The Daily Davos

01.25.12

Gross National Happiness

Altruism is a pretty rare concept at Davos, but this saffron-robed monk is a regular, and he knows how to speak his truth to power.

I first met Matthieu Ricard, France's most famous Buddhist monk, on the way to a Davos forum six or seven years ago. Though he was dressed in his saffron robes, which are fairly conspicuous on a flight to Zurich, what struck me was the series of photographs I could see him editing on his laptop: remarkable shots of people in the Himalayas that eventually went into his spectacular book Tibet: An Inner Journey. Ricard, the son of the late philosopher Jean-François Revel (Without Marx or Jesus), is probably best known for his own philosophical books that deal, quite literally, with the pursuit of happiness. In this brief interview at the Davos conference center, he talked about the power of altruism and the need to change the way we measure our values.

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