On happiness and hypocrisy

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I took a look astatine the 2022 World Happiness Report during the weekend, hoping to instrumentality a interruption from the misery of wars from Ukraine to Yemen.

I recovered it beauteous amusing and utterly depressing.

The information that Finland, agelong a “buffer” authorities betwixt Russia and the West, is crowned the happiest state successful the satellite for the 5th consecutive twelvemonth should springiness Ukrainians and the remainder of us, pause.

Ukraine, which ranks 98, has travel nether Russian battle chiefly oregon allegedly due to the fact that it rejected the “buffer state” status, among different demands.

Switzerland and Austria, which ranked 4th and 11th respectively, person besides been neutral states since the opening of the Cold War.

But earlier we sermon the report’s findings, fto america commencement astatine its beginnings.

According to its authors, the tiny mediocre Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan should beryllium thanked for the “World Happiness Report” and for “much of the increasing planetary involvement successful happiness”.

Well, it is not similar until Bhutan intervened overmuch of the world’s involvement was focused connected misery, but it whitethorn person emphasised the incorrect indicators, considering that prosperous modernity has proven nary warrant for happiness and whitethorn good origin greater unhappiness.

At immoderate rate, erstwhile Bhutan moved from an implicit to a law monarchy successful 2008, it besides started to usage gross nationalist happiness (GNH) – which assesses “the corporate wellbeing” of the colonisation based connected sustainable development, biology conservation, taste preservation and bully governance – alternatively of the “antiquated” gross nationalist merchandise (GNP) arsenic its main improvement indicator.

To quantify the people’s wellbeing, the Center for Bhutanese Studies began by surveying immoderate 8,000 randomly selected households utilizing a questionnaire of much than 200 questions astir their idiosyncratic lives and feelings. That indispensable person been torture.

In 2011, the “Kingdom of Happiness” sponsored a UN resolution, inviting different governments to “give much value to happiness and well-being successful determining however to execute and measurement societal and economical development”.

And the pursuing year, Bhutan, on with a fig of world enthusiasts of the recently created “happiness industry”, presented the UNGA with “evidence from the caller emerging subject of happiness”, paving the mode for the UN proclamation of March 20th arsenic International Day of Happiness.

I find “happiness day” and “happiness science” rather contrived, defeating the full constituent of happiness arsenic the extremity end of each quality endeavour, arsenic the Ancient Greeks and Romans wisely observed, beryllium it done the pursuit of virtuousness and justice, oregon the pursuit of axenic pleasure.

Either way, the pursuit of happiness is lone possible through the happiness of pursuit, oregon truthful goes the cliche.

At immoderate rate, the archetypal yearly World Happiness Report saw the airy successful 2012 nether the auspices of the United Nations – arguably the astir constipated and miserable organisation the satellite over!

But joking aside, the study seemed to zero successful connected 2 imaginable sources of happiness: subjective preferences, related to culture, assemblage and environment; and nonsubjective factors relating to wealth, health, security, education, etc.

I fishy the second much nonsubjective indicators measurement heavy successful the report’s ranking, and spell a agelong mode to explaining wherefore the culturally introverted and mostly reserved Nordic and different European states continuously marque it to the apical of the list. They are seemingly much “content” than happy, arsenic per their ain studies and surveys.

Sadly, the ranking of “Kingdom of Happiness” has gone from debased to little during the years, descending from 79th to 97th position.

And the 1 state famously associated with happiness different than Bhutan, “Happy Yemen”, had clearly not gotten the memo that year, arsenic it plunged into civilian warfare and turmoil, drafting successful a Saudi and Emirati-led subject involution that produced “the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century”.

On the upside, arsenic the warfare entered its 2nd year, the UAE established 2 ministers for happiness and tolerance, promoting virtuousness arsenic a cardinal worth of the authorities and society, portion tightening its governmental and information grip.

That’s erstwhile George Orwell turned successful his grave.

Still, aft concisely falling to 28th spot successful 2016, the economically liberalised super-rich emirate remained up of its Arab peers for 4 consecutive years according to the Report’s index.

However, this year, the UAE was bypassed by the tiny, comparatively poorer Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, which ranked astatine 21 connected the satellite index.

Bahrainis to beryllium sure, person been surviving nether choky governmental and information power since the Arab Spring upheaval astir paralysed it 11 years ago, which prompted Saudi subject involution to assistance suppress the fashionable uprising.

So, it begs the question however is it that Bahrain came up of the likes of Spain and Italy, which ranked 29 and 31, respectively, and astir bushed France – even if the French are famous for railing against thing and everything, including happiness. It is their nationalist sport; their corporate charm.

Bahrain did motion a “peace agreement” with Israel, though I uncertainty it brought the Bahrainis overmuch joyousness arsenic astir of them were against “normalisation with the Zionist enemy”.

Which brings maine to Israel, which leaped into the apical 10, ranking ninth connected this year’s happiness index, contempt its convulsive strategy of apartheid, arsenic documented by planetary quality rights organisations. The worse the apartheid, the higher the rank!

I person agelong associated subject concern with happiness, particularly aft watching Pharell Williams shamelessly sing, Happy, to a shameless database of Hollywood A-list guests among the shameless Friends of Israeli Defense Forces, FIDF, successful Los Angeles, portion Israel was shamelessly pounding the Gaza Strip.

So jolly.

Perhaps, we yet cognize for definite why, arsenic TIME mag erstwhile tried to explicate successful a screen communicative “Israel doesn’t attraction astir peace”. Well, due to the fact that it is happier without it. Thanks successful nary tiny portion to the miserable nonaccomplishment of Palestinian and Arab leadership, whose war-ridden states fertile terribly poorly.

It is so singular however a state that expels, occupies, oppresses, imprisons and humiliates an full radical for decades and successful adjacent proximity, tin beryllium truthful freakishly happy. Is it delusion, indifference, sadism, racism, oregon what?

Bhutan, “The Land of the Thunder Dragon”, shows it could beryllium a operation of factors.

In the years starring up to its obsession with happiness, the Bhutan subject expelled astir 100,000 Nepali-speaking radical residing mostly successful the impoverished southbound of the country, to pave the mode for the monarch’s “one federation 1 people” vision. King Jigme Singye Wangchuk’s different imaginativeness was to wed 4 sisters, which helium did happily and festively successful 1988.

Despite its crook to ideology aft the king’s abdication, the authorities has done small to rectify, compensate oregon reverse the dreadful taste cleansing. In a telling interview with Al Jazeera a twelve years ago, Bhutan’s premier curate denied it, justified it, and happily embraced it, each without flinching.

But the occupation is bigger than Israel, Bhutan, and Bahrain oregon for that matter, Russia, China and the United States. It is astir the prevailing planetary hypocrisy of happiness, preaching virtuousness and projecting violence, speaking of bid and waging war, proclaiming emotion and spreading hate, hugging trees and polluting the air.

Wellbeing whitethorn beryllium achieved done “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, but lone successful tandem with, not astatine the disbursal of different individual, nation, contention oregon sex oregon generation’s “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.

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