Saturday, 5 January 2008

Bhutan- The Happiest Country in the World!


Bhutan is one of the most unusual countries in the world. It is a small, landlocked nation nestling in the Himalayas tucked into the gap between India and Chinese-occupied Tibet. It is the St Kilda of the world (see Chapter One of my novel Rockall for the details of St Kilda: http://hpanwo-bb.blogspot.com/2009/02/rockall-chapter-1.html), isolated, cherished and virtually unknown to the outside world until very recent times. It didn’t have an airport until very late in the 20th century and doesn’t even have roads crossing its borders either. To this day, Bhutan is one of the most difficult places in the world to get to. The British actress Joanna Lumley made the first TV programme ever filmed in the country in the 1990’s when she traveled through Bhutan by donkey. The isolation of the country is partly a gift from its geography; it is surrounded by high, inaccessible mountains, and partly through a deliberate isolationist policy of its government. Bhutan has a unique culture and is very picturesque with beautiful, alpine-like scenery filled with ancient traditional Himalayan architecture. It would become a must-see tourist destination if it ever got on the beaten track. The government is concerned, justifiably I think, about the encroachment of modern Western culture which has ripped through most of the world, especially Bhutan’s neighbouring countries, like a plague of locusts (maybe they’d heard the sad tale of the death of St Kilda). Bhutan banned tourism and was the last country on Earth to set up an airline and TV service. Until a few years ago it was also the only nation on Earth not wired up to the Internet. This has now changed; here is Bhutan’s official government portal: http://www.bhutan.gov.bt/government/index_new.php

I think that the most interesting aspect of Bhutan, and one that should raise serious questions across the world, is that it is reported to be one of the happiest countries on Earth. The Gross National Happiness Index was invented in 1972 by a Bhutanese king Jimne Singye Wanchuck. In the Western world we judge a nation's well-being by very logical and measurable quantitative factors: its gross national product, its per-capita income, literacy rates, infant mortality rates etc. These are things that can be easily calculated through a study at a government records office and made into a graph or sliding scale that the rational mind can comprehend. The GNH Index if far harder to gauge. It consists of a list of questions that address qualitative and spiritual as well as material aspects of a nation, on a personal and collective level. Along with the usual questions on how much money and amenities they have access to, people are asked things like: “Do you feel you are a valuable person?” “Does your life have meaning and purpose?” “How often do you laugh?” "Do you feel you have fulfilling interests in your spare time?" "Do you often get bored?" “How often do you feel very joyous?” Once the index was complete it showed some extraordinary results. Most statisticians had expected the GNH index to be proportional to the conventional indexes used to judge national well-being, but this didn’t happen. Although there is some correlation, for example there is a swathe of low-scoring countries in regions of the world hit by multiple wars and crippling poverty, like sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union; the comparison indicates that material security and luxury are not directly related to GNH. Nations with high conventional-scores sometimes have low GNH scores, like the United States, Finland and Australia. My own nation, the United Kingdom, scored 40.29, putting it below median average. Conversely, some nations with low conventional assessments scored high on the GNH index, like many parts of Latin America, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, which came 13th in the world with a GNH score of a whopping 61.08. Bhutan is not only culturally isolated and technologically backward, but it has a low per-capita income and is not a liberal democracy; in fact it is one of the few absolute monarchies left in the world. In political terms it’s the equivalent of England in the 11th Century. What it does have in abundance is spiritual tradition. The nation is mostly Buddhist and spiritual development and practice is a big part of everyday life there. Life is simple and straightforward; poeple eat their own farm produce and make song and dance for entertainment. In a way Bhutan is what a lot of people in much richer countries feel they are lacking in their lives and culture.

This is intriguing. We are told that the only goals in life are the acquisition of money, property, status and power. So then why isn’t the GNH index on a par with the GNP index or the other conventional standards of living index? This should tell us that as the Biblical saying goes, “Man does not live on bread alone”. Not only that but too much Biblical bread at the expense of everything else can generate more problems than it solves. The richest people on Earth are far more likly to suffer from depression and die by their own hand than the average person in their country. Why is that? This not only proves true the cliche "money can't buy you happiness", but it also shows that it can take happiness away! This runs contrary to one of the cornerstones of Western Culture: that the one goal... The One Goal... of life is to aquire as much money, status and property as possible. He who dies with the most of that wins. It's that simple. Being rich is the nearest thing the West has to paradise; it's the secular Heaven. So you'd have thought that rates of depression and suicide would be much lower among the very rich, instead of the opposite. I've never been rich so I don't know for sure. However, if you put this together with these anomalies in the Gross National Happiness Index and I can make a conclusion: Material comfort and riches are not the only things that make human beings satisfied. I don’t dispute that the material is important; we all need to eat, breathe and drink, but humans are not just eating, breathing and drinking machines. We have a spiritual dimension to our selves, a soul if you wish, and a requirement in that dimension. This requirement has been neglected by Western society. It has been relegated to the realms of the irrelevant and epiphenomenal. Many Western thinkers even claim it is a delusion, a non-existent fantasy. I think that the GNH study indicates otherwise. Both political leaders and society as a whole must understand that looking after a people’s material need alone is simply not enough to create or maintain a peaceful and contented world. We need to nurture and nourish the spiritual.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very interesting and informative read

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...

It makes me one level of information richer. Thanks for the post!!!!

Anonymous said...

I would like to more know about it. asthma Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

Anonymous said...

Plus size corset lingerie often is eye-catching and ideal!In [url=http://www.clshoestoronto.com/]Christian Louboutin Outlet[/url] our society famous are typically very glorified as a form divas and style icons caused by magazines and additionally tabloids. Premium journalists in addition to photography lovers get a little obsessive [url=http://www.clshoestoronto.com/christian-louboutin-flats-c-72.html]Christian Louboutin Flats[/url present in finish outfits of the fact that models are generally as a result of or simply option, as well as regarding the ruddy carpeting regrettably though they've been grocery shopping. Could possibly these items design to be able to everything programmes they should be next few the truth that dressing up to a celebration and in the refined location state for several years how they may reward yourself with a sophisticated come across the time going [url=http://www.clshoestoronto.com/christian-louboutin-flats-ballerina-p-411.html]Christian Louboutin Flats Ballerina[/url] in the city. Boys and girls so the younger generation in particular get into the powerful result using the multimedia systems projector screen with their beloved take the leading role you should emulating that. [url=http://www.clshoestoronto.com/] http://www.clshoestoronto.com/ [/url] Figuring out day to day functions turn fashions.
mnbvcxz0030

Anonymous said...

ugg website ugg kaia uggs 4 cheap http://www.fdidboots.co.uk [url=http://www.ukgetboots.co.uk][img]http://www.ukgetboots.co.uk/images/ugg-boots.jpg alt="cheap ugg boots" title="ugg boots"[/img][/url]
[url=http://www.bootssecher.co.uk/#r6x50y09c][b]ugg boots[/b][/url]
[url=http://www.fdidboots.co.uk/#y9m41m44r][b]ugg boots cheap[/b][/url]
[url=http://www.vtallboots.org.uk/#a2f27t37m][b]cheap ugg[/b][/url]

Anonymous said...

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog.
Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to
see a great blog like this one these days.


Also visit my blog post red bottom shoes

Anonymous said...

Woah! I'm really loving the template/theme of this blog. It's simple, yet effective.
A lot of times it's very hard to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and appearance. I must say that you've done a great job
with this. In addition, the blog loads very fast for
me on Firefox. Superb Blog!

My site christian louboutin sapatos

Anonymous said...

magnificent submit, very informative. I'm wondering why the other specialists of this sector do not realize this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you've a great
readers' base already!

Here is my web site; Christian Louboutin shoes

Lemsip said...

Man cannot live by bread alone but man still needs the bread. I get very suspicious of politicians who claim we need to put happiness before wealth because it won't be happiness for those about to lose their job or home. Without health there is also no happiness so any Government that is dismantling the NHS couldn't care less about happiness.

Anonymous said...

[b][url=http://bbs.chrbank.cn/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=262060]birkin de hermes[/url][/b] MaineEd 2008 was formerly essential here year. Sheryl Nussbaum-bch was the keynote phone speaker additionally thes ad in regards to vital transfer of college education was just as critical as ever to listen to. previously it was handy and pay attention to personalized mates from our highschool moreover from summer time instruction at USM. your audio podcast and also listings should be accessible ultimately.


[b][url=http://www.chrisgardnermedia.com/member/252856/]ted baker bags[/url][/b] acne cases are a skin dilemma of which has an effect thousands of people someday in their life. in excess of ninety p'cent of earth's total inhabitants could be subject to an acne breakout by way of huge quantity of teenagers. like the specific skin complaints, blackheads can vary to a great extent as a result of mild to intensive more often than not seen as a the relative incidence to do with acne breakouts, whiteheads, and / or pimple breakout cysts on the face area, guitar's neck, chest, and even rear side.


[b][url=http://anhui.org.au/forum/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=46725]cheap designer bags for sale[/url][/b] electronic Rodriguez specialises in the offer and promotions created by mens and ladies perfumes and it has on top of 20 growth cycles experience in the. Chanel selection 5 in Chanel fragrance pertaining to typically is Elizabeths favourite Chanel.

Anonymous said...

[b][url=http://www.beatsbydrekings.com/]Beats By Dre Outlet[/url][/b] flash gizmos are commonly sharing floppy in addition to stronger hard disk drives as a types of files cupboard space machinery. frankly, most business laptops aren't genuinely constructed with some form of weak computer memory force at this time. universal serial bus makers wonder combined with at related to two ounces so can be at which coming from that you quite inches wide expanded dependent design bought.


[b][url=http://www.beatsbydresea.com]Cheap Beats By Dr[/url][/b] the short starting method enables the associated with headphone progressively essential. if however, you observe the individuals with pride, you can discover earphones never go away because vision. finding pleasure in music is a component of lifespan, We simply cannot enjoy ourselves each and every time without employing headset Can we enjoy the life without? i believe, not,


http://www.beatsbydresea.com during the long--term, that major rendering could very well reduce costs; but nevertheless, Severance arrangements nicely restructuring expenditure may well halt-In inside concise-words. typically the benefit needed for (any existing) becoming successful because of BB10 has become dramatic. next many many of perceptible file to go on.

Anonymous said...

If you would like to take a great deal from this piece of writing then
you have to apply such techniques to your
won website.

My blog; password recovery

Anonymous said...

It's nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this subject, but you sound like you know what you're talking about!
Thanks

Here is my web blog :: louboutin replica

Anonymous said...

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
It's always useful to read articles from other writers and use something from their websites.

my site ... complete offers for cash

Anonymous said...

Wow, amazing blog structure! How long have you been running a blog for?
you made blogging look easy. The overall glance of your
website is excellent, as smartly as the content!

Also visit my web site :: Crack Passwords like a Boss With GPU-Based Cluster

Anonymous said...

http://hermesbag.finniwolf.com finally a deposit in the lung burning ash is left which can what one had to avoid nevertheless applying tobacco, a required solution on a time consuming-run flights very.big handbag hermes kelly felix handbags bag. every bit of supply during this website/email is as long as for usual information needs only possible and mustn't be considered medical health advice or meeting.
http://hermeshandbag.finniwolf.com

Anonymous said...

hey there and thank you for your information – I've definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this website, as I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but slow loading instances times
will often affect your placement in google and
could damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for a lot more
of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again very
soon.

Feel free to surf to my blog ... cs 1.6 aimbot

Anonymous said...

Hi! I know this is sort of off-topic however I needed to ask.
Does running a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work?

I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal daily.

I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

Stop by my page; CS 1.6 hacks & cheats

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to find out any matter on net as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this site.

Have a look at my webpage: Louboutin Sale

Anonymous said...

I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
Plz reply as I'm looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. cheers

Have a look at my homepage http://www.christianlouboutinbuycl.com/

Anonymous said...

Quality articles is the main to attract the people to
pay a visit the site, that's what this web site is providing.

My blog: miscrits volcano

Anonymous said...

I am truly happy to read this webpage posts which consists of
lots of helpful data, thanks for providing such statistics.


My web site; Christian Louboutin shoes

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
I'm hoping to start my own website soon but I'm a little lost on
everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out
there that I'm totally confused .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

Here is my site - christian louboutin shoes

Anonymous said...

I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this
site is genuinely fastidious.

Also visit my blog post ... christian louboutin for sale

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all
of your post's to be precisely what I'm looking for.
Does one offer guest writers to write content for you?
I wouldn't mind producing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome website!

My web site: free virtapay

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of the most vital information for
me. And i'm glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

my website; free virtapay

Anonymous said...

Hi, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to get most recent updates, therefore where can
i do it please help out.

My web page; paid to click multiclicker bot how to

Anonymous said...

If some one ωаnts еxpert νiew conсeгnіng
blogging and site-builԁing afteгωard i suggest him/her tο visit this webѕite,
Kеeр up the nice ωork.


Αlso νіsit my blog poѕt; term life insurance quotes

Anonymous said...

F*ckin' tremendous things here. I'm very glad to peer your article.
Thank you a lot and i'm having a look forward to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

My weblog ... aimbots

Anonymous said...

For latest news you have to visit web and on internet I found this web site as a most excellent website for most up-to-date updates.



Feel free to surf to my page; adfly hack

Anonymous said...

Superb website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
I'd really like to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!

My web site :: psn codes

Anonymous said...

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be
on the net the simplest thing to keep in mind of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while other folks think about worries that
they plainly don't realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other people can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

Feel free to surf to my homepage; download minecraft

Anonymous said...

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also
with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great
blog like this one these days.

My web page :: Dragonvale breeding guide

Anonymous said...

Whаt's up everyone, it's mу fіrst pаy a vіѕit at this web
page, and post іs genuinelу fruitful in favοr οf
me, κеep up postіng theѕe аrtіclеs ог reviews.


Ϻy web-ѕitе - raspberry ketones

Anonymous said...

electronic cigarettes, electronic cigarettes reviews, e cigarette, smokeless cigarettes, e cigarette forum, e cig reviews