December 4, 2010 - By

Joy and Happiness are great aren’t they!? I have been blessed with a permanent smile most of my life; and I’ve often wondered why. Is this demeanour something I was raised to cultivate, or is it a product of my genes? I am so thankful for it; especially when I think about the big picture of global happiness.

Here’s a thought provoking quote on the subject.

Happiness, it seems, eludes us. And it has little to do with our current economic woes. For despite the global financial crisis, we enjoy social, technological and economic conditions that would have been considered utopian less than a century ago. Yet unhappiness and even depression are at record levels.

In an impressively researched book, The Progress ParadoxNew Republic senior editor Gregg Easterbrook observes that, by every measure of well-being, our generation is better off than any of our forebears. We enjoy more leisure time with better health, less air pollution, higher levels of education, higher per-capita income, and greater personal and civil liberties than at any other time in history.

Even compared to the halcyon 1950s, our generation has it better in terms of real income and home and car ownership, not to mention morbidity, mortality, education, environmental quality, and the fair treatment of minorities. Whereas, in the past, these benefits were limited to the rich and privileged, today they are realized by a wide spectrum of society. For example, in 1960, 22 percent of Americans lived under the poverty line, compared to 11.7 percent in 2001.

All these material measures should add up to an increased sense of well-being. But they don’t. Theologian David Wells notes that by 1990 there were two psychotherapists for every dentist and more counselors than librarians. And today, the incidence of depression is over 10 times that of the Halcyon Decade.

Gloominess in an age of unprecedented progress is a paradox in need of an explanation.

Source: Regis Nicoll – Why we are so unhappy

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This post was written by ArleyM