The Right to Happiness

Stress savvy modern living is impacting human health. It is said that, “we are what we think”. Stress is created more by internal factors than external. Our thoughts, our desires and our inhibitions contribute in generating stress. Negative emotions like greed, jealousy, ungratefulness, impatience and lust directly impinge upon our state of happiness. In modern living there is a maddening race and competition for materialistic pursuits. Beyond basic needs of humans as defined by Maslow’s Theory of Heirachy, I feel happiness is something which is most essentially required for well being of us. All the physical ailments are compounded by stress and unhappiness. Hazrat Ali (KUWH) said, “the one who is content with his destiny is the most blessed”. This thought has been lurking in my mind since decades, “does money bring happiness?” Happiness in my view is the most important emotion of human life. Money alone cannot bring happiness because money is directly proportional to lust. One keeps on pursuing sufficiency of money. Insufficiency of money gets stronger with more money. The most important ingredients of happiness are contentment, gratefulness and positivity. Lately I came across Yuval Noah Harari book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow which carries a section titled, The Right to Happiness. He says material achievements alone will not satisfy us for long. Indeed the blind pursuit of money, fame and pleasure will only make us miserable. He cites examples of developed countries with highest rise in GDP but no improvement in GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). He says dramatic improvement in conditions as humankind has experienced in recent decades, translate into greater expectations rather than greater contentment. Thus we should shun materialistic pursuits and feel contended with what ever we are blessed. I am reminded of Stephen Hawking (God bless his soul) who by all standards, physically led a miserable life. In his biography, I was amazed to see him advising others to enjoy what they are blessed and not to regret for what they are not blessed. Allah may bless us genuine happiness. SAMREZ

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