The good life

I am fortunate in finding another article of relevance to one of my recent posts. This post pointed out that the offspring of non-English speaking immigrants from Europe had done well materially. I gave credit to their desire for education.

In a recent issue of The Weekend Australian Magazine, Hugh Mackay, a social researcher of renown, said he had noticed that “although people were saying that Australia was doing really well, they also felt anxious and confused, as if something was missing.” He went on to say: “My sense was that we had become distracted by materialism, and by the tantalising idea that everyone was entitled to a Utopia of self-indulgence.”

This resonates with my conclusion, after more than 6 decades of a highly interactive and contributory life in Australia, that my adopted nation is now a nation of great expectations. Now, assumed wants become asserted needs; and ‘they’ are expected to meet these ‘needs.’ As well, with politicians focusing on the next election all the time, rather than acting on pro-active policies for the long-term, is it surprising that more and more citizens become concerned about the future? Treading water with a full belly in rough seas is surely not a sustainable approach to life, is it?

Mackay is now promoting what he calls the ‘good life’: a commitment by us to treat others the way we would like to be treated. Since we are ‘’social creatures who depend on communities to sustain us,” “we have to build and nurture them, and treating others with kindness and respect is the best way to achieve that.” More ‘give’ and less ‘take’ – will that ameliorate that subliminal discomfort which Mackay senses in us?