Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Universal Joy Principle

When I was in NY City a few weeks back, a friend of a friend (Thanks, Andrew!) mentioned this charity organization that stemmed from a few guys who had biked across the country. After three weeks of trying to remember what the number was, I finally found the magic digits via an extensive google search and a little inspiration from the beautiful warm weather today...

The broad effect of such a simple act is noteworthy. Give $88 and you are giving a bike. The uniqueness of 88Bikes is not just the direct action and product of a bike that you see from donations, but also the continuous investment in someone else's future that is sustained through that single donation. Think about it: If you provide a teenager with one bike ($88), that is going to provide them with daily transportation to and from work or school. Rather than having to walk miles, kids can make the long trek with greater ease. The bikes provide an quicker means of transporting goods between villages, which can increase trade and aid in local development. Goods transported could include vaccinations and medical supplies, which are a lot of the time difficult to quickly transport by foot from a central location (i.e. the city) to a far away rural village. (both photos courtesy of

Dan Austin, the "team leader" of 88bikes, is also a filmmaker in Brooklyn, NY and has published two books since his journey across the US. I came along this excerpt from his most recently published book:
(taken from an excerpt of Dan Austin's book, The Road Trip Pilgrim's Guide, p 53) The Universal Joy Principle "states that it is wise to make decisions that pump the most amount of joy back into the universe. The Universal Joy Principle comes in very useful on a pilgrimage; when you find yourself faced with a choice, simply apply the principle by asking what decision will bring about the most amount of overall joy. The answer (and your actions) will then naturally lead to happiness and fulfillment."

...What can I say? I'm hooked.

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