Opinion

Highway to happiness with John Seealand

Humans, despite all of our seeming differences, are very similar at our core. We all seek love, comfort and happiness. How we go about this is determined by a number of factors, and is heavily influenced by what we believe.

Living on this beautiful, bountiful island, it’s much easier to find happiness and comfort than if the birth lottery has landed us in Syria, Libya or Afghanistan for example. Canada is one of the few countries that hasn’t had to suffer the horror of war on home soil, occupation by invading forces, mass starvation, pandemic disease or  catastrophic weather. That makes it much easier to find comfort and happiness in our daily lives.

But billions of people around the world are not so fortunate. And at least a portion of their suffering is the result of our comparatively opulent lifestyles. Virtually all wars are over the control resources. We don’t want to believe that we are indirectly responsible for, or profiting from, the death and destruction. We want to be happy so we choose to believe the story that it’s all about exporting freedom and democracy with our “good guy” allies.

As much as we’d like to believe it, the world is not overflowing with happiness and prosperity. Fear, death and destruction are part of many everyday lives. But not here. We are able to cruise the Highway to Happiness by simply tuning out bad news. This is made easy by the handful of corporations that control the media. Their income is principally from advertisers. The advertisers want the audience to be in a positive frame of mind that’s conducive to buying what they’re selling.

Cognitive dissonance is the phenomenon that occurs when our beliefs don’t match reality. It is rampant in our society as it gets harder to maintain the illusion that everything is just fine and the future bright and shiny. Those challenging our overtly positive beliefs are often labeled as negative, “conspiracy nuts” or the like.  We avoid taking any detours or off ramps from the Highway to Happiness. After all, who really wants to visit Realityville anyway?

Here are a couple of quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King that relate directly to the dangers of positive thinking: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

— Brother John Seeland is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.

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