Numerous people and organizations throughout the world have been working for years in many different areas to alleviate suffering. But they generally operate independently, without strong links that would allow them to provide each other with support and become more effective.
The desire to alleviate suffering appears to be widely shared across the globe, and so there must be deep-seated reasons why practically no society has made it its ethical priority over thousands of years of history.
Our proposition is to organize the alleviation of suffering, steadily and sustainably.
An alliance as cornerstone
The cornerstone of this organization is an alliance that will spearhead and coordinate efforts.
The alleviation of suffering in the world is this alliance’s ethical priority.
This priority applies to all beings capable of suffering, whether human or not. As commonly understood, the word suffering refers to an unpleasant subjective state that one wishes to avoid. All forms of suffering are taken into consideration, whether of physical or mental origin, with a primary focus on the most intense suffering.
The alliance is open to studying any proposal that aims to alleviate suffering, without prejudice. It values diversity in the approaches taken.
Any individual who considers the alleviation of suffering in the world to be an ethical priority is invited to join the alliance. In addition, any organization that views the alleviation of suffering in the world as its own ethical priority is also invited to join.
The welcome and initiation of each new ally are given special attention.
The alliance’s decision-making procedures are not frozen, but can be modified and adapted over time by the allies themselves, coauthors of the alliance.
Three areas of focus
The most important source of support for the allies is cultural: the greater the degree to which a culture of alleviation of suffering is spread globally, the more effective each ally’s actions will be, whichever their field.
The alliance’s main organizational activity consists in promoting the value of alleviating suffering so that it is increasingly integrated into decision-making throughout the world, in both public and private spheres.
What is the key motivating principle for spreading this value? Aside from our natural sense of empathy, our individual conscience has the ability to look beyond itself in order to recognize that any suffering experienced anywhere is a part of our own suffering.
“The chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
“We are them”: Just as our conscience extends to all sentient beings, it is humble enough to recognize that each of us is a being that suffers, that causes suffering and that uses suffering to certain ends.
The principle of extended consciousness is the keystone to a culture of alleviation of suffering.
The alliance favors the emergence of a new discipline focused on the phenomenon of suffering.
The primary mission of such a discipline is to map out suffering and provide the necessary tools to measure it and thereby prioritize actions, facilitate decision-making and evaluate results.
Existing organizations that alleviate suffering, both public and private, are already doing tremendous work. The alliance supports their actions, including by encouraging allies to become involved in such organizations.
For forms of suffering that are currently neglected, the alliance aims to initiate new activities or organizations capable of addressing them.
Attending to one’s own suffering is a starting point for alleviating suffering in the world. The alliance values prevention and personal autonomy.