For me the purpose of life is to know other people…is to discover what life is. Who inhabits the world? What is it to be human? What can I give to the world which it doesn’t have…a gift for tolerating my presence in this world..…and unless I know the people, I can’t know what it does not have - Theodore Zeldin
Imagine balancing self-interest and caring for others. If this is possible, then:
(1) What is the approximate balance between the two today - in individuals, organisations and societies? How much time do we really spend thinking about and then acting on other people's needs?
The idea that life should be one third learn, one third earn, one third return is attractive, even if not necessarily complete (where is the time for playing, for reflecting, for relaxing etc?), and provides a neat encapsulation of Charles Handy's advice that we should carefully "chunk" our time in order to lead a "portfolio life".
Others are trying to scale this idea to the societal level, advocating living in intentional communities.
According to Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind, logical, linear "left-brain" thinking dominated the Industrial Age, but relationship-oriented "right-brain" thinking will shape the "Conceptual Age". Pink believes in "symphonic thinking".
When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead - Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit"
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man - Euripides
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be - William Hazlitt
I don"t seek balance. I want to work, work, work - Ann Livermore, executive VP, Hewlett-Packard, http://trax.fastcompany.com/k/w/mailman/fasttake/20070110/quote
He turned the pages and marveled how dull information is deprived of personality. The sorrows of humanity are no one's sorrows, as newspaper readers long ago found out. A frisson of horror may go down one's spine at wholesale destruction, but one's heart stays unmoved. A thousand people drowned in floods in China are news: a solitary child drowned in a pond is tragedy - Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time