To become happier, we have to change our inner attitudes as much as our outward circumstances. I am talking of the perennial philosophy which enables us to find the positive force in ourselves, and to see the positive side in others. Such compassion, to ourselves and others, can be learned. It has been well described in Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, and it ought to be taught in schools. Every city should have a policy for promoting a healthier philosophy of life in its youngsters and for helping them to distinguish between a hedonistic addiction to superficial pleasures and real happiness.
So my hope is that in this new century we can finally adopt the greatest happiness of humankind as our concept of the common good. This would have two results. It would serve as a clear guide to policy. But, even more important, it would inspire us in our daily lives to take more pleasure in the happiness of others, and to promote it. In this way we might all become less self-absorbed and more happy.