Well-being, both material and spiritual, of a person and a community is determined by many values such as health, wealth, interpersonal relationships, freedom, peace etc. For most people finances play a vital role in achieving well-being (maintaining health, wealth, freedom, peace and good relationships), which are influenced by economy. Our economy, as well as the one of most of the world’s countries' societies is based on knowledge. The strategic goal of the European Union, determined by the European Council in Lisabon
is: to be the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy
in the world, in order to maintain sustainable economic growth, strengthen employment, economic reform and social cohesion.
How come with all the great knowledge used by educated professionals, experts, specialists, academics, intellectuals and other highly educated citizens occupying the highest municipal, governmental and corporate positions, nevertheless most countries are in debt?
How come most of the highly educated members of our society live in debt and in constan struggle, are not really successful and rarely in a state of well-being?
Is knowledge really the basis for prosperity? Is success of an economy really based on knowledge?
The answer provided by "The School of Life" to why we experience collapse, crisis and unsteady economy is because our economy is based on knowledge.
The model for overcoming crisis and for the lasting success and happiness, suggested by "The School of Life" (i.e. its founder Talidari), is that our economy, our society and the success of its individuals should be based on three pillars - knowledge, skills and virtues, with emphasis on the virtues:
In the knowledge-based economy and education the missing foundations are the virtues and skills - they should form the basis, not only additional "bricks or tools" to build our success.
What's the use of all the knowledge in this world if a person does not have certain virtues to use his or her knowledge properly?! In business environment, for example, one needs virtues such as enterprising, self-initiative, self-discipline, perseverance, persistence, determination, endurance, resilience, consistency, patience, faith (in yourself, in your possibilities, in the value of what you do etc.), credibility, trust, love (for your work and others), responsibility, authenticity, joy, enthusiasm, optimism, creativity, innovativeness, integrity, honesty, honor, wisdom, diligence, humbleness, curiosity, openness etc.
The lack of virtues leads to corruption, irresponsible behavior, misconduct, greed, laziness and similar flaws that bring about failure and suffering.
Through formal education we get mostly knowledge and through the school of life we normally develop some virtues and skills. The latter happens through upbringing, religious practice, informal education, self-education and other extra-curricular activities and experiences. However, unfortunately, nowadays it is often the case that parents do not have enough time nor the know-how to pass the necessary virtues and skills onto their children. Also, it is often the case that besides formal education parents provide their children only with sports activities and foreign language tuition at the expense of non-formal education that specializes on virtues.
In order to avoid building these existential pillars in a nonchalant manner,
we have created an e-learning program called "The School of Life" and the pertaining e-course "Virtuology" offering support in building up virtues and skills.
The knowledge upon which our economy is based is in fact information, not the truth. Having information or knowing the facts is not equivalent of knowledge, because the facts are not always right nor sufficient. Everything is relative but the truth. So the knowledge, too, is relative, as it depends on a series of factors. The indirect or transferred knowledge we receive through other people and the media is not the same as the real truth about reality or direct or original knowledge we receive by, say, intuition and conscience. Thus, in order to achieve both personal and social well-being, we shouldn't aspire to and build our life on knowledge but on truth or wisdom (which is a virtue).
We know that for personal happiness and success, fulfillment of only one aspect of our life is not enough. It is necessary to excel in most of them, if not all of them. A person who has a very successful career and high income but poor health and major issues in relationships, having no peace of mind, no real freedom and not enough free time for family friends, we cannot call such person successful and happy. Well-being, as in all-around success and happiness, consists of at least five values:
(MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL)
Physical and mental
Interpersonal - family, romance, business, friendships...
financial, material and spiritual wealth...
free will, choices...
spiritual, emotional, with others, national...
Balance and Harmony
In order to achieve lasting happiness and success, we have to understand the law of polarity, to be stable and balance between the opposite poles within ourselves, as well as between the bipolar tendencies of which two are ubiquitous - material and spiritual. A person who is out of balance cannot achieve lasting spiritual nor material well-being.
Those seeking only material achievements and thereby neglecting their spiritual side, will never accomplish the fullness of life, and they will therefore not experience complete happiness and success. Likewise, those who focus mainly or even only on the spiritual aspect of their life, neglecting and even criticizing the material world, are also unbalanced and unable to have peace and harmony in the material world in which they live. They are often experiencing financial difficulties and depending on other people's or state's charity (creating karmic debts).
For every ascent and "flight" we need both "wings", material and spiritual. Using only one is either difficult or impossible. We could compare it with the fact that for an easy stride through life we need both feet. We could use only one, but it is harder. Thus, use both of your wings or both of your feet, and everything will be fine. Use your virtues.