I’ve been hearing a lot about this on virtually every radio show and newscast. You probably have too. Most of it focused on how the United States ranked 17thin the world on the UN’s happiness scale. It also emphasized that 7 of the 10 top “Happiest” people lived in Northern European countries from Denmark and Norway to Sweden and Iceland.
It piqued my curiosity so I decided to read the report itself. I want to share with you the opening paragraph.
The word “happiness” is not used lightly. Happiness
is an aspiration of every human being, and can
also be a measure of social progress. America’s
founding fathers declared the inalienable right to
pursue happiness. Yet are Americans, or citizens
of other countries, happy? If they are not, what if
anything can be done about it?
The first thing that struck me was that in this nearly 200 page report was that the opening paragraph itself is somewhat deceiving. The entire report is based on people feeling happy, not pursuing happiness as our Founding Fathers wrote. There is no doubt that to achieve happiness is the great human desire, but it is its pursuit that was declared our inalienable right.
In fact, throughout the entire report, the strongest element for achieving happiness is the freedom to make our own choices in a non corrupt society.
From the Report
Feeling a sense of freedom to make key life
choices are both strong determinants of life
evaluations and emotions. Perceived corruption
provides an interesting contrast, as negative
affect is much worse, and life evaluations lower,
where corruption is perceived to be more prevalent
There is no doubt that today we definitely feel that many of our most important institutions are unfortunately, if not corrupt, not truly looking out for our best interests.
This is supported over and over in the report:
What makes people happy?…
Of these factors, it is the
ethical dimension that is most often overlooked.
I believe our lack of trust in virtually all our institutions at this point in time is a key to our 17th ranking. From government to education and from corporations to the health care industry, we need to see that often overlooked ethical dimension more than we currently do from our vaulted institutions.
That said, we may rank 17 in overall happiness, but it may be that the freedom to pursue happiness outweighs the security of believing you already have it.
EPISODE LISTINGS & TIMES ARE IN THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG.
Feel free to leave a comment by clicking on “comment” just below this post.