Celebrating International Day of Happiness
Applying Conscience to Create a World
Where the True, the Good, the Beautiful, and Happiness Prevail
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Mar. 20, 2021
Happiness is the universal goal and aspiration of all humanity. Society, the economy, the environment, and human well-being are interdependent and mutually beneficial to one another. Countries fixated on the pursuit of gross national product too often neglect the price paid by society and the environment, which in turn affects people's happiness. In order for global citizens to realize the importance of happiness in their lives, the United Nations declared March 20 as the International Day of Happiness in 2012, hoping to inspire all countries to recognize the significance of the day in setting their public policy goals to facilitate sustainable development, the eradication of extreme poverty, and the enhancement of the collective happiness and well-being of their people.
Each March, the United Nations publishes the World Happiness Report to rank countries based on life expectancy, income, social support, sustainable development, etc. The fact that some poorer countries have ranked better than some economic powerhouses per the World Happiness Index has made it clear that people's sense of happiness is often not directly proportional to the economic development of their countries. This also shows that material enjoyment cannot bring people true happiness.
Thanks to rapid technological advancements, the ways people communicate with one another have become more diverse and faster. However, that has also led to indifference and estrangement among people. The decline of traditional qualities of cultures has made people feel empty inside and experience spiritual poverty. In their pursuit of external material things, even if they have acquired a lot, they cannot satisfy their inner desires. Spiritual poverty makes people more unhappy than material poverty does. Chinese philosopher Laozi said in Dao De Jing (The Book of the Way), “In the pursuit of learning, one increases one’s knowledge and skills daily. In the pursuit of the Dao (the Way), one cleanses one’s heart and decreases one’s desires daily.” The wisdom to tell what to increase and what to decrease is the key to humanity’s pursuit of physical and mental well-being and happiness.
In society, a good culture is needed to nourish people's bodies, minds, and souls. Spiritual abundance and inner peace are the keys to true and constant happiness. Conscience is the foundation and origin of a good culture and the positive energy to stabilize the world. We should strike a balance between technology and spirituality as well as between economic growth and environmental health. Let the culture of conscience, love, and peace guide humanity to the land of happiness.
It is the law of nature that all living creatures are created equal. Therefore, it is only right and proper to treat one another with kindness, guided by conscience. A government derives its power from the mandate of its people and sets the institutional and policy framework for the operation of individuals, businesses, and the government. Since the purpose of the government is to serve its people, naturally it is responsible for the well-being of its people and should allow them to enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. History has repeatedly shown us that nations with rulers that ignore human rights and justice and abuse the state power to oppress the people fall into chaos or perish. To make its people happy, the government must govern with conscience and establish a fair and equitable system and regulations that protect human rights. Those who enforce the law must administer their duties according to the law, put the people first, follow the law, and work for all people’s well-being rather than their own selfish interests so that people can enjoy safe, secure, and happy lives. When all nations prioritize governance that safeguard human rights with conscience and eradicating social injustices, we are moving towards world peace and enhancing the happiness and well-being of all.
Rising geopolitical tensions, continued environmental degradation, and various catastrophes have threatened humanity’s continued existence and caused widespread fear and anxiety in people. It is stated in The Book of Changes that “Out of the depth of misfortune comes bliss.” At this darkest age, it is also the best time to do good. On this International Day of Happiness, we urge people all over the world to activate their conscience and create good opportunities to speak kind words and do good deeds at this critical time. Let us refrain from comparing ourselves with others or being calculating. Let us inject the energy of conscience into the world and work together to overcome the challenges we face. Let the virtuous cycle of kindness continue and inspire everyone to enter the true era of conscience. We shall unite ourselves, without discrimination. Everyone can be a hero of conscience and contribute to the continued existence and sustainable development of the Earth.
When we believe in conscience and are willing to practice acts of conscience, our hearts are in an era of conscience, and we will feel happy. When our bodies, minds, and souls are not controlled by material desires or greed and are not overcome by indifference or jealousy, the true nature of conscience will manifest itself, and we will feel carefree and happy inside and thus obtain true happiness.
Whether the future world will be filled with happiness lies in the thoughts and actions of every global citizen. Let us exercise our conscience in everything we do and spread true love. With true love, we can eliminate chaos and comfort all living things. May everyone act with conscience and the world be peaceful. May everyone be happy and every family be joyful. Let us encourage one another to achieve this goal.
May you all be blessed with a healthy, peaceful, carefree, fulfilling, complete, and happy life. Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY's virtual event in support of UN International Day of Happiness