Happiness is so important to us, both as individuals and as a
world, primarily because happiness is really all there is.
As human beings, although we possess cognitive abilities
and are highly "thought" oriented, the quality of our lives is
determined by our emotions. For example, which life
would you rather have; that of a very rich, attractive,
successful, healthy, powerful person who despite all of those
blessings is very unhappy or that of a very poor, unattractive,
unsuccessful, unhealthy and powerless person who is nevertheless
fortunate enough to be very happy?
happiness within the framework of good and evil, or right and
wrong, we find that what is evil or wrong is only undesirable because it
diminishes the happiness of an individual or group, and that
what is good and right is only so because it increases the
happiness of and individual or group. In fact, British
philosopher John Locke accurately defines goodness as that which
creates happiness, and evil as that which creates unhappiness.
which includes the pleasant emotions and moods that comprise it,
is really the only aspect of our lives with any
Aristotle described it as "the highest good." Of what value is
ANY good except that it facilitates the happiness, or greater
happiness, of human beings and other life on our Planet? For
the religious among us this would, of course, also include the
happiness of God.
Of what value is ANYTHING except for its utility in facilitating
happiness? A careful
reflection reveals that the
reason we do anything in life is to maintain or enhance our
happiness and/or the happiness of others. Freud, with his
Pleasure Principle, and other psychologists with similar hedonic
principles, explained our basic and strongest motivation in life
as the drive to experience pleasure and to avoid pain. Of
course, as Freud pointed out with his Reality Principle, we
would be unwise to indiscriminately seek pleasure at the expense
of reason and experience. Many temporal pleasures will
ultimately bring individuals, and/or those around them, greater
pain. However, at times, enduring pain is a wise or
necessary way to ensure greater pleasure and happiness.
Many of us are very concerned with ethics, knowledge, beauty,
love, health, productivity, peace, justice and prosperity, often forgetting
these blessings are simply and ultimately means of
facilitating happiness. Nevertheless, over the last several
millennia we have been culturally conditioned to prize these
blessing and work very hard to maintain and enhance them. The
fact that as a world our happiness level is under 65 percent,
however, suggests that
our conventional strategies for achieving
happiness are hardly effective.
studies are revealing an important reason why happiness is so
important to us all.
A growing body of research is
demonstrating that as we become happier, we become better
As we become happier we
become more compassionate, more creative, more energetic, more
financially successful, more emotionally and physically healthy,
etc. Thus for those of us who
are more concerned with creating a "better" world than a
happier world, becoming much happier and helping others become
much happier may prove a very effective means to this end.
Imagine for a moment the reduction in incidents of crime in the
United States if we as a country were to raise of national
average happiness level from its present marginal 69 percent to
85 percent or higher.
We share our lives with loved ones like our spouse, parents,
children, and friends. Why is happiness so important?
What better gift can we give a loved one than to help them
become happy, remain happy, or become happier?
What better gift than happiness could we receive from our loved
ones? It is important to understand this essential point
so that we and our loved ones do not become separated or
distracted from our happiness. As parents, for example, it
is wise to teach our children to be good for their sake and for
the sake of others.
If, however, we neglect to teach our children how to be very
happy, we are depriving them of their greatest need and desire.
not only important to our personal and societal lives, it is
important to our global community.
Unhappiness breeds wars and terrorism.
Countries who unjustly attack other countries are doing so
because they are not happy with certain international realities.
Terrorists who attack individuals and populations are deeply
dissatisfied with various social, political, religious and/or
Very happy countries would not wage unjust wars. Very
happy individuals would not commit acts of terror.
Why is happiness so important? As individuals and as
happiness is both our highest goal and an extremely effective
means of achieving many of our other cherished goals.
Both as individuals and as a planet, happiness is our
ultimate reason for living.
Happiness is really all there is and all there ever will be; all
else is only a means to happiness.