Friday, April 20, 2012

On happiness and right & wrong

A little while ago in the course of a conversation with a friend I made a comment 'as long a you are happy' to a decision she had made. Afterwards (whilst doing washing up - the source of all good ideas) the absurdity of my comment struck me.

Somehow, rather than thinking what is right and what is wrong and basing our decisions on our moral standards, I was agreeing with something to be right based on whether the person was happy or not.

I am not against happiness at all, don't get me wrong. However I think that having happiness the 'norm' of guiding our decisions can be misleading.

I think as a society we base our decisions far too often on our happiness rather than what we believe to be right. You can see it when you read news. Marital affairs are not wrong anymore (hmmm...maybe reading the celebrity gossip in this case). As long as the erring person 'is happy' they can't be condoned for what they did because they only wanted to be happy...what can you say?

I would be happy to do many things, but it would be not right for me to do them. I would be happy to buy a plane ticket to Finland, lots of nice kitchen things, lots of nice garden things - the list would be endless. I would be happy to rant and rave when I feel others are wrong (i.e. I am right). I would be happy to just spend time with people I really like and avoid those who challenge me.

Happy but not right.

Furthermore we have been led to think stuff equals happiness. The commercialisation of society has led us to think that everything can be purchased. The sooner the better. Saving up is seen as old fashioned, outdated value in the world of 'unlimited-store-credit-to-buy-stuff-you-really-don't-need-but-oh-it-will-make-you-feel-so-good'. The instantaneous nature of modern purchasing has robbed us from the pleasure of saving up (at times for a looooooooooooong time) to get something we really value. What makes us happy is the measure of what is right, not being prudent and realistic about the state of our bank balance and whether we really need the latest gadget.

Anyway - happiness is supposed to be an inside job - not based on what we do or our surroundings...

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