Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happiness is .....

Did you notice a newly formed charity, the Movement for Happiness is seeking a director whose job will be to bring joy to the world. Salary for the post, around £80,000 a year. The advertisement for the job reads, 'We hope this movement will help to shift our culture away from selfish materialism towards more rewarding forms of social engagement.'
Evidently the Society wants the successful applicant to have a vision of a society in which people are motivated by more than just money.
Happiness - brightness, cheerfulness, delight, gaiety, joy, light-heartedness, merriment, pleasure; beatitude, blessedness, bliss, felicity, enjoyment, welfare, well-being.
Happy- characterised by luck or good fortune; prosperous. Having, taking, or demonstrating pleasure or satisfaction; glad.

What was it Richard Whately ( Archbishop of Dublin (1787-1863) said, 'Happiness is no laughing matter.' (I have probably taken him out of context but I must admit he doesn't exactly sound a bundle of fun!)

I have never considered myself particularly materialistic yet many of my pleasures in life are purchased with money. Money purchases houses and furnishings. My motor home gives us pleasure, Derby County support costs money, our home is bigger than need be and the furnishings far from sparse. We constantly make purchases that we feel improve our life style if not our life. My latest toy, my IPod too gives pleasure yet is totally irrelevant in the larger picture.

Some of those 'into' religion will no doubt dismiss materialism as an irrelevance, citing the search for eternal salvation as the key to happiness on earth. (Being cynical by nature I am bound to ask why so many of my religious acquaintances have large cars, huge houses and often bank balances to match.)
It is not difficult to see that much of my own happiness stems from non-materialistic sources. Marriage, (forty years this week!) a loving wife, delightful children, fantastic grandchildren have made the most contribution to my joy and sanity in an often cruel world. And it goes without saying good health is far more important than mere wealth. What brings you most happiness in life?

Which brings me back to the Movement for Happiness. What do you think of the whole idea. How do you think the new director should go about his or her task. And what would you do given the job? I'd love to know!

Perhaps William Wordsworth 1770-1850 put it best when he wrote
Not in Utopia-subterranean fields,-
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,- the place where, in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

Not a million miles from the ideas of the Movement for Happiness.


Sueann said...

I wouldn't know where to start. Everyone has their own idea of "happiness"!! I wouldn't take the job! Too heavy of a responsibility.

Von said...

Yes funny that about churches and religions that are some of the richest establishments and organisations in the world with the most ostentatious ornamentation..oh just don't get me started!The deceit, the abuse, the hypocrisy....
Happiness? A simple life, good food, wine occassionally made just down the road, family,goals, achievements, values and beliefs,loosing the ambition to acquire anything other than happiness.

The Fairweather Blogger said...

I think the new £80,000 per year director should donate half his wage to the Movement for Happiness as a kick start to their charitable collections. Thereby proving he has all the right intentions in taking the job.

(Sorry it's been a while Ken!!)
Good to be back.

Bernard said...

Ken Dodd.

Dumdad said...

£80,000 a year? I'd take the job and at least one person would be happier - me! Result.

Jennytc said...

Happy ruby anniversary, Ken. :)

Molly Potter said...

I would like that job - but as slommier said - I think the first decade might be spent trying to define the true source of happiness!!!! The idea of what happiness actually is and how people attain it is bound to be different for everyone. Actually - it's been debated for centuries and nobody appears to come up with a definitive answer yet....4

Perhaps they need a new title. Something like: moving away from thinking you need to acquire so many material goods!!! That would be simpler!

Great post - thank you Ken!

Happy Frog and I said...

Firstly, congratulations on your upcoming Ruby Anniversary!

I'd love to have a job in that organisation, though not as a Director, not my cup of tea.

I like to let happiness into my life as much as possible by trying to unblock all the obstacles that can get in its path. I feel happy when I see a bird flying free, or I see someone achieve a goal or when I have a really nice cup of tea and biscuit.

I would love to try to find out what makes other people in different cultures happy and to pass those messages on. What a way to make a living!

VioletSky said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, Ken.

Nedine Says said...

I can't wait to see who wins this thankless job. Although it certainly would look good on a CV !

MYRNA said...

First, the directorship should be a non-paying position. The joy of the mission should be payment enough.
Second, we should follow the example of country of Bhutan. Instead of a GNP (like we have in the US, gross national product), they have a GNH. It stands for Gross National Happiness. It really is the goal of the government to do the most it can to promote happiness throughout the country. It seems to be working, as per the documentary I saw recently.
However, I don't see a pronouncement from on high working in the Western World.

Marsha said...

I think it's a good idea in theory but I'm not sure how happy someone can make you in practice! However, sure - it's worth a try as long as my tax money isn't going into it! :)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Very honest answer!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

You think very similar to me. Interesting!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

You think very similar to me. Interesting!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Fairweather Blogger
An interesting idea!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Uncle Bernard
The very same person occured to me. Mind you, Is dear Ken's demeanour just a front I wonder.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Very good. But I don't think that would be acceptable, do you!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi and many thanks!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Blimey, Molly, very deep stuff! If I give you the job who do you want to help you?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Happy Frog
Thanks for kind thoughts. Plus lovely ideas.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi and thanks.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

We will have to wait and see, keep your eyes open.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Very interesting, your comments. All news to me.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Somebodies got to pay for it, as usual!