Lesson
1

The Modern Quest for Happiness

3 of 5

My happiness is my priority

Modern culture emphasizes self-reliance and self gratification. Happiness is defined by what "I" have and/or have accomplished.

Remembering that we are investigating how to live ethically, how might this emphasis on autonomy affect one's attention to the welfare of others and to society? 

We no longer see our neighbor as relevant to our future well being, the Dalai Lama observes.

We have created a society in which people find it harder and harder to show one another basic affection. This in turn encourages us to suppose that because others are not important for my happiness, their happiness is not important to me.

The Dalai Lama believes that there is mounting confusion with respect to the problem of how best we are to conduct ourselves in life. Do you experience this confusion? You are taking a course focusing on ethical behavior; can you look at science and "knowledge" to guide you how to live ethically?


Reflecting on the Dalai Lama's observation that modern living is organized so that it demands the least possible direct dependence on others, how is this true for your life?

Reflect on how you are very much dependent on others — think of three dependencies that do exist in your life.

How do your dependence and independence impact your life?