July 17, 2012

Pleasure to joy: happiness is the final goal (Continued from yesterday)

In an argument for another paradigm shift, it is worthwhile to look the principles behind the GNH and the GDP paradigms to see how these relate to the survival related realities of today. The GNP is the child of the industrial revolution where the measure of output was the litmus test of productivity and development. And so our whole life was based on that principle of want and gain and greed. The more we had, the better we seemed we were, and so we work to get still more. And so life continued -- to have our schools also nurturing us to be successful in life; to get out of school and get a job to make money and be better off and thus better than the other person. So the 3Rs of the modern day education system (reading, writing and ‘rithmatic) became the leading edge of our class room lessons. This was good for the industrializing world, and has been the benchmark now for the whole world that is running after the same concept of development in the post-colonial age. The values that went with this system of education was also the plastic attitudes of the personality ethic that guided us to be good with our customers rather than with our community. The getting out school and getting a job was the goal here. 

The GNH in contrast, is about love and social harmony. The new schooling thus is recommended to change from 3Rs to 4Hs – or perhaps add on the 4Hs. The Hs stand for head, heart, hands, and home. The nurturing of the head here is no more for just as a repertoire of banked information, but one that will use this information for creativity and innovation, the hand is for learning to do things with our own hands, and learning life skills that will make us survive on earth even without too much money or hired help, the heart is for nurturing love and caring and compassion, and the home is for placing all the above in the context of the practice of everyday life. The schools of tomorrow need this approach for the society of tomorrow to be more caring and compassionate and thus learn to be happy and content and conflict free.

The search for a definition of development away from the present growth-dependent ideas will need a complete de-linking of our mind to the multiple possibilities on how happiness and wellbeing can be achieved. In particular, it will not be possible to re-conceptualize equity without unraveling the diversity of prosperity. Linking the desire for equity to economic growth has been the conceptual cornerstone of the development age, whereas now, according to new development thinkers, the linking of equity must be to community and culture-based notions of wellbeing in this post-developmental age.   But, dismantling the culture of consumerism will require major efforts to curb the callings of the ego -- curtailment in advertizing to curb or stall the greed generation process, or the establishment of a shorter work-week that will break the cycle of work and spend, and liberating that most non-renewable of resources – time, for family and friends and sheer enjoyment.

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