The Common Good

I Share a Dream for the Common Good

Date: April 11, 2013

I was very moved by Arianna Huffington's recent piece called "God, Cellphones, Quarterly Earnings and the Search for the Common Good." It's wrapped around the release of Jim Wallis's book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good and challenges all of us to give some serious thought as to how we all might live more aware of "our greater common good."

It resonated with me for many reasons, but also because a few years ago I was writing about happiness, specifically our country-wide profound lack of it these days, and discovered that the happiest place on earth wasn't Disneyland after all, but Bhutan, a place committed to the shared common good. Conversely, we are so strung out on anti-depressants (taking far more than any other country in the world) and seem to be at least one of the unhappiest places on earth.

What's up with that? I think part of what's up with that has a lot to do with the whole idea of how selfish and self-serving we are, mixed in with our obsessive digital disconnect -- and that disconnect is costing us. Not to mention we too often talk self-help and self-analyzing to death, relentlessly pursuing some kind of personal perfection that we constantly feel we are falling short of. Perfection is a hologram of a goal, but healthy change for the better -- a far better pursuit -- is much more likely when pursued as a community project: as a hands-joined, hearts-united common goal.