Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happiness Redefined?

Zagpa NgAAR Nye Shigpa la ko....From FB.

Happiness Redefined?

The concepts like happiness or freedom pose problem for definition. The sense of abstract words like these can be quite open to interpretation, and there is no real-world referent. For some, happiness is based solely on being part of a loving family that is safe and well provided for. For others, happiness is rooted in material possessions or power. Although you may have quite different interpretations of many concepts like these, in our everyday conversations you seem to be content with a general understanding of meaning and understand that any utterance is open to some variation, depending on the person speaking.

Briefly, there are two types of happiness: temporary and permanent. And by all types, happiness is transient. There is nothing such as permanent or absolute happiness. It is the feelings, the series feelings of the lost of mental consciousness. Happiness is the accumulation of many good activities – whereby your mental gets engaged with those. These many good actions keep you a good life. The physical or external happiness brings internal happiness.

Why GNH is NOT Successful?

Why are we not happy? All of us are born blank; a clear crystal, a simple mind. There is no question of what’s life? Once we grow, everything pours; religion, culture, society, norms, fears, etc. We are tuned like a machine to act. Our lives are conformed and ruled. I have briefly considered some hitches with references to some particular consistencies.

The first obstruction to happiness is religion.  A slight deeper understanding of spiritual world brings greater unhappiness, just like the greater knowledge subsumes major portion of happiness. Religion teaches concocted falseness of life like sufferings, sorrows, sins, death, that alter our lives and our every action. The religion corrupts with many unrealistic imaginations and theories, and creates fears, not only in this life, but also the next life – troubled by imagination. On the other hand, you have to follow the dogmas of religion from fear of excommunication from the parents and community. You believe that religion is only the secret and one own way to reach the heaven. Since religions say all are born as sinners, and if you don’t purify in this life, you believe you will be condemned to hell by the God. So you live under a constant fears if your works are right according to religion or not. Your mind is filled with worry and anxiety of the hell. So your life becomes afraid of living. It truly confuses your living. For example, the phallicism adds shame, and people secretly spittle, and demerits the values.

Religion teaches you to be like the Buddha, Lord Krishna, Christ, etc. and when you fail to attain that, you hate yourself, and slowly become bad and corrupted, and you think you are not worthy to live. These doubts and superstitious beliefs at last dehumanize you. When you hate yourself, you hate your partner; you hate your family, people, animals, community and society. You have a cesspool of hatred. And hatred leads to an unhappy life.

The concept and the search of emptiness in religion in turns fill your mind – making god fearing, not god loving. You tend to suffer the real life, because you live in an imagination, the world outside the world, infecting the imaginary pains and suffering to the surrounding, to a greater extend. You’re caught up in doubt. You’re afraid to make a decision. You skip from one belief to another, always doubting whether, if you’ve found the right path. For example, a desire to be in an imaginary perfected heaven taunts the real life more, and diminishes when imagined of the hell. You become increasingly aware that your mind trembles between religion and life, likes and dislikes, pain and pleasure. This is the basis of the problem of suffering and you distort the very nature of life. Religion sucks your life. There is no transcending happiness. A drunkard man is a happy man. He lives the moment. He enjoys. He has no past, no present, no future; a buoyant life swings him with laughter. The effect of drug is the state of happiness, and if you know you’re drugged, your happiness fades. Religion is like drugs, and if you don’t know how to incorporate in your life, you boggle a good life.

The followers of religious sect are the most despicable people in the world. The monks, suppose, are the miserable group of species on the earth. They sneaked out from the monasteries and play snookers/caroms in the Hongkong market in Thimphu. They rape, they commit all kinds of illegal things. The first tobacco offender was a monk in Bhutan. And he deserves three years prison terms, because he was a bad example from a good people.

I defined happiness is a collection of happy activities. Religion forbids all pleasurable things, enjoyable activities. Where is the happiness if these activities are not allowed?  For example, religion prohibits playing Degor or archery, and there are set of principles if indulged much. The activities are short-time joy, and this recurrence of short term joys are essence of a long-term inner peace and happiness. Happiness is also manifestation of external or physical happiness. External happiness brings internal happiness.

Happiness is lost, when there is no good love. Religion forbids this too. Where is the happiness without attachment, affection, love, passion?  The cruel intention of religion is to solitudes you and destroys self worth, and separates with personal love and affection. Personal love and happiness radiate others. Religion doesn’t reflect life, it doesn’t show good ways, and it never touches with the life. In fact it creates the illusion of separateness, the illusion that there is you and a totally separate other.

Religious superiority widens gaps and builds tensions. Some religion sects think that theirs is a true religion and superior and others are all false. For example, Muslim thinks Islam is a true religion and all others are false. Because of these differences, religious tensions, racisms, gaps, problems and violence are widely spread. The perennial conflicts between Muslim and Buddhist in Burma make thousands of families unhappy. British colonizers used Christian missionaries to colonized people’s mind.  History of wars tells us that all wars are based on religious rifts and conflicts. For example, the religious atrocities between Sunnis and Shiites groups tear thousand lives into pieces. The early European conflict between Protestant Christian and Catholic Church from 1524 to 1648 and the Crusades wars are some examples of the cause of religious wars.

I am not against religions, but I am against its principles, its sects. It confines to harm oneself internally than alleviating life. It prohibits freedom of doing, enjoying without harming others too. I am against of its some superfluous interpretation sometimes, and some of its interpretation from some half-baked people.

The second obstruction to a happy life is society; people around you. To live the life according to the control of others, to rely on others opinions, to conform, and not being true to yourself is so paltry, and you lead a pitiful life. You mask your face, you imitate the pattern. You have no creative pattern of your own. You never improve because of these people and society. They rather devalue individualism. It’s difficult to mind your own business, think about yourself, believe in yourself and lead a happy life. For example, you like fashion, and you learn about it. That is your interest. You will do a different thing from your villagers. But your environment lacerates you. You must walk the same trodden path. You don’t have your own small path. What a heck? There is no ‘self.’ You, rather, live in the mix of anxious shadows of; shame, unworthiness, rage, mistrust, rejection, desolation that can simmer yourself below the face value.

True happiness is self-reliant, who listens to himself, not the society, others’ bullshits; your neighbor, your environment. Last weakened I watched a gripping movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.” This true story of “The Stoning of Soraya M” is the tale of horrific injustice from the feigned society. It represents the stilled practice and the norms of the society in many Middle East countries. The story occurs in a village where stoning as capital punishment that rides away happiness of women and men as well. Zahra's revelation to French journalist of stoning of Soraya is the revolutions to the secret evils of the sadistic misogynist society that fabricate with many superstitious beliefs that terrorize and execute a woman brutally.

The third obstruction to happiness is the material development. Development materially doesn’t brink happiness. For example, the development of road network brings harm to the environment. Wanting happiness is not doing away with desire, but being self-contained. Self-reliance doesn’t not mean economic self-reliance. It’s the individual self- satisfaction, the mental self-realization. You’re poor; because you think you’re poor, or, because you cannot save what you get. What richness and position do with life? It’s just a psyche, and just the basic way of living a life is enough to be happy. There are many clutches to be freed, which are sorts of hindrance to our happiness. You want things, and it's okay to want things and to want to succeed, but tell yourself that you’ll be happy without them.

Development like technology and media instead bring more depression. For example, you tend to imitate the movie, which is the reflection, but not a real life. You hunt for movie like life and feel depressed when you don’t fulfill. Development furthers you away from the life. The social media like Facebook is bringing more harm. It not only erodes human values like love, relationship, ethic, etc, but it also kills a lot of time. In a New Year riverside families gathering, I had seen a man engaged whole day with his laptop on facebook. His family connection is completely lost. Family concern is not given any importance.

Happiness is also a good relationship. Happy wife, happy life, or, happy husband, happy life. A virtuous relationship, a good sex life, a good understanding makes a happy life. They are the basic sources of happiness at times. Good relation includes not only with your family, but also everything that surrounds you; your dog or animals, your home or house, your kitchen garden, your friends, your neighbors, your environment, everything around you.  Worry about your own family, your own sons and daughters at home than worrying about Dafur war or Somalia hungers. You worry so much more about outside than yours inside world bringing unhappy pictures to your life, to your spouse, to your family. You watch more programs in television than you watch your family or neighbor. You talk more about the world’s problems than your own family matter or with your neighbor. You barricade your neighbor with a wall. You bother more about other buildings than your own. You don’t know your next door people. You create such an awkward environment in where you live. The world has fallen apart. This city life is fast sweeping in rural country. You compare so much: you compare your spouse with another, you compare your relationship with that of others, you compare your children with movies or some other best children, you compare the life in whole. You live in a world of comparison, and when you compare, you compare what is not in you. Sometimes, being self-righteous, being individualistic and being contained are the ways of living.

The Gross National Happiness pillars themselves are very obvious manifestation of immeasurable deterrence to happiness. To bring an equitable and equal socio-economic development, there need to be sacrificed made to the environment, cultural and spiritual heritage. Equal economic development is not attainable, and even fair equality cannot be achieved if so. To have equality, your mind has to be tamed first. Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage help you only to go back country to its primitive. And they cannot be barred. Imported cultures make you happier, and feel the sense of development and belongingness. How many of you don’t like to watch American movies? How many of you like to impress others with the typical accent of words? How many of you don’t want to pursue western education? How many of you still want to read kanjur and tenjur in your room? How many of you want to adapt, and change? The questions continue, and these questions are not the recipe of happiness, but pillars to a happy life. Countess of Blessington says, “There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.” It’s true.
You cannot be taught values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions – the so called the pillars of happiness; they must practice of your own.

You cannot say governance as good governance. Your good governance will be another’s bad government. Government and bureaucracy comprise of many antagonistic characters or sinecures workers in them, and the so called upholders of rules and regulations are themselves perpetrators in the country. The recent political parties are braying out so many false promises to woo votes. And the example of asking Solera/Kidu by Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Prime minister unashamedly for the Kidu of Prado (people’s) cars to them from the king is inapt. Kidus are only meant for the unfortunate poor. Is this good governance? On the pretext of keeping old customs and traditions there are many corruptions, nepotism and sycophancy.

To have good governance, peoples work to the maximum trying to get good governance. A very bad life has to be lived to gain good governance. The tough National Assembly discussions project the image of the governance. The civil rights movement, anti-corruption moves, fraternity and equality are all sores of human desire to change the system without changing themselves.

So What’s Happiness?

The precept of happiness is being kind, loving, and being true to yourself. It’s in other words, self loving, self-kindness, self-forgiveness, self-preserving, self- protection and non-self-judgment or association. You need love and appreciation. But you cannot find them in others. You find in yourself. You make happy yourself. And then you can only please other. Do first what pleases you without harming others. You build yourself empathy and compassion within yourself, and this can ultimately lead to self-satisfaction, fearlessness, confidence and strength to any other account.

So, happiness is no hue and cries about GNH parameters, religious dogmas, no outside world, no comparison, no imaginary beliefs, but it’s a simple basic necessity life of yours only.

Bertrand Russel says in his book, The Conquest of Happiness: "A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him. The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every portion of the universe."

Note: This article is not fully baseless, but quite analytical. It’s not so well researched, but has argumentative aspects. The writer’s view doesn’t go against any individuals, against sects or the government, nor does it challenge any facts. But, it is, a personal defiant of the concepts described. The essay will be continued soon.

“If with a pure mind you speak or act, then happiness  follows you as a shadow that never departs.” (The Buddha)