The pursuit of happiness

America’s wealth may be stealing its happiness.

According to a new book by Guy Finley, America may be the wealthiest country on Earth, but its citizens don’t even make the top ten when it comes to happiness.

Third world countries – including Mexico and Guatemala – have declared more happiness than American citizens.

I’ve no choice but to add this to my list of “Things that make you say hmmm.”

In 207 pages of insightful crap, Finley promises to help his readers “learn to be both rich and happy.”

Couldn’t it just be as simple as admitting that money really won’t buy happiness?

All of those things that I believe make one happy – family, friends, love, fun- they’re all present everywhere – even in a third world society.

The difference, as I see it, is that those who “have not” are less distracted by their own desire to “have.”

Have you ever noticed that our own Declaration of Independence states that we have the right to pursue happiness? We do not claim the right “to happiness” but the right “to pursue” happiness?

Now what does that mean? Were our forefathers wise enough to realize that happiness would be elusive to this new American population? Did they know that there was no way the U.S.government would be able to follow through on a promise to make everyone happy? Did they foresee the political decisons that seemingly infringe on one’s happiness: restricting the rights to marry who one chooses, denying the right to pray in a school, and refusing to allow individuals do with their bodies what they wish (whether it be by smoking or drinking underage, abortion, drugs or euthanasia).

Is our society set up to be happy? And if it were, would we really know how to recognize happiness?

There have been times in my life when I thought I was happy, but later realized I didn’t really know what happiness was. I know now – or at least I think I do.

Some say that when you stop to ponder your own happiness too deeply, you can no longer be happy. Others say that it is by making up one’s mind to be happy that one finds happiness. Still others say that happiness lies in finding success or knowledge or religion.

Really, when it comes right down to it, what does it mean to be happy?

Are you happy? Would you know it if you were? And if you already know where you fall on the scale of happiness in America, are you willing to admit when being happy isn’t the most important thing in the world?

“The pursuit of happiness is the greatest feat man has to accomplish.” – Robert Henri