It is hard to claim that pyramid-shaped tea-bags have added much to the sum of human happiness.
They’re just another part of our society’s never ending quest for better and more luxurious things. The continual rise of technology has made products, once considered only for the elite, now available to everyone – the pyramid tea bag one such example! I’m not sure anyone expected that particular product to create a wave of new found happiness. But what of more sought after technologies? With the ability for more people to gain access to these goods we might have expected a steady rise in our society’s general happiness.
However as levels of wealth and technology have risen, levels of happiness have gone down. Technology was meant to bring a higher standard of living with less work. However all we have found is that the goal posts have moved. We don’t just want a higher standard of living, we want a higher standard of living than others. In other words we take for granted luxuries that were only dreamed of a generation ago, and we want more. We are now working more and are dissatisfied with what we have.
This should come as no surprise to Christians (although we too find ourselves caught up in this cycle). However what may come as a surprise is that any pursuit of happiness as an end goal, seems to lead to a decrease in happiness. The more we chase happiness, the more elusive it is. We often wish this goal for others with sentiments like ‘whatever makes you happy’, or ‘I’m happy if you’re happy.’ However this goal in the end is simply counter-productive.
That’s because God has made us for a greater goal than happiness.
We are created to love and serve him, and to love and serve others. And a wonderful truth emerges here – the more we forget about focusing on ourselves and our own happiness, the happier we become.