Human history has been been marked by many things - war, expansion, technological progress, disaster. One key part of life that consistently seems absent in discussions of history is happiness. Throughout all of my schooling, I don't remember us even touching on the subject, nor am I personally aware of documentaries that do any more than briefly touch on the subject. How is it that something so vital has largely been disregarded?
Not that I wish to suggest it hasn't indirectly been part of discussion of our history or our modern way of life. Advances in medicines, availability of food, work safety and more all work to improving overall happiness, and these things are rightly recorded. Even today, these remain relevant, especially healthcare, whether it be out of concern of first world ills - cancer, diabetes, heart disease - or issues in the developing world where all manner of treatable disease runs rampant.
Regardless, it is almost as if we as a society have all been of the mind that if we just keep trying harder we'll somehow improve how we live, only stopping to work on the most obvious problems as they individually become the center of attention. Unfortunately, discussing ways to make life better, rather than just less awful, is regularly met with disheartened apathy, active antagonism, or insult. These reactions would suggest that we can't really make things better, but if we can create the great technological achievements we have, we can certainly make life more worth living.
It would be unfair of me to say how things could get better without even offering my own suggestions, so here are some things I've come up with over the years, all of which I've implemented in my own life where possible:
- Hold no hate for others. The countless varied lifestyles of all the people on the planet are strictly their own, and hate directed toward these minor differences does nothing. We see the most prominent hate, the hate toward other races, sexualities, religions, and genders, but there exists hate of all kinds, down to the smallest details. It wastes our effort to do nothing but put each other down.
- Work less. This is for employers - reduce your employees' hours as low as you practically can, without dropping their total wages. So much of our lives is dominated by the need to work, and for long hours, but the time we give up for work is time we no longer have to live.
- Be honest, if at all possible. Avoid getting into situations that require lying.
- Learn and teach. Do your best to become informed on a wide variety of topics, and help those you know become informed as well.
This is a huge topic, and I've barely managed to scratch the surface. I'll be revisiting this topic now and then to take a look into other places and levels where improvements can be made, and to expand on details.