Reflections on 2019 and New Year’s Resolutions
A new year is upon us, and the world welcomes a new decade. 2019 has been a positive eye-opener, leaving us with a number of understandings about our lives and our future as a human society.
We have learned how basically every system in the world fails to make us happier. Also, we became more mature and closer to understanding that we cannot change the world unless we change ourselves.
Therefore, as we head into 2020, how can we turn the page and effectively improve our lives? How can we establish goals that are both worthy and achievable?
The State of Our World
Undoubtedly, one of the loudest wake-up calls that something is wrong with the planet has been the ecological disruptions of catastrophic proportions. We started realizing that in order to face global environmental challenges, it is insufficient to burn fewer trees or become vegan. It became clearer that such a path fails us because it lacks an approach to the cause of the problems, which is the human ego: our selfish and exploitive attitude to our surrounding environment.
Misinformation was also another prevalent tendency this last year. We saw how the media influences our worldview, and not necessarily in our best interests, because it is usually controlled by interested parties seeking to advance specific agendas that cater to their own benefit. Money can buy placements in media outlets and social media, and anyone with enough of it can manipulate public opinion according to their interests.
Today’s media platforms make no improvements to our communication, but quite the opposite: they position people in opposition to each other and induce constant friction with one another. In essence, they work to our detriment, rather than to our benefit.
On a social level, we make no moves to promote connection-enriching education, one aimed at finding harmonious balance in our increasingly complex web of pluralistic connections. Conversely, instead of showing more and more positive role models and examples of people creating friendly connections in a time of growing social division, people are now more exposed to violence at school, at the workplace, in families, and in the arts, culture and media.
We also see how from one year to the next, children become less and less dependent on their parents. On one hand, their growing independence is something positive, but on the other hand, it adds economic pressure on the new generation who has a hard time finding its place in the labor market.
The AI revolution has started showing itself in how machines rapidly substitute humans in many areas, making many professions in the hands of humans extinct.
Tourism continues as a busy industry that the entire world is engaged in. However, I believe that in the coming year, it will begin to slow down for several reasons, including economic difficulties and also since people’s desires constantly change. What was attractive and special in the past becomes routine, and its taste fades away and loses importance.
Humanity has exceeded its material sources of satisfaction that only give short-lived pleasure. It is a never-ending race to chase new sources of contentment as soon as old ones are satiated. We will then eventually return to our starting point, ending up in the same initial state of dissatisfaction, even being unhappier than we were before.
Worthwhile and Fulfilling Resolutions
In our current state, we feel more negative sensations such as emptiness and loneliness because we have realized that basically everything we as humanity have accomplished until today is purposeless and meaningless, as it provides no lasting satisfaction. That is the reason why, as societies evolve and life becomes more demanding, we can anticipate higher levels of depression and drug addiction in the coming year. Governments will even encourage the consumption of certain psychoactive substances, as they will serve the purpose of keeping the masses calm.
Increasing misfortunes and problems in human society will intensify the question as to why we fail to achieve an authentic and lasting form of happiness. On this point, the wisdom of Kabbalah explains that once we reach a dead end in our current form of development, we realize that the solution can be found within ourselves, in changing our individualistic and egoistic nature which harms us and our environment, transforming it into a connected reality of cooperation and care for others.
In short, the stronger our relations with others, the happier we are.
Therefore, the most important New Year’s resolution is to invest in the only source of true satisfaction, a source that can be found through positive human connection, in our collective unity, where each person is outwardly focused toward building friendships and benefiting society.
If our desire is focused outside ourselves, on giving to others, then we will not feel empty all the time. In such a state of connection, we will be able to achieve a beautiful and complete life, free of suffering. This source of fulfillment is limitless and not only relevant for the new year, but for our entire lives.