the greatest gift that I possess

Posted: April 25, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

the greatest gift that I possess

The small mountain Kingdom of Bhutan is the only country in the world whose Government  has the pursuit of happiness as an official policy. This got me thinking about happiness and what it means in today’s increasingly materialistic and hectic world.  As a self confessed and somewhat obsessive people watcher I mused upon the happiness of British citizens as they race from home to job, to lunch meeting, to dinner party, to gym, to their endless contactability by smart phone and thence once more to bed.  The Ratrace, the System, Modern Life; call it what you will but the people I see around me don’t, on the whole, appear that happy.   As Blur proclaimed, “Modern Life is Rubbish”.  I suspect that was post-ironic and tongue in cheek and no-one wants a return to the “Good Old Days”.  Not so good really given that it isn’t that long ago that small boys were stuffed up chimneys and education was thought wasteful past the age of fourteen, where the NHS and the Welfare State were lefty pipe dreams, where the “ultimate sacrifice” was expected and where neither women or the working man had the vote.  No, not so good at all.  According to recent published data the UK is, on average, 7.6 (out of 10) happy.  You are more likely to be happy if you have children, have never divorced or suffered close bereavement or redundancy.  Somewhat surprisingly the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the UK.  Perhaps the Rev Paisley was saying “No” to miserableness rather than Popery for all those years?  By age the young and the old are the happiest with those difficult middle aged years proving the unhappiest.  The Mid-Life crisis may have substance after all, as well as providing generations of younger comedians with easy material.  As for Bhutan it is only the 141st happiest country in the world.  Keep smiling.

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