Chances are, you won’t be happy if you lack water to drink and food to eat, clothes and shelter to protect against the elements, things that you think everyone else has. – But once, as with the latter, it gets away from the basics, the things that really matter are not things at all. What matters is action for happiness. (There’s a reason that new initiative is called just that.)
There are still wide-ranging discussions, of course.
Is there really no more relationship between income and happiness after a certain amount, for example? Or, do people just answer questions about their happiness in certain ways, because they feel pressured to do so (knowingly or not)?
How to deal with different cultural/social backgrounds is even more of a question: When you are stuck with too many obligations pouring in through email and twitter, facebook and skype, a bucolic life with your hands to the soil may look promising – whereas the small-scale farmer may long for a cubicle in an air-conditioned office, surrounded by all those modern amenities. There are good points and misunderstandings to both perspectives…
At the same time, however, research has been finding that there are a few things which typically contribute to happiness. Some of them are pretty straightforward. Many are rather straightforward, but difficult to get started on. A few observations are rather counter-intuitive. In the course of this “chapter,” we will get to them, and expand practically with “steps,” and in terms of observations and information and links to other sources of information with “side trails” and “intersections,” respectively.
Many of these suggestions have – if you followed the research closely – been made before. (And no, none of them entail simply wishing that things were as you want them to be. No matter what “The Secret” is trying to say, the universe is not a McDonald’s drive-thru.)
In keeping with the theme of ecology, there will be more of a focus on how these actions for happiness connect with life as part of Earth, naturally and culturally, regionally and globally, however. These linkages have, except where it came to “biophilia” and when it comes to environmental responsibility, not been much of a matter – but where, if not within Earth, shall we find our happiness?