Happiness is Richness

Happiness is Richness

What is it that makes us HUMAN?

Either you're happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage, because you have happiness inside, or you don't get anywhere!

I am Jose Mujica. I worked the fields as a farmer to make a living in the first part of my life. Then I dedicated myself to the struggle for change, to improve life in my society. And now, I am the president. And tomorrow, like everyone, I'll be just a pile of worms and disappear.

I had many setbacks, many injuries, some years in prison. Anyway... The routine, for anyone setting out to change the world. Miraculously, I'm still here. And above all, I love life. I hope to present myself for the final journey like someone who goes into a bar and says to the bartender, "This round is on me!"

I stand out because my values and way of life reflect those of the society to which I am honored to belong. And I cling to them! Being the president doesn't matter. I have thought a lot about that. I spent almost ten years in solitary, in a hole. Plenty of time to think... I spent seven years without one book! That left me time to think. And this is what I discovered: Either you're happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage, because you have happiness inside, or you don't get anywhere!

I am not advocating poverty. I am advocating sobriety. But since we have invented a consumer society, the economy must constantly grow. If it fails to increase, it's a tragedy. We have invented a mountain of superfluous needs. Shopping for new, discarding the old... That's a waste of our lives! When I buy something, when you buy something, you're not paying money for it. You're paying with the hours of your life you had to spend earning that money. The difference is that life is one thing money can't buy.

Life only gets shorter. And it is pitiful to waste one's like and freedom that way.

Man may very well be the only animal capable of self-destruction.

We have invented a mountain of superfluous needs.

Uruguay is a small country and we don't have  presidential jet. We don't especially care to have one. From France, we decided to buy a very expensive helicopter, a rescue helicopter with surgical facilities, to stand by in a remote area. Instead of buying a presidential jet, we got a helicopter that will be posted in central Uruguay to rescue accident victims, and offer ongoing emergency medical services.

It's so easy! Do you see a dilemma? A presidential jet or a rescue helicopter. It always comes down to that. It seems to me to be a question of sobriety. I'm not suggesting we go back to living in caves or straw huts. Not at all. That's not the idea.

What I do recommend is that we stop wasting resources on useless things, or luxurious houses that require six servants to maintain. What good is all that? What good is it? None of that is necessary. We can live much more modestly. We can spend our resources on things that are really important for everyone. That's the real meaning of democracy, the meaning that politicians have lost.

Because if it meant royal crowns, feudal barons, with clowns blowing trumpets when the lord rides out to hunt... If that was the idea we'd be in ancient times. Why did we have revolutions? In the name of equality and the rest. All these presidential mansions are pretty much the same idea.

In Germany, they escorted me with 25 BMW motorcycles, they put me in a Mercedes-Benz with doors that weighed 3 tons because of the armoring... What good is any of that? It's a story...

I'm a humble man, I take what comes, I manage with it, but still... I must say what I think. It's not a lack of resources. It's a lack of governance. Governments are preoccupied with winning the next election, with who's going to be boss. We fight for power... and we forget people and world issues.

The crisis is not environmental. It is political. Our civilization has reached a phase where we need a planetary consensus, and we are looking away from it. We are blinded by chauvinism and by the thirst for domination, especially the most powerful countries. They should be setting an example!

It is shameful that for 25 years, since the Kyoto Accords, we are still dragging our feet to take basic measures. It is shameful. Man may very well be the only animal capable of self-destruction. That is the dilemma facing us. I only hope that I am wrong.

Human nature is constructed in such a way that you end up learning much more from suffering that from a life of ease. That does not mean that I recommend a quest for suffering or anything like that. But this is what I want to make people understand: You can always pick yourself up again.

Jose Mujica interview from HUMAN the movie.

Man may very well be the only animal capable of self-destruction.

It is always worth it starting from zero again, once, or a thousand times, as long as you're still alive. That's the biggest lesson in life. In other words, you are not defeated until you give up the fight. You give up the fight by giving up the dream. Fighting, dreaming, being down on the ground, confronting reality, that's what gives meaning to existence, to the lives we lead.

You can't live life when you nurse a grudge. And you can't live going in circles. The grief I've known in life will never be healed. No one can take it back. You have to learn to pack up your scars and keep going, headed for the future. If I spend my time licking my wounds, I'm not moving forward. I see life as the road that lies ahead. What counts is tomorrow.

I've been told, I've been warned, it's an old saying, you must remember the past or be condemned to repeat it. I know what humans are! The only animal who stubs his toe twenty times on the same pebble. Each generation learns from its experiences, not from those of others. I do not idealize humanity.

What could one learn from someone else's experience? We learn only from what we go through ourselves. Anyway, that's my vision of life. I don't have any scores to settle.

It is always worth it starting from zero again, once, or a thousand times, as long as you're still alive.



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