Is happiness the ultimate goal of humans, or should it be?
Originally Posted by Roody
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that it is, and I'm very much inclined to agree. The wish to be happy, and to not suffer, is what lies at the heart of almost all our actions. But people fall into a belief that happiness depends on external phenomena -- a good job, material wealth, social status, desirable relationships, the adulation of other people, intoxicants. But that's mistaken; happiness is a way of seeing.
What would change if we based our economy on happiness?
I don't think it would be possible to base an economy on happiness in the same sense as it can be based on money. The concept of economy implies trading things with others who want those things, and to do that, you must have a limited supply of said things. Happiness is infinite in nature, and is multiplied by giving it away freely, so it would make a terrible currency!
Does having more stuff make people happier?
No. Having stuff that enables you to do things you enjoy might be considered an indirect cause of happiness. But often, possessions seem to enslave people. They spend most of their lives working to obtain and maintain these things, losing sight of the fact that possessions have no inherent value.
What can a nation do to make its people happier?
It's more a question of culture than national politics. A change of values would be needed. Kids would need to grow up in a structure that emphasized cooperation rather than competition. We would need to weave the awareness that all that lives is interdependent into the very fabric of our society. From that would grow a culture that placed caring for each other above selfish gain.
Would a nation be happier if people cycled more and drove less?
Probably somewhat happier. Driving is rather dehumanizing; it seems to foster a sense of isolation from other people and from the world around you. I think this is more costly, mentally and spiritually, than we generally realize. Cycling brings transportation to a much more human scale, and feels much more connected with your surroundings.