Happiness (or not) in the modern world


All the suffering in the world comes from wishing for ourselves to be happy

I Want.

A 58 inch curved flat screen 3D TV with 4592 sports channels and three new colours that the universe has never seen before. An iPhone 9 that has sent itself back from the future. A toaster that brushes our teeth. Odd-sock proof socks with GPS tracking. And a self-reproducing Kit-Kat Chunkie.

All at low, low prices.

You wish.

I am, perhaps, bending reality a little bit (gosh knows what crazy future chocolate they have at Area 51), but it is fair to say that we have some incredible technology available to us, designed and built and very skilfully sold to us to improve our lives, realise our souls destiny, and bring a gentle breeze of ease to our days so that we can be happy, happy, HAPPY!

And yet.

Each year in the UK there are over 50 million prescriptions for anti-depressants.  And rising.

Hmmm. Amiss. Something is.

But, wait a moment, where is all the best technology, anyway? I mean, the really super-duper stuff like the teeth cleaning toasters and the self-cleaning dishes? That’s right, the military! So, all the truly amazing stuff built by humanities genius minds isn’t even trying to make us happy, it’s being used to kill other human beings in other countries who, just like us, want to be happy too.

I think most of us get this. I think most of us sense to some degree that something is amiss. Still, the belief lingers that if only we had a top of the range X or could afford a brand new Y then everything would be plain old hunky dory, and we could sit back, put our aching feet up, light the pipe, and enjoy the show as all the pieces fall into place.





We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to be honest about our situation – individually and collectively, because where is the happiness? This one precious thing that we all want, but that so few of us seem able to get. Do we even know what happiness is? Or how on earth we are meant to attain it?

It doesn’t take a genius to see that things are not working. The paths we walk and the roads we carve lead us not to happiness or peace or contentment, but to misery, deprivation, hopelessness. So when are we going to say ‘enough’? When are we going to change our course? When are we going to answer back to the teacher?

Do we need to get rid of everything? No. Can we not benefit from and enjoy our incredible inventions? Of course we can. But if we are looking to them for our happiness, our life’s meaning, our soul’s satisfaction, our sun, our moon, our stars, then, sadly, they cannot help us.

We need to look deeper.