Essay No. 304:
A Higher Standard Of Living Does Not Necessarily Mean A Happier Life: All the underdeveloped countries are caught in a vicious circle of poverty. It tends to repeat itself with the passage of time. It keeps the poor countries within its tight grip.
The vicious cycle needs to be broken to bring the poor countries out of its grip. The underlying idea is to raise the standard of the people through rapid economic development. When the development level rises, it helps raise the income per capita, facilitating an access of necessities and luxuries of life to the people.
Higher living standard has become a sort of cliché in the underdeveloped countries. It is a common slogan raised by political parties. It forms the basis of economic part of the manifesto of political parties. All political parties lend support to the development programmer, and different national development plans are formulated.
The main objective of the plans is to reduce poverty with a view of raising the standard of living of the people through the up gradation of income per capita. There is nothing wrong in the adoption of this approach. A higher living standard does not, however, guarantee happiness in life, people when given to this ideology, often lose peace of mind.
They begin to chase comforts blindly and they require increasing quantity of money to satisfy their rising material aspirations. The rich people who already enjoy a high living standard, wish to add more to their resources to soar still high in life.
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In the blind mad erase race of acquiring more wealth, they are robbed of peace of mind as they are subjected to lot of strain and stress. In other words, happiness (an elusive term) is taken out of their lives. They become like auto-machines and are susceptible to tension, overwork, health break down.
So the pursuit of wealth to raise living standard, cannot bring happiness and peace of mind to people. A poor man, living in a humble cottage, earning his livelihood through genuine struggle may be happy than a rich man. Happiness is a state of mind.
He may be having a blessed sate of mind. Wealth does not promote happiness. It is the attitude of man, how he looks at life counts in the long run. If he is inspired by the objective to live for his fellow-beings by sharing their sorrows and sufferings there by parting with his hard-earned wealth, he may experience the feeling of happiness.
Happiness comes to those who have a passion to serve others in different ways, coupled with the continuous remembrance of Allah. In short, higher living standard is not the guarantor of happiness.