Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Curiously enough, The Times.co.za has just posted a story on the same topic. They say:
Money, not marriage, makes us happy. Indeed, even on the modest poll of this blog, about as many people rated money as important as friends (I crooked - I voted for 'friends' twice).
But there's another way to look at these figures. The answer is that our relationships - with a partner, with family and friends - are what make us happy, or ought to. Of course if the framework of those relationships is skewed, or insane, it's going to strain what joy those relationships might have offered. And in the world we've consented to, this is the case.
Appearances Can Be Deceptive
We worship and adore Britney, and Paris Hilton, and yet we also mock and ridicule them. Why, because we love them for their looks and success. And because of this shallow measure, we're just as quick to turn our backs on them. And so we're judged by the same worldly measures: what do we look like (our clothes, our cars, our appearance). How successful are we (what's the paycheck, what's the level of fame, fortune and /or celebrity).
Virtual Means 'Not Real'
The way the world ought to work, is that we develop and encourage real, loving and loyal relationships, commitments to one another. That we have enough integrity, patience, forgiveness and temperance not to burn bridges at a moments notice, not to discard human beings as though they were merely closing a webpage on a monitor, not insulting them unnecessarily online. An avatar, the person on the other end of your cellphone, also happens to be a human being, who gets up in the morning, has breakfast and goes out into the world.
2 out of 3
While a proportion have 'correctly' identified 'friends' - relationships - as the genuine resource of human happiness, the majority are looking elsewhere. On this poll, 11 are on the right track, with 19 - almost double this figure, leading lives of quiet desperation. So if this poll is a metaphor for the world, two thirds of all people are misguided, lost and ultimately depressed and miserable. It may appear to be an over-exaggeration - and perhaps it is. But think about the state of the planet. There's a sense that too many people just don't care about so many important things. And don't we wish that they did?
Worldwide happiness (see above) is represented by dark red, misery by yellow. Most of the world, two thirds perhaps, appears to be not so happy.
For me, happiness is achieving something, performing, being healthy, being at one's best, the whole package -but part and parcel of that package is sharing this self actualising process, sharing the journey with special people. People who can be supportive and helpful, critical when it's deserved, motivating, intimate, kind and accomodating. People close to you are those with whom you will share your best days with. If you have any doubt that our relationships are the seat of happiness, here is a great way to test that theory. Imagine the end of your life. Imagine your death, and your funeral. What would you want by the end of your life? Sex and money and gizmos are only a means to an end. To the extent that we invest ourselves in THINGS and FEELINGS, we really impoverish ourselves. We really fill our emptiness with grains of desert sand.
What makes us happy is our sense of being connected to one another, and the universe. That's the lush green oasis. That's a choice you can make Now. Once you've made it, stay in the Now, and give the wonderful and important gift that is your life, to others. The rewards of giving always flow back to you, bringing you an abundance of joy, and a meaning and purpose to who you are, and why you are here.