Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Gross National Happiness

As many of you know,one of the guiding tenants of the American Constitution is the pursuit of Happiness and in the West the route to this is often believed to be via material wealth.Judging by the widespread dissatisfaction that exists in these countries,we are wasting our time in this endeavour,in it's singularity.What I mean by this of course is that happiness cannot be achieved purely through material gain.
You will all be aware of the many cults,fads,fashions and faiths that profess to have an answer to this issue.
After all,are we not all trying in some way to achieve this goal?Most of us and the governments that purport to represent us, tend to look at issues that might make us happier as seperate subjects.
Indeed the promoters of various methods of improving our lives use three common words,health,wealth and happiness.
I find this a little curious since the obvious solution must be holistic,in other words all encompassing.As a result of this thought,I have had occasion to look at one country in particular that seems to take the issue more seriously than others.
The little land locked Kingdom of Bhutan,bordered by India and The People's Republic of China seems to me to take the welfare of it's people to another level.
Bhutan is a small Constitutional Monarchy,with a population of just over 600,000 people,predominantly Buddhist,with some Hindus.
Throughout the rest of the World governments are obsessed with Gross Domestic Product,which has no bearing whatsoever on the happiness of their citizens.
Bhutan however,takes an holistic view that balances material growth with the happiness of it's people and any growth must consider the culture,identity and environment of the Country.
They call this system Gross National Happiness and I believe we all have something to learn from their approach.Our culture of more,more,more,is simply not sustainable.
I believe Bhutan has much to offer the World in advising our governments on how they can best balance growth with happiness.We cannot continue to use and abuse.


  1. Oh, how great this sounds: Gross National Happiness! I never knew. Thanks for sharing. I agree with your observation of health, wealth and happiness. Happiness is an inner feeling that comes from thinking positively and contributing positively. Your blog title as well as the theme, both are great!

  2. I once heard someone say something to the effect that happiness will never be experienced by those who pursue it. For many people, happiness is a by-product of a life in which service to others is pursued.