Thursday, April 07, 2005


There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way!

Why is there so much happinness in the meetings we organise? Why do we find that true sharing of experience brings happinness?

Here is the answer of Dr Prawese Wasi, a well respected person in Thai society. "Jean-Louis, when the rich asks for the experience of the poor, this restaures the poor person's dignity, and this generates happiness in both."

And here is what a Zambian friend told me: "Yes, I know, people keep asking me why I look so happy. AIDS is affected us so much, shouldn't I look desponded and sad?- Well, since I am a member of the Zambian facilitation team, I am learning to appreciate the strengths of my own people. Wherever I am, I feel the connection with what Zambian communities are doing in response to AIDS. I am now convinced that Zambia will win this battle. The connection and the conviction make me deeply happy".

Happiness, you are talking about happiness? Shouldn't we shy away from discussing happiness in fora dedicated to public policy? Isn't happiness a private matter that dawns on people somewhat by chance, or something best left to spiritual leaders to discuss? Still, what is the positive value we are striving for? In a world dedicated to fight everything: terrorism, child abuse, poverty, AIDS, obesity, alcoholism, discrimination, what is the positive goal we should achieve?

Happiness. Isn't happiness the overarching goal of all our endeavours?An article in the March 2005 edition of Prospect Magazine argues that happiness of constituents should become the very objective of policy.

One day at Plum Village, the Zen Buddhist retreat in Dordogne, France, I read this poster :

"There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way." Happiness both as the compass and the destination.

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