Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Happiness is...

This past week, a little town in Nova Scotia named Antigonish was the site of an international conference (Antigonish is also the site of me passing out on a toilet, my friends Jason and Mark making post-pub sausage runs, and Mark vomiting out a whole sausage).

The conference brought together doctors, environmentalists, academics, and just all-around good people to discuss a way to measure a nation's happiness.

This whacky idea resulted from the king of Bhutan's introduction of the philosphy that the overall happiness of his country's people was more important than the overall wealth of his country's people. Fascinating. (Bhutan, by the way, is the home of the tallest unclimbed peak that has been named. Gangkar Puensum, at 7541 metres, is a religous site, and therefore the king has forbidden expeditions to attempt the summit).

Then, in response to Bhutan's king, a bunch of folks got together and held a conference to try and figure a way to actually calculate the happiness of a population - the index would be called the Gross National Happiness measure. This conference in Antigonish is the 2nd annual conference on happiness.

These smart folks, I can only assume, gather in a room and discuss a) what needs to be measured to determine happiness and b) how it can be measured. Such things like sustainable development, having a government that listens to the voice of its people, and a stable economy are some key items that factor into a country's happiness.

So I read about this conference, and I decided to do an informal poll of a small sample size (OK, just one person: me) on the items that would make Canadians happier:

1) If the US would just sort of, kind of, crack off at the border of Canada and Mexico and then float off into space. Hmmm, maybe that's a bit harsh. I'd be happier if it stopped bombing people and took a less authoritarian stance on foreign policy.

2) If the world could sing in perfect harmony. Man, that'd be nice.

3) If the new pope had chosen a name like Pope BringIt I or Pope ThaShiznit I.

4) If I could bike year round (wait a minute, I *am* moving to Antigua. This one seems attainable).

5) If we could take all the good from a religion and throw out all the bad. All John Lennon was saying was give peace a chance.

6) If I could get rid of the little bit of loose skin around my belly from when I lost a bunch of weight.

7) If, to use J-Lo vernacular, people were more "real." That is, they actually did what they said, and said what they did. Are we short on integrity?

8) If there were more parks in Halifax that were conducive to both trail running and dog walking at the same time.

9) If coffee didn't give me the shakes and the sweats. Oh yeah, and if all coffee was fairly traded. (I didn't use to believe there was such a thing as unfair trade, but then I went to a presentation by Oxfam).

10) If I could go over to Mark's house and watch game 7 of the NBA finals with Jason and John. I'd be super happy about that.

As a footnote to this blab, I love the idea of a happiness index. Western nations are in dire need of a paradigm shift. It's high time that something - anything - other than financial performance become the primary measure of a government's success.


Blogger Mark said...

This post made me happy. Except for the memory of vomiting out an entire sausage which appeared intact. That lowers my happiness index.

Due to some of the ignorance in your blog you inspired a new blog idea for me. (Happiness index- rising)

Game 7 is on. I'll send forth a formal invitation to Jason, via courier pigeon to see if he can grace us with his presence.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Ignorance is the source of much of my inspiration.

People are dumb.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous thrillho said...

Looking forward to it, Game 7 should be great. Here's hoping that pigeon venture is reliable and "I'm Clyde Drexler!" works it.

We should think about a bbq and then eating more, you know, to help Andrew work on number 6.

Ah ah ah! N'est pas de sausage!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

It is also the place where the spite originated.

And who is thrillho? John?

4:16 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I thought Pictou was the location of the original spite.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

The spite originated in Pictou, (Caribou Island, to be exact) after the 3-3 tournament.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thet's weird.

We both corrected Jason at the same time.

Meh. Happens all the time.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Getting corrected is what I do. It's who I am.

10:52 AM  

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