12th Blog

Albert Tronnes

Hour 1

World Literature

12th Blog

                The United States is thought of as one of the happiest countries on Earth. It used to be a place where people came to live happier lives, and the “American Dream.” Therefore, it is alarming to hear that the U.S. is declining in happiness. A study done by Forbes magazine shows that the U.S. has fallen to the 12th happiest country in the world. This is after a few years of falling down the list. There has to be reasons why the U.S. is no longer as happy as it once was, but what could they be. The purpose of this capstone was to find out why the U.S. was declining in happiness when compared to the rest of the world. I wanted to find out how happiness in the U.S. was different from other places in the world. And at the end to take a look back at how this has changed my outlook on happiness.

                Before I started this project I knew that the U.S. wasn’t as happy a place as it used to be. Before people would flock to the U.S. because they thought they could live happier lives here, but now it seems as if that mentality is changing. I knew that there were places that weren’t as rich or powerful as the U.S. that were still happier. This didn’t make that much sense because most people would think that there should be a direct connection between these things and a country’s happiness. At the same time I also knew that a country’s happiness was more complicated than just money and power. I was upset that the U.S. wasn’t as happy as other countries, and I wanted to know why.

                Through my research on this topic I learned a lot about happiness and its connection with the U.S.  As stated earlier, I learned that the U.S. had fallen to 12th on the list of happiest countries in the world. I wanted to look at the happiest country, Norway, to find out why this was the case. I learned that Norway was happy because they have good per-capita GDP, a strong health care system, and, maybe the most interesting, strong trust between people. This idea of strong trust between people leading to a happier country was also true with another one of the world’s happiest countries, Denmark. I found that trust between people was a big factor that separated the U.S. from the happier countries. This led me to think that good relationships between people made people happier than material things. And when this was put on a large scale, it would make entire countries happier. The more I looked at happy countries, the more I found that the U.S. needs to have more trust and better relationships between people to be a happier country again. Research has proven that people are sadder without interaction between other people. In the U.S. we need to stop focusing on ourselves and focus more on helping and building relationships with others. These discoveries also changed my perspective on the topic. I now know that a country’s happiness comes from its people being able to interact well and trust each other. It also showed me that if I want to be happy I have to help others and interact with people more myself.

                The most important thing to take away from this topic is that relationships are paramount to a country’s happiness. I discovered this before too, but until now I haven’t realized how important it is. I often go to the country of Armenia with my parents, as it is where my mother grew up. I’ve noticed that people there are very happy even though Armenia has suffered many hardships and isn’t as rich or powerful like the U.S. But the people there just seem happy being with each other, and enjoying everyone’s company. They don’t need TV or fancy electronics to keep them happy like we often do in the U.S. Here I experience firsthand that relationships are the key to happiness, and the rest is secondary. Here I first started wondering how people in the U.S. could be happier, and it played a role in me choosing this topic.

When people here about this topic I hope they understand how important good relationships are. I hope that people in the U.S. realize that to be a happier country we need to value each other more. We need to focus on making others happy to make ourselves happy. I worry that with technological advances people will become more consumed with those things and themselves than anything else. That would be counterproductive towards a happier country. We all need to help people more, and make sure that others are just as happy as ourselves to insure our country as a whole will be happy too.

               

                 

Middle Eastern Story on Happiness

Albert Tronnes

Hour 1

World Literature

Middle Eastern Short Story on Happiness

The Sack

Mula came upon a frowning man walking along the road to town.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

The man held up a tattered bag and moaned, “All that I own in this wide world barely fills this miserable, wretched sack.”

“Too bad,” said Mula, and with that, he snatched the bag from the man’s hands and ran down the road with it.

Having lost everything, the man burst into tears and, more miserable than before, continued walking.

Meanwhile, Mula quickly ran around the bend and placed the man’s sack in the middle of the road where he would have to come upon it.

When the man saw his bag sitting in the road before him, he laughed with joy, and shouted, “My sack! I thought I’d lost you!”

Watching through the bushes, Mula chuckled. “Well, that’s one way to make someone happy!”

 

This short story has a valuable moral, one always has happiness, they just have to discover it. In the story the person was naturally sad that he had so little, but when it was taken away, he was in an even worse state. Then, when he rediscovered the sack, he was happier than he ever was before. This shows that it is important to know that you can be happy, you just have to discover your own personal happiness.

 

A Haiku of Happiness

Albert Tronnes

Hour 1

World Literature

A Haiku of Happiness

by ~Rising-Sea, Feb 22, 2012

What is happiness?
A kind, positive feeling?
Is that what it is?

When would we use it?
To treasure precious moments.
And other moments.

Happiness is good.
It can help us with problems.
That’s a good thing right?

So happiness is… what could make you all happy.
A good emotion.

 

This poem is a haiku that talks about happiness. It can be interpreted many ways. I believe it is about a person searching for what happiness really is.  The writer asks “what is happiness” in the first line. He then goes on to give examples of what it can do for us. He talks about how it helps to treasure precious moments and help with problems. These things are an example of how little things can include happiness. The poem shows that happiness is just an emotion, yet it has a way of helping us with things little and small. That is what makes it so important. That is why it is important for everyone to be happy.

Happiness When Shared, is Doubled

Albert Tronnes

Hour 1

World Literature

Happiness When Shared, is Doubled

One short story I read was called “Happiness When Shared, is Doubled.” I told a story of two elderly and sick patients at a hospital. One of the patients sat by a window, and the other was on the other side of a curtain next to him. Every day the man by the window would sit up for an hour and look outside. He would tell the man next to him about all the things he saw outside. Over time the man on the other side of the curtain became jealous that he wasn’t the one sitting at the window. Soon it consumed his thoughts, and he didn’t care about anything but the fact that he wasn’t sitting by the window. One night the man by the window began choking on fluid in his lungs. The man next to him didn’t call for help, and soon the man died. The next day he was asked to be over to where the window was. When he got there, he was shocked to see that there was no window, just a blank wall. It turns out that the man that sat next to him was actually blind, and just made up stories of what was outside to make himself and his friend happy.

The moral of this story is that sharing happiness is more important than just having happiness for yourself. It is better for humans as a group to be more happy than just a lucky few. We need to focus on sharing happiness and trying to make as many people happy as we can if we want to better our world.

 

Relationships and Happiness

Albert Tronnes

Hour 1

World Literature

Relationships and Happiness

            As I have researched happiness around the world, I have found that relationships and trust between people is what is most important to happiness. An article by Warren Davies, on genrallythinking.com, talks about how social relationships make people happy.

            Davies writes about how people have become more centered on technology. “We have TVs, so we don’t rely on each other as much for entertainment. Machines let one person do the job of twenty.” “You could potentially live in the midst of millions of people without ever seeing another person.” He explains how now technology has replaced many things that we used to do with other people. This, in turn, has made people unhappy. Davies writes about how the brain needs social interaction to stay healthy. “If you deprive your body of a basic biological need like food or warmth, there are consequences. Is the same true of a basic psychological need, like relating to others?” “Of course it is.”

            Davies backs this up by saying that when we punish people we put them in solitary confinement. He also states, “One survey found that of people who report they are “very happy,” 38% had more than five close friends, whereas 26% had fewer than five. He also found that people who were more materialistic were “fairly unhappy” or “very unhappy” than their less materialistic friends.

            This is more proof that relationships between people are the most important part of happiness. For anyone, or any country that is trying to be happier, it is paramount that they have good relationships, or happiness may not truly come to them.