STUDENTS CORNER -48
The last point
in the relationship between GDP and the Quality of Life is Eudemonics. This word means ‘finding ways of happiness’.
Happiness is an
elusive and very complex subject. There are some misconceptions about
happiness. In other words, there are plenty of words that carry the meaning of
happiness. For example, to mention just a few significant words: enjoyment,
contentment, jubilation, laughter, pleasure, cheerfulness, exuberance,
gladness, gaiety, joy, bliss, hilarity, cheerfulness, joviality etc. All these
words -some more are there-point to an experience that resembles happiness.
Each word carries some difference of meaning, it might be subtle but a fact.
Let us take enjoyment. Enjoyment is an experience of pleasure that you get when
you fulfill some needs. Any act that you
do if it gives satisfaction; you say you enjoy doing it. You enjoy hearing
songs, painting pictures or even spending time with friends. Like this, we can
differentiate one word from the other in terms of its relationship with
happiness. But this is not necessary since it takes us outside the scope of the
Some basic facts
we have to grasp before we discuss what happiness is and what are the ways to
find happiness and do those ways depend on material comforts alone. Feeling has
levels of intensity; you could have yourself felt the intensity of the feeling
of hunger at times when you do not get food at the right time but inordinately
delayed. A lukewarm feeling is not strong; it is mild and passing. It wants satisfaction but even if it does not
get it, it still passes on; it leaves you. But all feelings are not like that.
Until you get your favorite drink, you wait and during waiting you can still
experience that the feeling is still there and it is becoming stronger. Genuine
feeling is characterized by intensity as and when you become subject to that
feeling. Happiness is a feeling that sustains itself. Like deep waters making
neither noise nor visible movements, happiness appears calm but it is not
passive and idle.
misunderstanding about happiness is it is very often mistaken for comfort. But comfort is not happiness. The major difference
between happiness and comfort is the latter depends on some cause and happiness
is causeless. A cup of coffee in the morning brings you comfort you are used to
but we generally mistake this comfort for happiness. If you look rather deeply
into this morning coffee, you find that coffee is more important at that time
and you depend on it for your experience of comfort which gives you pleasure.
If you go still deeper, you find you are actually enjoying pleasure through
remembering the past experience of taking coffee. While, therefore,
experiencing comfort of taking coffee, you largely though unconsciously live
through your past pleasure of coffee consumption. Once the act of taking coffee
is over, the pleasure ceases. Happiness, it is said, does not depend on any
external cause or on any internal memories of earlier experience. It is also
said that it is not related exclusively with the mind and time. Happiness
relates to one’s being, not to one’s mind and body and it is timeless.
We have taken
pains to explain in detail to some extent just to point out that happiness like
all feelings of pleasure and comfort is deeply subjective and personal. This
goes to the next point: GDP will not be able to measure happiness; in other
words, GDP cannot decide happiness because GDP is exclusively concerned with
the material things like money, house, and cars and so on. GDP may point out
quality of life; but it does not describe well-being of an individual. A man
travelling in an expensive Audi may not be so happy when worried over next
business meet unlike a poor man walking home after labour hours for his cold
food. This is just an example. So, GDP cannot measure one’s well-being. With
this we almost complete the indicators of quality of life in relation to GDP.