How the Society you live in Determines Happiness

Warning: this is yet another rambling, meandering post. Stream of consciousness?

At first listening to the French Duolingo podcasts was inspiring but after a while I found a common theme. The protagonist surmounted all the odds to win a contest or launch a successful business. After a while I felt a bit dejected, because I know I could never win anything. Well realistically speaking. Ok perhaps my lack of self confidence speaking.

But I was thinking, could we be inspired by another type of story? Someone who just does good to help people and it doesn’t matter if they win any prize or not? Or someone who creates art for themselves, whether anyone likes it, is just a byproduct. The essential thing is whether the process was enriching for the creator.

Is our society so wired that happiness is equated with success and only success in conventional terms is celebrated? We tell children that as long as they put in the effort that is what matters (I love those parents), but the increasingly competitive and materialistic ( ok kiasu) society around them tells them otherwise.

I’m sure there are healthier societies out there where better things are valued. Singapore is not one of them sadly, but I hope we get there soon for the sake of the next generation. They have already endured covid, poor kiddos.

I’m not religious, but I wish I was. Since I can’t think of a better word I’ll say that I pray for a kinder world for them to grow up in. A kinder world where they can flourish and feel good about themselves. A world that’s not dependent on them acing tests or winning prizes. This is all definitely tied to the fact that we are not a country that has welfare for all and inequality is gaping. Just take a look at the Happiness Index.

Happiest Countries in the World

Yikes. This is not surprising to me, but Singapore is #32 on the Happiness list. With all the government committees we have why have we neglected happiness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could strive to adopt best principles from countries like Finland? A step towards creating a better life for us. It’s not too late to improve the lives of our youngest generation.

The country of vast forests and lakes is also known for its well-functioning public services, ubiquitous saunas, widespread trust in authority and low levels of crime and inequality.

I’m so envious of the people of Finland. What a dream to be born there. To have welfare, security, the beauty of nature in abundance and just not to live in fear of old age and the corresponding healthcare costs. I live in intense fear of the future.

I am aware that it’s all relative and for war torn countries or those that suffer from pollution, lower down on the list, Singapore might be looking pretty good. Life really is unfair isn’t it? It all depends on the luck of the draw – where you are born.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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