Why Gross National Happiness Matters More
India Today|October 04, 2021
A nation can be thought of as an enduring stage where human beings strive to experience transformation and reach a calm and peaceful state.
DASHO KARMAURA

Bhutan has dreamt itself to be in such a cherished stage. But such unfolding dreams are tested when faced with sudden adversity, such as the current pandemic. Taking care of the people means protecting the happiness of all. His Majesty, King Jigme Khesar, has shown us how to take care during this pandemic through an impressive and wholesome resilience program. Neither lives nor hopes have been ravaged in the country, and this is a result of a collective consciousness of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Founded by his revered father, the fourth king, it remains a prescient agenda reflecting his social intelligence.

GNH represents the holistic potential of our mind and body, and its path towards a deeper peace, calmness and happiness. It also reminds us of the multiple sources of suffering and pain, such as material deprivations, breakdowns of intimate relationships, personal traumas, and of confusion between choosing means and ends.

HAPPINESS MANTRA

“GNH sets out additional parameters such as psychological wellbeing, community vitality, balanced time use, environmental and cultural preservation”

A universal aspiration of all children is to grow up happily, then to live long and happily, and at the end, to face our mortality in peace. This is also part of GNH, but it is informed by the fact that we are living in an age where we are facing many larger than-the-individual issues. From all probabilistic forecasts, the Earth as we know it is dying, having been crushed by the weight of human consumption, with its effects depleting the hitherto life-supporting biosphere. Thus, GNH is a tool for balancing—on the part of individuals and the government—between the extremes of materialistic maximization of income or GDP (which is probably coming to an end of its unexpectedly long life anyway) and the intangible constituents of human wellbeing that go far beyond any metrics of market economics.

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