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Does Freedom=Happiness?

Written By: Gary on July 4, 2005 No Comment

So I don’t want to complain too much and this post has mutated into something way different that what I started with. But I’m the devil’s advocate and every time I sung a praise for today and the country I had a “but” pop up. So read on if you want some rambling related to safety, happiness, taking things for granted and the US. Maybe I’m just bitter that it rained and there weren’t any fireworks tonight…

So I live in the United States of America. We’ve really got it made here (we really do), I can’t complain too much (but I’m going to whine a little). We’ve got so many freedoms everyone takes it for granted. We have so many freedoms we give the benefit of the doubt to the criminals and while many fall through the cracks it’s still a pretty safe place to be.

I’m extra happy today because I think this is the one of the few holidays since the fall of 2001 where we haven’t been on high alert or if we are everyone is taking it for granted and it is “old news”. I think we take a lot for granted these days and it’s not good. If we take it for granted how can it make us happy?


I’m not happy with everything the people in charge do but in general they keep it moving along pretty well (and since I don’t do much about it other than vote so I really shouldn’t complain). It’s generally just the bad or stupid stuff that we hear about all the time. The day to day good stuff gets taken for granted so we don’t hear about it so much (if at all). I pay my taxes and follow the rules and just hope they do significantly more good than bad (and generally they do). Some day I’ll do a “If I were in charge” entry.

But people aren’t happy enough! Many people have been the past few days, lots of picnics and parties and fireworks (I love fireworks). But if we have it so great why aren’t the people happier in general? Is it the “grass is always greener” syndrome? Or the “I want/deserve more” syndrome? or are they all happier than I think (I really have no hard data on this other than I think people should be happier).

Occasionally I think wouldn’t it be great to live in ____(insert some country here)____. It’s the good stuff I like when I’m there, I assume they have all the other stuff that I take for granted here. It’s like when you look at a different job and you see the extras it has but what you don’t see is the extra hours, parking/traffic is worse, the insurance isn’t good but it still somehow looks better until you get there.

I know I’m whining and I know I have it great here and we’re celebrating our independence but I wasn’t here when we were “dependent” so I don’t know what it was like before. And I know we weren’t to nice to each other back then for more than a few years after we got independent, so I’m not sure how much it was valued back then and I’m still not sure how it’s valued now…

So once we colonize Mars, at what point do they decide they want to be independent and free of the tyranny of us telling them what to do? (and declare their own independence day?)

Although, I still feel that tug to live in some little town off the ocean in Costa Rica or some flat in London not to far from the tube so I can go downtown whenever I want. But I am still here, mostly because I know this country is a great place to live in.

(This was really not the direction I was going when I started this post. If all you see is me complaining above, read between the lines, these are issues because this is such a great place to live.)

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