My solution to all society’s problems

“Be nice”

There you are. That was easy, wasn’t it.

I started reading the book on Systems thinking in the public sector, and my heart has already sunk into my boots and then slightly further, when it began with a quick summary of the basis of monetarism in game theory. Not because I’m not interested in the subject matter, but because of the discounting of altruism as an important motivator in human affairs.

When I think about my life, the key thing is how I spend my time. Time is something that we know is a limited resource. We all have some and we all share that knowledge. Other things, such as family, money, status, justice, friends, stuff, individuals have more or less of, depending on circumstances. How they value them can be measured in how much of their time they dedicate to them.

Each time you make a choice in how you spend your time, you are unconsciously stating your values. So, if you’re not sure what you think is important, then see how you spend your time. And if there’s a mismatch, you are probably not at your happiest. Anybody who visits me knows that I put a higher value on drawing than on housework, but they also know that a certain level of housework is done before I can start drawing, because otherwise I have fears that the evil monster who lives in the back of the fridge and sows mould on cold leftovers will come out and eat me. (Yes, I know that mould spores, don’t attempt to out-pedant me).

Well, how societies encourage their members to spend time gives us an idea of what that societies values are. So, if we’re encouraged to sit in traffic jams rather than use public transport, what does it say about society? Does this mean that we somehow value traffic jams? Is it the opportunity to meditate that they provide us with? Is it the conversion of fossil fuel directly into pollutants without any side-benefit of transportation? Is it the fact that it’s a community activity that many people can take part in.

Suggestions in the comments box please.