Meditation and mindfulness are beautiful concepts becoming more readily accepted in the West. Take a look at any child engrossed in play and you will see meditation and/or mindfulness in its purest form; the child is totally immersed in the moment taking in every sight, sound, taste, touch and feel as it unfolds. These children live purely for the moment, are learning at an exponential rate, and most importantly, they are having fun.

Village kids in Papua New Guinea embracing the economy of fun. Photo: Kuni Takanami.

Village kids in Papua New Guinea embracing the economy of fun. Photo: Kuni Takanami.

As adults, our time of living in the moment seems to have come and gone, unless of course we are sitting quietly in a corner with our eyes closed or perhaps playing sport or performing music at the highest level. So why is it that we don’t run around in paddocks anymore flinging cow dung at each other, or spend hours wistfully staring at an abstract painting we are creating, tongue placed gracefully aside our mouths?

The answer, in short, is simple: we don’t have the time. Why don’t we have the time? Because we need to make money. Why do we need to make money? To survive… Or do we?

Since when did we need to make money to survive?

If you are Australian resident one only need look back 200 years to a time when money didn’t exist. Sure there may have been some form of bartering between tribes or a value assigned to certain objects that gave it worth above others, but money as we know it was not the driving factor around which every decision was based.

In contemporary society, every election campaign and result is based around money, so-called ‘environmental’ companies still have money as their bottom line, and consumerist advertising is based around companies aiming to make more money. Our whole world is obsessed with money, this thing that more recently doesn’t even exist in a physical form – merely numbers on a computer screen - yet has the power to push us to perform treacherous deeds, drive species to extinction, and even slaughter our neighbors just for a little more.

Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? So how does a planet so obsessed with money go back to realizing the value of fun?

 In July 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 65/309 (adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011), placing ‘happiness’ on the global development agenda.

So does this mean the rulers of the world may finally be realizing that profit should not only have to be measured in terms of monetary gain? Lets hope so.  Personally I can’t see too many wars breaking out over reserves of ‘fun’ or ‘happiness’ and I can’t imagine any country invading another so they had more resources to create more ‘fun’, in its purest form.

So here is my vote to happiness becoming the new global currency. On a local scale, let’s strive towards fun; take the time to have a laugh with your neighbor, surrender to the moment, be the butt of someone else’s joke. Happiness is one thing that will not drive the world, as we know it, to extinction.