“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” ― Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)
The Optimum Happiness Index Project recognizes that happiness is not merely about the individual, but the human family, intrinsically linked as a community of influence. The worldview of a person, community, or nation, can have a profound influence on national and international relations.
Our worldview can bring us in conformity (peace and happiness) with others—religions, races, and cultures—or in conflict with others. It begins in the family; with the lessons that we learn as children in our homes and in other foremost institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues.
The happiness of a nation is the “aggregate happiness” of its happy people, which are mutually inclusive. One might assume that effective leadership, good governance, and hospitable ecological conditions of life are factors that contribute to a high national “Happiness Index” (HI).
Conversely, poor leadership, bad governance, and inhospitable living conditions, are factors that contribute to a low national happiness index in some nations. GNP and GDP are not true barometers of a nation’s overall health, living standards, quality of life, “Poverty Index” (PI), or happiness of its people.
The Happiness Index: Measuring Happiness Around The World
It would be a noteworthy statistical asset to nations to develop a third statistical measure such as Gross Social Progress (GSP).
This important measure is an essential barometer of a nation’s social and economic health. It’s also a measure that would be consistent with the happiness of the people of the nation depicted in global studies in a nation’s happiness indicator, such as the United Nations (UN) World Happiness Report.
Many other organizations that record world trends paint a bleak picture of the future if global leaders continue to leave unchecked cataclysmic events such as: global warming, poverty, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.
When researchers measure the happiness index of nations, they could highlight nondemocratic leadership and bad governance as a predominant factor in the “happiness equation.” They should also highly recommend effective leadership and good governance as essential enablers to the happiness of their nations.
Happiness Begins with You
We can all influence the “happiness index” when each of us recognizes the importance of taking responsibility, and do take responsibility for the sum of human suffering, though we may not be directly involved. We are by our spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical connection responsible for all of the genocide, the wars, the hunger, the brutality in the world, and all of the unhappiness.
Happiness will blossom when we reject any “moral alibi” for human suffering. We can do something to tap into the wellsprings of humanity that flow through a heart of love (agápē) for fellow human beings – regardless of station in life.
When we see the world through the eyes of our “neighbors,” we can begin to understand their plight. We can begin to communicate with them as a human family. It is only then that hope can exist for humanity, notwithstanding the unhappy “clash of cultures” playing out on the world stage within nations – and between some nations worldwide.