Well, if you go back to E=mc2, it's fundamental. Energy is what makes up the metabolism of the city. Because the city has to be looked at through metabolism. And you know, that's the way to look at the economy, if you will. That's what the bees are doing and producing 40 pounds of honey. So my question around energy is this: What is the equivalent of our forty pounds of honey? That's my research question of the century.
And I'm getting close to an answer, and I think it actually emerges from some of the philosophies, proposals, research around happiness, believe it or not. Which is, you know - when you situate happiness, you can do it integrally, but you can't leave out those left-hand quadrants, that sense of well-being in all the I-we-it-its of yourself.
And I also think that that is a measure between our inner well-being and our outer structures. So bees can't produce 40 pounds of honey without also actually donating some of that energy to building the hive. That's their equivalent of bricks and mortar. But you know, they're very efficient and they don't over-build, and they don't waste a lot of stuff, they don't waste a lot of energy on toys and stuff that don't serve them.
And that is, if we looked at what is the metaphorical age of our species? It's somewhere between two and twelve years old, probably. And so we're just growing into a realization that we need to be responsible for our energy: for our personal energy, for how we interrelate with each other in any of our collectives, and how we expand that energy on ways of making ourselves as happy as possible.
The way that happiness is measured is quite interesting. I've done some research in it that kind of relates it to more or less subjective perceptions of well-being. But when you actually analyse what people are identifying in happiness, a lot of it is very able to be integrated into the whole integral, spiral complexity model. Because people need to have the basics of life, they need belonging, they need the sense of personal expression and power, they need some order in their life, they need to be successful, they need to have some social capacity.
And when you see this trajectory, which is really one of complexity, and you look at also how they've measured it in terms of dollars and cents - John Helliwell measured that after about 13.000 dollars a year, a person does not get more happy, in terms of their compensation. That probably has to be adjusted for inflation now. Maybe somewhere between I would say 13.000 and 20.000 US dollars a year, which compared to the kinds of compensation packages that we look at now and of course all of the real heavy-ended executive packages, the current research on happiness continues to say, almost the more stuff you have, the less happy you are.
So I actually do relate this back to energy, because I think that as we become more intelligent about how we use our energy, we will also tap into what will make us more happy. And that actually makes sense to me.