The government has indicated that it wants to monitor our psychological well being. In effect it wishes to establish a “happiness index”. This suggestion…….it`s not a novel suggestion…….it is a long established field of investigation…….has been pooh pood by The Times today as “Happy Talk—The purpose of government is freedom not happiness”. This is an interesting topic for debate in itself. I have been a Times reader since I was seventeen but of late I think the grumpies at Printing House Square have taken over. After the riot in London last week students per se felt the heat of the Thunderer`s leader`s tongue and now “happiness” is dismissed as of no purpose to Dave and his merry men. I beg to disagree.
It should not be beyond the wit of man or any J.P. to note that few of those who come before us do so with a smile on their face. The very nature of violence including crimes of violence is a release of energy powered by adrenalin. Imagine a situation where the supreme emotion felt for whatever reason was happiness. That sense of well being is fuelled by the production of serotonin. When an individual is held in that all embracing effect acts of violence are virtually impossible. A phrase which encompasses that which we all seek comes to mind, “that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is common sense that unhappiness combined with a life style of material wealth is a darn sight more tolerable than unhappiness in poverty and degradation. The pursuit of GDP alone does not produce happiness for the producers. In my humble opinion the government is to be commended for this initiative although perhaps it is looking for an alibi in the event that current economic policies fail to rein in the falling living standards of many.
The recent publication by Gallup shows that Danes are happiest with their lot. The same table shows this country at #17. An interesting comparison can be made with a table of nations` murders per capita.
If government policies can increase real happiness amongst a country`s citizens is it not a laudable ambition?