to do anything that can hurt other people. This will be the basis for the establishment of a healthy, constructive and productive orientation of society.
Equal rights among the people must certainly be extended to essentially equal rights of people to work. The new system proposes an open competition of workers performed by their labour productivity offers for the right to work at any public workplace at any time. Productivity will be measured by the earned money, by the quantity and quality of goods produced, or by rating productivity obtained from consumers. The worker who offers more profit, more manufactured goods, better, cleaner and cheaper production will get the job. Here it is only about a technical problem that can be solved. I wrote more about it in the article The Future of Economics.
There is no better division of labour than the work competition on the labour market. The new division of labour will balance the interests of workers at all workplaces by using a newly defined system of responsibility of workers. More responsible positions will be more rewarded in the case of increased productivity and more sanctioned in case of a fall in productivity. Thus, a new division of labour will abolish privileges, one of the biggest sources of problems in our society. Thus, a new division of labour will make all jobs equally desirable. Thus, a new division of labour will be accepted by all members of society as just. In addition, the work competition will achieve significantly higher productivity than private enterprise can accomplish and that will send capitalism with all its disadvantages down in history.
The work competition will allow each man to get a job that they prefer. Thus, work will become the value for itself. A man who loves some work will make greater efforts to achieve the highest productivity in the desired workplace and thus will achieve the right to work. When a person invests effort in the field he likes, he is building his productive orientation and life satisfaction. Thus, full equality between men and the man’s creative essential power brought to life, will bring big stable benefits in the form of joy of living.
Happiness and joy are similar phenomena, but there is a difference. Happiness is convenience that cannot exist without unhappiness, and generally does not last long. Happiness is greater if a previous or possible unhappiness was higher and vice versa. Happiness does not necessarily depend on man's activities; it can come or not come. The joy of life is a permanent and stable natural advantage because it occurs as a man's entire productive orientation. It is hardly accessible when one has no freedom of decision and action which is the case today. For that reason, it is very difficult to find a joyful man today.
Real equality among men will reduce the possibility of establishing supremacy among the people and this will reduce the possibility of appearance of false and alienated fortune and misfortune. Joyful man much more easily accepts the limitations of his nature, and therefore subjective happiness and unhappiness could harder affect him. A joyful man will not necessarily be able to meet all his needs. Whoever invests a great effort in satisfying his needs and cannot reach satisfaction will be sad, but will not be angry. The system will set an objective justice and respect among the people that will obstruct the appearance of anger. Sadness is a much healthier and better emotion than anger, because it is more rational. Sociologically, as opposed to anger, sadness does not create conflict. Psychologically, sadness in comparison with anger, allows a man to understand objective reality, to solve problems productively and constructively. Angriness destroys the soul and sadness develops it. Sadness can direct man to a better life and angriness cannot.
Happiness is short-lived. The alienated man wants to keep it as much as possible no matter what, and therefore easily becomes self-centered, greedy, and develops many negative character traits that harm him, and society as a whole. Natural joyful man lives a productive life and knows that his benefits mostly depend on him alone. Because of it he is very willing and eager to share, ready and willing to cooperate on all levels of human relationships and as such, he helps produce benefits to society.
The proposed system will enable a man to be productive, satisfied with himself, and to believe in his future. Such a man is able to love. Today we distort the meaning of the word love because capitalism by its cruelty virtually destroyed our ability to love. The ability to love cannot be received; it must be earned by the productive way of living. It is in fact the highest accomplishment of the productive life and gives the biggest joy of living. Besides that, the proposed way of living will enable a man to reach the greatest knowledge – wisdom. A wise man has everything he needs regardless of how quantitatively or qualitatively it is, and therefore he is the master of his emotional states and lives a full, peaceful, and joyful life. This man is a free man.
Equal rights among the people will rid the people of authoritative pressure and give them freedom to follow their own interests, while at the same time forcing people to mutual respect. Such experiences will demystify the values imposed by authorities, and will teach people to live in accordance with their proper nature, which will in turn free them from all types of alienation characteristics of present-day society. Furthermore, the system will teach people to set their needs in accordance with the possibilities of satisfying them. This is the chief prerequisite for overcoming destructiveness in society, because people who permanently satisfy their needs are not destructive.
The system I have proposed will enable the people to correctly develop themselves and to be mentally and physically healthy. Healthy individuals will develop a healthy society and a healthy society will form even more healthy individuals. The process will develop cyclically and as a final result, a harmonic and good society will appear with individuals full of joy of living. The proposed system promises a natural and highly prosperous development of society, beyond the wildest dreams today. The system is defined, in detail, in my book, “The Humanism” available free of charge here.
April 8, 2004
Updated November 13, 2013
Copyright protected at Consumer and Corporate Affairs
November 13, 2013