There is nothing more profound, yet misunderstood as much as “happiness”. I would not go on and claim that “over the centuries people have wondered about the secret formula to achieve happiness”, but there are in-fact, a few interesting anecdotes that I have managed to come across by going back in history – very recently – that speak volumes about what happiness really means. The reason why I elected to go back into the times, perhaps the times of the Greeks as you would later discover, is because they had not the means of wealth, technology, education, opportunities and accessibility that a layman today would be exposed to. Their analogies are ‘sweet’ and apt to their times, and even if there are no complications of the present world to influence their understandings about the important aspects in life, the explanations afforded are equally applicable to those times, as well as times that we live in. To find what “happiness” meant then, would truly be of moment.
It seems to me that every developing country has a similar story about the priorities it has for arts and humanities. A lot of people in Pakistan, for instance, disregard any career associated with art as “thoughtless” and “suicidal”. Sure, the market is a little tough. Artists aren’t exactly in great demand. Its the engineer and the doctor, the computer scientist and any other type of scientist that inspire great respect amongst the individuals in our society. If you want a shot at getting rich, don’t waste your time with art. Art is for losers. Go to a science school, graduate with flying colours and you may have your chance. There is still no guarantee, however, for you see, the market isn’t changing so much. My experience in taking courses from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at LUMS has been brilliant. I have dared to dream, aspire, and all that jargon the school promises. More importantly, I have felt the yearning for creativity and art to be completely side-lined, as there is always a desire to produce the next big app, product, start up and all the other ways to “truly make a mark”, as they say. This is the place that tells me, “hey, you can be rich”, and to be honest, I see all other motivations pale in front of this tantrum.