[January 15, 2023] The short answer is, no, we are not happy. However, I’m not so sure being happy is the correct marker for a good life. We have a complex society, and we are not sure how our future will develop or if what we knew in the past will be sufficient for us to move forward properly into the future. The good news is that there are many opportunities to be fulfilled, but there is also some risk.
If you look around, you might think the happiest people are those where their standard of living is the highest. That is not the case. Of course, this raises the question, “Why is that not the case?”
It’s not easy to keep up in our world, but some do better than others, and it seems like that might have something to do with a standard of living, income, property ownership, physical security, safety, and good health. And so, what is the price we pay for a high standard of living? A higher standard of living always comes with the sacrifice of the present for the future.
A high standard of living is predicated on working hard, usually long hours. You can be reasonably influential, have money and stability, but that could crash at a moment’s notice. You had better keep your eye on it every day and ensure everything works like it is designed to work. Don’t take your eye off the ball, so to speak. These are all good things, but it’s certainly not necessarily happiness or freedom from anxiety.
Most people in the modern world have way too much to do; two career families and kids. That can be too much.
In addition, our society is experiencing political polarization. And people are also wondering whether their lives have any meaning in such a chaotic world.
Life is hard, and if you have a nihilistic viewpoint, then it’s easy to be overcome by doubts and angst, and that drives unhappiness. That is a mistake because your life can be very meaningful, which is proportional to the responsibility that you take on.
We are not happy. But having a meaningful life is the right indicator that we are living a good life.
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