The Problem with Happiness

Americans often view happiness as a right. Thais even go as far as to try to measure happiness with the gross national happiness (GNH) index. Do these views really reflect reality?

As I mentioned yesterday, last week’s sermon was certainly chock full of things to think about. One of these items is that “happy” as we think of it in our modern culture is quite a bit different than what ancient cultures might of viewed it as. Take the word translated into “happy” in the OT, for example. It is often also translated as “blessed”. Here is where we begin to see a sharp difference.

The problem with the “pursuit of happiness” is that it is almost always an external view. The thought tends to be, “What can make me happy?” It is trying to fill that God sized hole with external things.

In short, it is the way of get.

Herbert W Armstrong often talked about the two trees in the Garden of Eden. He spoke about them as being representative of the way of get and the way of give. It was the way of selfishness vs the way of outgoing concern for others. It was the way of greed vs the way of love. It was our way vs God’s way.

The true price of happiness? “The price of happiness is £2.50, scientists find”, according to the Telegraph. Giving away as little as around $5.00 per day in a “pro-social” manner allows you to experience greater happiness than if you spend it on yourself, according to a study at the University of British Columbia.

The true price of selfishness and the pursuit of things? The world we live in: wars, poverty, diseases, man-made famines, etc.

It seems that we as a species are hard-wired for giving, but we are deceived into doing just the opposite most of the time. It is to our own destruction that we do so, as well.

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