The Road to Happiness
There are a great many people who have all the material conditions of happiness, i.e. health and a sufficient income, and who, nevertheless, are profoundly unhappy. In such cases it would seem as if the fault must lie with a wrong theory as to how to live. In one sense, we may say that any theory as to how to live is wrong. We imagine ourselves more different from the animals than we are. Animals live on impulse, and are happy as long as external conditions are favorable. If you have a cat, it will enjoy life if it has food and warmth and opportunities for an occasional night on the tiles. Your needs are more complex than those of your cat, but they still have their basis on instinct. In civilized societies, especially in English-speaking societies, this is too apt to be forgotten. People propose to themselves some one paramount objective, and restrain all impulses that do not minister to it.
A businessman may be so anxious to grow rich that to this end he sacrifices health and private affections. When at last he has become rich, no pleasure remains to him except harrying other people by exhortations to imitate his noble example. Many rich ladies, although nature has not endowed them with any spontaneous pleasure in literature or art, decide to be thought cultured, and spend boring hours learning the right thing to say about fashionable new books that are written to give delight, not to afford opportunities for dusty snobbism.
Love Is Difficult
It is good to love, but love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us — the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time ahead and far on into life, and is solitude, a heightened and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering or uniting with another person; it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves, may young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them, who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves; it is the ultimate, it is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.
Business of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies do two types of business. One is general insurance against various forms of risk, and the other is long-term insurance which is mainly life insurance.
General insurers will agree to pay a person or company a sum of money in the event of something happening or not happening. It’s a big business today. If the project succeeds, shareholders in your company will expect to be paid a dividend. If you ask an insurer to underwrite your project, then he will require a payment in advance, a premium. If the project succeeds, he keeps the premium, but you don’t pay him anything else. Paying a premium to an insurer or underwriter is often cheaper than paying a dividend to shareholders. If fewer dividends are paid to shareholders, then more money can be kept as retention to finance the company’s next project.
Another type of insurance business is the life insurance. It differs basically from general insurance in that it is based not on risk but on certainty — the certainty that each of us will one day die. Life insurance is the basis of pension funds which provide for retirement and guard against other contingencies such as ill-health, but is best seen by the financial economist as a means of collecting many small savings to put together into large investments, in short, as a form of intermediation.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some people feel sad or depressed during the winter months in northern areas of the world. They may have trouble eating or sleeping. They suffer from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S-A-D.
Victims of S-A-D suffer its effects during the short, dark days of winter. The problems are most severe in the months when there are fewer hours of daylight. When spring arrives, these signs disappear and S-A-D victims feel well again.
The National Mental Health Association reports that S-A-D can affect anyone. The group says young people and women are at the highest risk for the disorder. It says that an estimated 25 percent of the American population suffers from some form of S-A-D. About 5 percent suffer from a severe form of the disorder. Many people in other parts of the world also have the condition.
The idea of health problems linked to a lack of light is not new. Scientists have discussed the issue since the beginning of medicine. More than two-thousand years ago, the Greek doctor Hippocrates noted that the seasons affect human emotions.
Today, experts do not fully understand S-A-D, and yet they agree that it is a very real disorder.
To treat the disorder, victims of S-A-D do not need to wait until spring. Experts know that placing affected individuals in bright light each day eases the condition. There are other things people can do to ease the problem. They can increase the sunlight in their homes and workplaces and spend more time outdoors in the fresh air during the day.
One study found that walking for an hour in winter sunlight was as effective as spending two-and-one-half hours under bright light indoors.
Success Is a Choice
All of us ought to be able to brace ourselves for the predictable challenges and setbacks that crop up everyday. If we expect that life won’t be perfect, we’ll be able to avoid that impulse to quit. But even if you are strong enough to persist the obstacle course of life and work, sometimes you will encounter an adverse event that will completely knock you on your back.
Whether it’s a financial loss, the loss of respect of your peers or loved ones, or some other traumatic events in your life, these major setbacks leave you doubting yourself and wondering if things can ever change for the better again.
Adversity happens to all of us, and it happens all the time. Some form of major adversity is either going to be there or it’s lying in wait just around the corner. To ignore adversity is to succumb to the ultimate self delusion.
But you must recognize that history is full of examples of men and women who achieved greatness despite facing hurdles so steep that easily could have crashed their spirit and left them lying in the dust. Moses was a stutterer, yet he was called on to be the voice of God. Abraham Lincoln overcame all difficulties during the Civil War to become our arguable greatest president ever. Helen Keller made an impact on the world despite being deaf, dumb, and blind from an early age. Franklin Roosevelt had polio.There are endless examples. These were people who not only looked adversity in the face but learned valuable lessons about overcoming difficult circumstances and were able to move ahead.
Is Television a Blessing or a Curse?
It is universally accepted that television is playing an important part in people’s lives. But, there is an ongoing heated discussion as to whether television is a blessing or a curse.
Television keeps one better informed about current affairs, allows one to follow the latest developments in politics and science, and offers a great variety of programs which are both instructive and stimulating. The most distant countries, the strangest customs and the most attractive scenes of nature are brought right into one’s room or household.
However, some people insist that television is a curse rather than a blessing. They argue that it has brought about many serious problems. The major one is its effects on young people. Children are now so used to getting their information and entertainment from television that their literacy as well as physical ability has been greatly weakened. Even worse than that, vulgar commercials and indecent programs may cultivate their bad tastes, distort their view-points towards human life to such a degree that their minds might be corrupted.
To sum up, television has both advantages and disadvantages. What ever effects it has, one point is certain, television in itself is neither good nor bad. It is the use to which it is put that determines its value to society.