This paper treats happiness that is something measurable and hence can be improved in degrees. Precisely a person committing a suicide is not happy while a person that can handle his or emotional problems are a happy one. This papers thesis therefore means that improving the level of happiness is actually helping people to have a better feeling of well being and less likely to be persons who will succumb to suicide. Schwart argues for the importance of value of choice for a person to be happy.
The author explained that freedom to choose has what might be called expressive value and that choice enables one to tell the world who he or she is and what he or she cares about. To improve happiness one must be free and having that knowledge that one is free, that person must exercise the power of choice of to be happy. Happiness is a choice from the time a person wakes up in the morning until he lays his or her head at night to sleep and the same choice must again be practice the same day. For what is freedom if not deliberately used?
The power to express oneself is one of mans basic rights that are universally recognized. If one would like to trace the fall of the communist ideology, one would find that the limitation on the power to express oneself might have been one of the causes of its downfall. One would remember the 1989 suppression of the then Chinese government of the demonstrators on Chinese Square. The students were shouting for more freedom. They were willing to die in the name of freedom. Could the acts of the students be not taken also as dying for happiness if freedom has the objective of happiness?
The right of freedom to self expression could even be above the right of government official to privacy for what a persons right of expression could be used to criticize the act of a public official in democratic countries. Remove freedom to express, then you remove happiness. Remove happiness, then you remove meaning, then you remove life. Since happiness is one of the main objects of life, governments must be right in recognizing its availability by the exercise of freedom by recognizing the right in the constitutions although inherently the right might have existed without need or expressly recognizing the same.
Organizations whether profit or non profit defines its goals in terms of missions and visions. These missions and visions are directions where organizations want to go. If analyzed further, these missions are actually purposes or meanings which in substance could be equated to happiness. It could thus be argued that institutions including government and other organizations are institutionalizing the right to happiness in terms of laws and policies which are indications of decisions to improve the level of happiness of individuals.
To further support the thesis of this paper, Seligman argues that people who are impoverished, depressed, or suicidal care about much more that just the relief of their suffering. He explained that these persons care sometimes desperately- about virtue, about purpose, about integrity and meaning. For these people, experiences that induce positive emotion cause negative emotion to dissipate rapidly. Seligmans conception of meaning and purpose confirms the organizations setting their missions and visions are their guides for survival.
It is in this regard that Seligman espouses Positive psychology. He observed that the strengths and virtues function to buffer against misfortune and against the psychological disorders, and they may be the key to building resilience. Thus he stated that the best therapists do not heal damage, they help people identify to build their strengths and virtues. Seligmans Positive Psychology therefore promises to take one through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of the strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfillment: meaning and purpose.
Positive psychology reinforce thesis of this paper that more than curing the psychological disorders, psychology which is a science could be applied to make a choice, a choice for a brighter outlook. Although Seligman acknowledges personal circumstance to be a factor in determining happiness, it does not contradict the power of choice. This choice explains why more people are successful than other who does not have the right attitude. A philosopher once said that attitude is everything.
What he really means is that attitude is a choice in the same way that happiness is a choice. Being therefore a choice, its improvement and enjoyment could also be a choice. Conclusion: This paper has proven what its has argued that happiness can be improved by choice both from the individual and institutional level. As man is free to choose so he or she must be free to choose to be happy. From the individual level man will seek to express him or self to other via many means from the performance of arts and even in these daily activities in work.
In the institutional level, this paper also found evidence of choice for freedom to self expression that was inserted in many of the constitutions of many nations in the world. This world of hopeful people will continue to survive many challenges because of the power of humanity to determine their destiny, which essentially in reduced form, is actually happiness.
Schwarts, Barry, The paradox of choice, Why more is less, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, USA, 1946 Seligman, M. , Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Press, New York, USA, 2004