Does the culture we live in support the pursuit of happiness?

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People try to find happiness but it is just like water which is hard to clench in our hands. It is not easy to achieve happiness but it can be achieved by being contented, doing what one loves and leaving the way one is. People ask how one could know that they already have happiness; however, it is hard to achieve. According to Oishi and Gilbert (54), a happy person is characterized as someone who has pleasant feelings most of the time and is satisfied with his or her life. This paper will confirm if the culture we live in supports the pursuit of happiness. We will look at the spiritual traditions of happiness and the ethics of happiness and how culture uses this to support the pursuit of happiness.

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The culture we practice is to support the pursuit of our happiness in many ways. The culture helps in keeping in mind the truthful absorb, understanding and identifying ourselves. This helps in knowing the purpose of our existence and how we can be happy. Parfitt and Skorczewski (10) say that reading is a way of keeping in mind a multitude of ways to truthfully absorb, understand and identify the main points. Just like reading, when we absorb and understand our culture by practicing it, we will be happy. Culture explains to us who we are and identifies our cultural concept by providing us with guidelines on how we should live thus, making us live happily.

Our culture defines how we look, what we are made of and what our opinions are. If our culture shows others that we are comfortable, then it is in the pursuit for our happiness. This is just like Parfitt and Skorczewski (52) describe the scriptures on how they looked. One statue looked like it was in a state of sorrow and panic and the other one was comfortable from the short story Blues for Vincent. Just like those statues, culture makes us look comfortable and happy with our lives. The environment that we live in which builds our culture affects our pursuit for happiness. An example is living in a neighborhood that has many addicts and psychos in the streets. This will hinder the happiness of a person living there and will be more worried of how he or she can help such people.

The values that our culture possesses, values our personal goals and will determine if we will be happy or not. One will be happy if the values deal with the collective goals of the people. If the culture is individual oriented there is a high possibility of being happy. Also being group oriented can help in being happy through bringing the community together thus, maintaining a good relationship. The community will be brought together through culture.  A person will be able to happily accomplish his or her goals where cultures are based on individuals and the happiness of the community in collective cultures (Oishi, 92). Culture places a great value of self-esteem where one feels proud to be associated with it. For a community it brings a sense of closeness and friendship thus, making the people happy. This shows that the culture will help a person and the community as a whole in being happy.

The culture that we live in does support the pursuit for happiness by enabling a person to experience situations and events that are joyful. These can be through coming together in times of celebrations. These are conducive to the goals, needs and desires of a person (Csikszentmihalyi, 63) for achieving happiness. This shows that culture will shape our living experience in a good way and be able to have positive experiences. Through this a person will not feel lonely and disappointed because the culture will provide a good environment for one to be happy. The culture being self-oriented makes people happier and in the society it brings about social engagement. This will be brought about by the social connection which will improve the wellbeing of the people leading to the wellbeing of cultures and eventually the happiness of the people. The happiness will be brought about by the way that the people engage with each other and their social behaviors like spending most of their free time with friends and family.

Culture supports the pursuit for happiness by making a society happy. This will be beyond the economy, freedom and individuality. With happiness there will be no misunderstandings in the community. If a misunderstanding occurs, the issue can be sort out in a peaceful manner. The culture that is being practiced will bring social support to each member of the community.  The pursuit for happiness is supported by people being allowed to do what they enjoy. This can be through education, religious freedom and free choice of work. When one is allowed to study the course that he or she likes, free to choose the religion to believe in and also the career, one will be happy. This culture gives the people the freedom of choosing what they like doing. The end result of this is the people being happy and enjoying what they will be doing.

There are a number of determinants of happiness but culture stands out. From the discussions above it is evident that our cultures support the pursuit of happiness. This is either as an individual or a society. Culture guides us on how we choose to interact with the world and be happy. When looking at happiness in relation to culture, it can be self-determined of the efforts of a group put together. Happiness comes after the basic needs of a person are satisfied thus, the person will not be having reasons for not being happy. This shows that culture plays an important role in the long term happiness and satisfaction in the life of an individual. Culture provides a safe environment where collective happiness can be achieved in a community. Culture should be supported more to pursue the happiness of the people.

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  1. Csikszentmihalyi, M. Flow: The classic work on how to achieve happiness. Random House (2002). .
  2. Oishi, S., & Gilbert, E.A. Current and future directions in culture and happiness research. Current Opinion in Psychology (2016)., 8, 54-58.
  3. Oishi, Shigehiro . Goals as Cornerstones of Subjective Well-being: Linking individuals and cultures. In E. Diener; E. M. Suh (Eds.), Culture and Subjective Well-being (87-112). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press (2000).
  4. Parfitt,M,Skorczewski,D.Pursuing Happiness: A Bedford Spotlight Reader. Macmillan Learning (2016).
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