A few brief thoughts: a vision of social responsibility that we should all have
I’d like to share a few words with you all today. A few brief thoughts that I think may be of interest to you.
As humans we should accept that our primary goal is not to abandon life’s principal values at all levels of our existence, whether it’s personal, family or professional relationships. Some people and companies focus all their attention on a single concept, putting all their energy and will into that one objective: growth, which is often understood as the search for money and power. We’re changing the values of life, some of us without even realising it, and others intentionally. We tell our children from an early age that they must focus on their studies, try to be the best in their class, get the highest marks, choose the best course of study, search for the most prestigious universities, the most complete master’s, etc. We’re always telling them how the world is becoming more and more complicated, competition is getting tougher and that they must, therefore, prepare themselves as fully as possible if they want to “be someone” in life, and to a large extent we associate this with earning a lot of money and having a prominent position.
But we often forget to instil something else in them: a vision of social responsibility that we should all have. Achieving an important place in the working world, a prestigious and well-paid position, should entail a series of responsibilities that we seldom acknowledge. You can only achieve a full and healthy life by using your abilities to do something for others. We must delve deeper and leave the purely material side of life to one side. Happiness is that wonderful feeling of doing something for other people, and also the feeling of being loved. This is the greatest level of happiness we can aspire to.
Some people shy away from their responsibility by blaming everything on society as a whole, on politicians, on God… I feel it’s all too easy to play the blame game, to decide the situation is set up in such a way that it’s impossible for us as individuals to do anything to change it, or to say the government must solve the problems, or even that God is ultimately responsible for letting history show constant examples of what humans are capable of doing (wars, the Holocaust, dictatorships, etc.). It’s the easiest thing to do: to blame everyone is to dilute responsibility, push it away with it until it becomes a distant, inaccessible entity, something that doesn’t even touch us. However, I maintain that it’s up to each of us, who all make up society, and as we live in a democratic society, we are the ones who appoint the governments and allow them to make decisions. Ultimately, if we’re not capable of taking the first step to try and change things from the bottom up, if we don’t see ourselves as an active part of society with decision-making capacity, knowing that each of us, to the best of our abilities, is capable of improving our environment, then nothing will ever change.
We are people, we are human, and that is what differentiates us from animals. Although we share a great genetic similarity with a large part of the animal kingdom, and we’re only separated by a few chromosomes from apes, we must recognise that, in essence, we’re different, unique, capable of doing the best and the worst, asserting our feelings, being humble, seeking happiness, and trying to improve the situation of others. Happiness knows no limits when it’s accompanied by doing good for others, not only at an economic level but also in terms of values, ideologies, poetry, religion, etc. Yes, religion too, all religions have their difference and idiosyncrasies, but they all seek the same thing at heart: to get closer to a superior being through a series of values that aim to improve the situation of individuals. All religions are good as long as they steer clear of economic interests and power, which is not always the case.
We live in a world that moves faster and faster every day, what we learned yesterday is now obsolete, and we can even begin to imagine the technology we could have in our hands tomorrow. We must seize these advances for the greater good, to improve the world, to achieve greater equality in the distribution of wealth, and promote redistribution and growth policies where we find the most poverty. We must never forget that even today, in spite of all the continuous progress and advances, the vast majority of the wealth in the world is in the hands of a tiny percentage of the world’s population, while a huge number of people lack the very basics to survive. We have the obligation to leave our children a better world than the one we found, so we must begin to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there and act on a series of values that unfortunately are very often left out of our daily lives. Concepts such as love, loyalty, sincerity, humility, solidarity, peace and forgiveness are the pillars of all religions and should also form the fundamental pillars of any life that seeks its own realisation to the fullest.
Therefore, it’s essential to focus on our children’s education. We have to understand and make them know that school records are not just about mathematics, physics, geography, history, etc. the knowledge they obtain in subjects related to humanities such as art, music and poetry is also important. All of these are aspects that ultimately make us truly human. To a large extent, it was that very reasoning that only technical knowledge was important that brought about the financial crisis in 2008 and turned the economic world upside down. For years, society as a whole blindly believed that mathematics and economics were what only mattered, what governed our existence from governments and large multinationals, and we left aside any other type of knowledge that didn’t bring about any type of immediate monetary gain. The art of reading a good poem, looking at a painting, letting oneself be, simply, set on the celestial flow of life, admiring what’s wonderful about each moment of the sun and the moon, letting oneself be swayed by the principles of solidarity, all of these went by the wayside.
Compassion and love of people who do not only think about money, or the private interest of a few who would do whatever it takes to achieve their goals, destroying human values and the search for a better world for future generations. To live a useful life for others, as opposed to a life of disrespect, arguments and competition, we must educate our children about generosity, respect for people and the environment from an early age, this is the basic responsibility of each and every one of us. We have to make ethics and cohesiveness our greatest value and become a real society of people who place their intelligence at the service of the common good, and the material and spiritual progress of humanity as a whole. We are capable of creating artificial intelligence thanks to technological advances, but this shouldn’t mask the reality that real intelligence is what we as humans have because it comes with values, beliefs and feelings. We have to focus not only on our children but also on other people’s children, who we should see as being as important as our own. We’re all part of a single global community, we’re all responsible for it, and ethics and values must be the basic conditions for improving this reality, starting with companies and every single one of us. We must remember that companies are led by people, and if these leaders can take into account concepts such as solidarity, respect for others, freedom and peace, when making decisions instead of only focussing on profit and loss accounts, the progress of society as a whole would undoubtedly be considerably greater than it is today.
In conclusion: we must base our lives on the sum of several basic principles, such as love, respect for others and solidarity. So, let’s start today, by applying these principles, asking ourselves what we have done for others during the day, being an example for our friends and acquaintances to follow, let’s be truly and completely human… these few words sum up everything we need to be truly happy.