Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Economy and Happiness


I think this means "Hello Everyone" in Swedish. I was inspired by my friend Pierre Ducharme who started a blog and thought I would try one out to. When I was trying to think of a title for it, the word "musing" came to mind. I looked it up and here was the definition that I found:

Deep in thought; contemplative.
1. Contemplation; meditation.
2. A product of contemplation; a thought.

With that in mind I want to start my musings with a reflection on our economy. Tonight I was watching the news and was bombarded again with the latest on the economic crisis on our hands. After watching I decided to write the following:

There is so much talk of the economy these days. Tonight I was reminded of the time that I spent living in Uganda and visiting villages and seeing the plight of people there. Our economic crisis is something that people in the third world and our own inner cities have been experiencing for many years. These are people in constant crisis. Sometimes it seems that we can get so selfish and full of ourselves (when I say we I mean the haves in our society, people who have houses, clothing, and jobs). I also think about my buddy Mike who has a mild form of cerebral palsy. Finding work is hard for him not because of the economic times, but because of his disability.

In some ways I don't understand though because I have a job (teaching is pretty reliable) and I'm single without any dependents. I can't imagine having a family and losing your job and needing to re-invent yourself. That must be hard...

I do wonder though how all of this media about the economy is affecting the psyche of Canadians. Does it increase peoples stress levels? Is it taking away our joy and zeal for life-- our happiness? Should the economy dictate this... I once heard that a not-so-well-known country in Asia called Bhutan decided that measuring their countries GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) was more important that what their GDP was. Makes you kind of wonder how they evaluated happiness? And who sets the standard for what happiness is? This all made me wonder how we can all be more happy as people? More free? Do I believe that is possible? Or do I believe that there can never really be complete joy and freedom in life? Is suffering and evil really the only way that I can realize the good things in life?... Hmmm... Tonight I was just reading a section from The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. In it one of the characters personifies himself as the devil or all that is evil and says that once he thought of annihilating himself so that people could live without evil. The response back to him was:

"No," they say, "you must go on living, for without you there would be nothing. If everything on earth were reasonable, nothing would ever happen. Without you there would be no events, and it is necessary that there should be events." Well [evil speaking], and so on I drudge with unwilling heart so that there may be events, and bring about unreason by command... Well, and they suffer, of course, but... all the same they live, the live in reality, not in fantasy; for suffering is also life. Without suffering what pleasure would there be in it? Everything would turn into one single, endless church service: much holy soaring, but rather boaring. (p. 820)

Do you agree? Sorry this blog has been all over the map... I don't mind if your responses are too. Remember it's all about "Musing"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Josh,

    I have the honour, it seems, to be the first to respond to your blog posting. What a good site! Good on you.

    Your "musings" are spot on. I remember with great affection the two occasions we've spent together at Westminster Abbey - one reflecting on whether you should go to Uganda, and one reflecting on what it was like to have gone.

    The experience will colour everything you do, say and think. I was not surprised to see such a musing in your posting. The economy is relative - relatively speaking. The haves will always complain that they have not, but even if the have-nots had that which the haves believe they have not (if you're still with me), they would believe they were rich.

    The passage from the Dostoyevsky is profound. If there were no evil in the world - and I wish, truly, that there weren't - we would all lead much more peaceful and healthier lives; but at the same time, we'd never come to realise the difference between right and wrong, characters would never be formed, the need for God would never be understood. As a God-person, I know we have to deal with evil, just as Christ did.

    I hope you don't mind a moment of Christianity in this response (actually, there are many, but I won't go into that).

    Love and blessings,