Remember we only have a short span of life to live. The deceptive worldview prevails to depress you and manipulate your capacity to think and feel.
By Aqeel Ansari
A discussion of the prevailing worldview takes on new meaning once we examine how the deceptive worldview influences even the top 1% of people who compete and lobby for wealth and power. We begin with an important question. How do we explain the behaviour of billionaires who voluntarily give away a portion of their wealth to benefit the 99%? We do hear about billionaires who set up not-for-profit foundations to build economic and social infrastructure in select countries to help the losers. Is there an economic justification for such behaviour? No there isn’t.
An entrepreneur invests in a productive activity for profit, by definition. A billionaire who voluntarily gives away some of his wealth to benefit the losers meets the first test; he does invest in productive activities. But he fails to meet the second test because he does not operate for profit. Is it then a charitable act out of the goodness of his heart? It certainly is a charitable act but we lack the sensory organ to sense the goodness of his heart. Yet it is reasonable to ask where was the good heart when he was busy accumulating billions and aggressively lobbying to maintain the status quo to protect and grow what he was accumulating?
What suddenly makes human welfare and the reduction of human suffering the concern of a billionaire? Once he accumulates enough wealth, he discovers that he is not experiencing satisfaction in life. Recall the principle of human exchange. No voluntary exchange ever occurs unless the value of what you want exceeds the value of what you give up. Obviously, he gives away a tiny portion of his wealth in charity because the value of satisfaction he receives from the charitable act exceeds the value of what he is giving away. Of course, he also receives from the media publicity for his charitable act, which helps him build public image. What good is wealth if not used for display of ostentatious lifestyle or philanthropy or a combination of both?
His behaviour evidences the truth that accumulation of wealth is not the end in life because wealth cannot and does not buy satisfaction. Summon your capacity to feel and imagine the frustration the billionaires feel for having missed the opportunity for so long to experience a satisfying journey of life but only halfheartedly wish to experience it now. Recall the apparently successful knowledge experts serving the interests of the winners who utilize them as resource to market a deceptive worldview. Remember they are critical of you because you are not willing to buy the deceptive worldview. They would rather prefer you accept the prevailing worldview and follow the crowd. Invite them to do some soul-searching and learn lessons from how the deceptive worldview affects even the lives of the winners they admire. The knowledge experts will agree with my redefinition of the cause of misery: plenty is as much the cause of misery as paucity is. The publication of Prozac Nation in early 1990s evidences my redefinition.
Here is the question only you can answer. Do you want to focus on own success and accumulate enough wealth first or would you rather prefer to wait for satisfaction in life later? Remember we only have a short span of life to live. The deceptive worldview prevails to depress you and manipulate your capacity to think and feel. You cannot strive for success with an injurious attitude of self-importance, greed and selfishness. But if you are determined to empower you with great thoughts for a satisfying journey of life, I invite you to respond with reason and hope. Strive for own success while helping others succeed as well. Take charge of your life, elevate your striving and respond with courage to broader challenges of humanity. But how, you ask.
Don’t accept the prevailing worldview; create own worldview instead. Build a worldview where humanity is the whole and humans are the constituents who exist to cooperate and share naturally. Recall that Nature does what it is designed to do and it retains its balance only because every natural being does what it is designed to do, gives what is due to others and takes from others what is due to it. Only a fool can miss the uninterrupted drama of cooperation and sharing in Nature. We are also natural beings. Hence cooperate and share with fellow humans in mutually satisfying endeavors. This is how you add day by day value to your life and life of fellow humans. This is a satisfying experience because life has become cheap for most people. Adding value even to a single life adds value to humanity. Own great thoughts of the Qur’an and create own worldview.
If the worldview is only a mental picture of how one views and interprets the world, why do the winners create and lobby for a worldview that does not promote widespread prosperity, justice and peace? We must answer the question because the prevailing worldview causes misery for humanity. The answer is equally important for a determined soul like you seeking to build own worldview, which is inclusive and benefits all. My research points to the variable that determines your worldview. This variable is what I call perception of life. You accept or reject a worldview based on how you perceive life. The winners and knowledge experts advocate the prevailing worldview because it is consistent with how they perceive life. They know it, understand its consequence and yet they aggressively lobby for it to prevail. The losers do not seem to prefer the prevailing worldview but they do not appear to reject it either because they accept below average, mediocre performance. They lack a perception of life necessary to create own inclusive worldview. Read more about the perception of life in the next column. n
(The writer is based at Austin, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected])