Saturday, December 31, 2011

Measuring Standard for Happiness

Among the developed countries Korea is listed number one in the number of suicides of the young, and in the lowest rank in the  subjective index for happiness. 

These are the facts that begin an  article on a priest's dissertation for his doctorate written up in the Catholic Times. The doctorate is on youth studies and the standard that  determines the level of happiness of our young people and the theory behind its development.
Happiness is determined by external, internal and spiritual elements that are in harmonious  balance, and the dissertation attempts to find tools and the  theory that will help in their measurement. The desire of the priest is to help in the pastoral work with the young and in determining programs, policies and  structures in working with the young.

Although it is a dissertation within the field of sociology, revelation,  spirituality and other important elements have been considered, which gives meaning to those involved in the work with Catholic youth. In the dissertation, he expresses the feeling that there has been a blind spot in the examination of human existence on the part of many studies because they are limited by their sole interest on possessions, existence, pleasure, personal fulfillment and with  the exclusion of the spiritual. We can, he says, distinguish  the   special qualities of our existence, but we cannot  separate the spiritual, physical and  mental and when we do we will not understand happiness.

The dissertation  brings to the center for the measurements of happiness: achievement, relationships, life satisfaction,  life's meaning and value, and the place of transcendence etc. in the construct.

In order to verify  his conclusions he had a  questionnaire answered by 1,275  of those in the 15-20 age group which gives  credibility to the study. Max Weber many years before said  we have "specialist without soul" it is this understanding that the dissertation tries to exemplify. It is this absence of the spiritual in our society that brings to the fore the unhappiness which we see all around us.
He hopes  the thoughts he has worked with will help those working with the youth. The programs and structures  should be helpful in having our young people realize their place among God's people  and to dream of the   liberation  they have received. 

As we begin the new year, St. Paul's counsel in Roman's (14:17) should be always with us:  "The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking  but of justice, peace, and the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit."  

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