This week we
shall study another indicator of quality of life with regard to GDP: Overall
experience of life.
In one sense,
all the quality-indicators we saw in some detail can be included in this indicator
of Overall experience of life.
How to measure,
how to assess and study and rank the life of an individual? Very complex task
indeed; however, studies have been carried out by many researchers and they
have come out with some categories that help assess the life of an individual
and rank it.
To begin with
the very phrase, ‘quality of life’. Often, it is correlated with one’s
‘Well-Being’. The sense of well-being is richly subjective in the sense that
what is well-being for one need not be the same for another. All the same, some
qualities have been arrived at to measure the level of one’s well-being and
those qualities are classified as three sub-dimensions: they are a) life satisfaction
b) affect and c) eudaemonics which means ways of finding happiness, or, science
Let us briefly
look at each of them so that we know what it means. Once again, all the three
are not quantifiable; they are profoundly subjective, too personal to argue
When a need is
fulfilled, there is satisfaction. When a hungry man takes food, he experiences
satisfaction. And one who gives food to a hungry man also says he is satisfied.
When you solve a problem, you feel satisfied. When your expectation is met, you
get satisfied. From these examples, we
can see that satisfaction is a kind of comfort one experiences. Comfort implies
absence of conflicts and confusion.
questions that come to the mind are: Are you really satisfied with your life in
the sense that you enjoy your everyday living with the things you have, with
the people you have to move about, with the ideas that appeal to you most, say,
belief? If one tries to answer these questions honestly, he may find it
difficult to give quick and immediate answers. But, people feel that they are
generally satisfied. It means that the individual is not fully satisfied; there
are some elements which have escaped him or have not come to him the way he
wants them approach him.
satisfaction is felt as a result of experience of comfort; remember, there is
physical comfort and more significantly, there is psychological comfort.
Feeding the hungry stomach is physical comfort but the same physical comfort
will not be spontaneously experienced if the food given to him is not tasty or
is not what he likes. Hunger is met with
food, there is physical comfort but his mind does not experience comfort in the
sense that he is not pleased. Hunger is not there, but happiness is also not
there. See, how the experience of satisfaction gets complex defying easy
There is one
more aspect to satisfaction. Common observation tells us that satisfaction is
not permanently linked to any one object or even any one person. People keep changing cars, houses, even jobs
on the score that the same car does not give him the satisfaction he was able
to derive from the possession of the car. For satisfaction to sustain itself,
it requires newer and newer objects.
Once again, with
regard to satisfaction, the pertinent question is: Are you satisfied truly with
the things you happen to have or you want a different order of things about you?
Generally, most of the comfortable people are not genuinely happy people,
satisfied with their total living.
commands the top position in living, people with more money can possess better
things of life compared with those who do not claim to so much of money.
We will look
into the other aspects of well-being in our next session.