We must bear in mind that the true test of civilization is not our material possessions or our manner or mode of life but the thought we bestow on the well-being of others. *
And what exactly creates well-being? It is certainly not the so-called consumption championed by modern economics. Consumption is a one-way street. It is a using up of resources. It is the least mindful and most thoughtless of actions. Well-being is created by a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a sense or responsibility and a spiritual understanding that we are One.
When we gauge our own lives or assess the life of our society we may confidently use the yardstick of thoughtfulness to measure the standard of living.
* Why the Village Movement by J. C. Kumarappa 1949 page 3.