Hello, everyone, this is Octane (Oku Akira).
I am announcing here to you the practice (80 min) on February 04 at Hitomachi City Center.
Genre: Talk and Discuss.
Title: Let's think about "Happiness" and summarize the discussion.
Description: See below.
Please prepare for the practice in advance. This is the requisite to enjoy.
Let’s think about “Happiness” for now and future
Though being full of zeal and dream, many of us at Kyoto ESS, particularly those between the age 20s and 30s are worrying about the future more than old generations did once. One of the reasons is that, nowadays, the future is not so promising as it once used to be some decades ago. In those days, economy was boiling, job opportunities were like apple cropping and people were looking only onward but not back traces left behind.
In these days, on the other hand, job offering market is shrinking less unless you aggressively open the door to jobs or plow out new markets. Yes, you can do it with zeal, skills, wisdom and, of course, English muscles built up at our ESS.
Don’t complain to this too much globalized world. Instead, let’s take a look at the ways we have left behind and find solutions and encouragement. When you look back thoughtfully, you will find more chances than ever to change the society. You should know that the civilization we have developed is distorted and biased too much for monetary economy, technology and easy lifestyles. We didn’t think what the real happiness for us and the posterity is. We could solve the problem by thinking what happiness and satisfaction are.
Today, let’s discuss about happiness and satisfaction to make our life bright. You are encouraged to build up insights into the future from various wide angles of happiness, e.g., mentality, health, social welfare, peace, economy, culture, technology, environment, energy and resources.
Roadmap for the day’s practice.
Step 01. Make four groups. Each group will be provided with (1) large white paper for poster presentation, (2) felt pens, (3) post-it labels of three different colors, blue, yellow and pink.
Step 02. First, assign the discussion leader of the group. Second, discuss for a short minutes to make the group’s timetable for preparation, discussion and writing for poster presentation. (10 min)
Step 1. Start first, before group discussion, to imagine what is your concept or dream of happiness on both personal and public bases. Use the backside of instruction sheet for draft writing. Then, concisely summarize your image(s) of happiness in two short phrases and write them on two blue post-it labels. The labels shall be posted within the one-third space at the top of poster. (15 min)
Step 2. Start group discussion on the happiness posted there. Then, summarize the results of discussion into several categories and write them on yellow labels using short phrases. The labels shall be posted within the second one-third of the poster space (20 min).
Step 3. In the final step, discuss on plausible problems lying in the way of realizng the happiness. Show ideas how to solve the problems. Finally, summarize both the problems and solutions and write them on pink labels. The labels shall be posted at the bottom of poster (20 min).
Step 4. Presentation: In the last, all posters must be presented with brief explanation (4 min x 4 groups = 16 min). The presentation will be graded by hand raising.
Other examples of how to prepare the poster
Example A. Cascade model. 1) Write key title(s) on the top of cascade. 2) Post blue labels (Step 1) under the title as the start of discussion stream. 3) Post yellow labels (Step 2) on the second stream and the pink ones (Step 3) in the bottom basin of the stream. 4) Draw the streams as a connected flow of logics.
Example B. Tree model. 1) Draw a big tree growing on the ground like a bibliographic or family tree. 2) Put key title(s) in the main trunk, make the tree grow by adding branches one by one along the line of discussion. 3) On the first two branches that are stretched from the main trunk to the right and left, place blue labels (Step 1) like leaves. 4) On the second two branches do so with yellow labels (Step 2). 5) Finally, on top of the tree, show problems and solutions with pink labels (Step 3) so that they look like fruits.
Points of Discussion
1. Are you happy now? If yes, why are you?
2. What is your definition of happiness and unhappiness? Can you draw a line between happiness and unhappiness?
3. Think about selfish and other people’s happiness. Can you divide these two?
When you think of own happiness, can you do so for others and the posterity?
4. How can you measure and describe the level of happiness?
5. Can you mitigate or escape from unhappiness?
6 Can you change unhappiness to happiness?
7. Does happiness depend on the consumption of energy, resources and money?
8. Does happiness depend on science and technology? If yes, then, how much does it?
9. Pick up some dark sides of science and technology. Show how to minimize them.
Dear all: This is Octane the presentor of the practice on Feb 04.
To enjoy the practice "Think what is happiness" next week, following are some reference materials to think about happiness. I hope you would read this in advance.
1. Harmony with Nature: Statement by the Triglav Circle
This paper constitutes the Triglav Circle’s input to the compilation document for the Zero draft of Rio +20. The Triglav Circle is a registered NGO, having special consultative status with ECOSOC. For website see http://www.triglavcircleonline.org
Sustainable Development, Non-Consumerism and Happiness
Since the disaster caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku area, including the near catastrophic accidents in four nuclear furnaces in Fukushima on March 11 2011, Japan has been facing a difficult decision about which of two paths to take for its nation’s future. One is to continue the present course of consumerism based on fossil and atomic energy, and the other is the frugal social life based mainly on renewable energy sources which in essence depend on solar energy.
These alternatives are just like the paths described in Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." One is the continuation of the present path, which appears easier than the other; the un-trodden way of harmony with nature appears to be much more difficult. If we should decide to take the harder way, we should examine not only the perspective that it will guide us to a happier society but also what kind of measures should be taken to persuade people to follow it. Failure in the case of environmental change, because of over indulgence in consumerism can wipe humanity from this planet. We should not take a chance by betting on the easy life, since the magnitude of loss is infinitely large. Elise Boulding wrote "Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things."
The fundamental importance of a frugal lifestyle in which harmony with nature is the prerequisite for a sustainable society has been expressed by many Asian historical figures. For example:
Ando Shoeki an 18th century Japanese physician and thinker wrote about the importance of harmony with nature in a startling book "Shizen Shin-eido (自然真営道The true way of life to live in accordance with nature)(3)". The book contains a story about four meetings held by, animals chaired by a monkey, birds chaired by an eagle, insects chaired by a beetle and fishes chaired by a whale. The conclusion of all four meetings coincided with the same statement that: Among all creatures the manner in which humans live is by far the most out of sync with nature. Only people, among all creatures, use money and many of them enjoy life without individual productive labor (agriculture). People make their own "laws" for the benefit of their own profit, most of which are against the law of nature. In short they concluded that the most harmful creature in the world of living things is without doubt people who live in a manner out of harmony with nature.
A similar way of looking at our way of life was written by a Chinese thinker Wang Chong as early as in 1st century in a book "Lunheng (Balanced Consideration)(4). In which is a sentence stating: We call locust a harmful insect because it devours crops we produce. However, if a locust can talk, it will say that crops are not for people only. Heaven gives crops for every creature so that humankind is a harmful 'insect' for locusts.
Since the industrial revolution, people have consistently preferred “development” to the more natural and environmentally sound old fashioned way of life. It must be emphasized that a sustainable economy is an ethical imperative.
If we should decide to take the harder way, we should examine not only the perspective that it will guide us to a happier society but also what kind of measures should be taken to persuade people to follow it.
Hideo Shingu, Ph.D
Member of the Triglav Circle
Representative, Kyoto Energy and Environment Research Association
2. Happiness is
- - (quotes from Charles M. Schulz ”Happiness is a Sad Song”)
・waking up, looking at the clock and finding that you still have two hours left to sleep.
・a side dish of French-fries. ・a new sweatshirt on a cold Saturday morning.
・winning an argument with your sister. ・having something to look forward to.
・the best seat at the parade. ・a big muscle.
・a sad song. ・loving your enemies.
・being tickled under the chin. ・coming home from the hospital.
・hearing the pediatrician say “no, I guess she won’t have to have a shot”.
・a stack of old comic books. ・catching snow flakes on your tong.
・licking the bowl. ・walking hand in hand.
・a warm puppy. ・being too sick to go to school, but not too sick to watch TV.
・letting him win even though you know you could slaughter him.
・walking in the rain together. ・buying somebody a present with your own money.
3. Happiness is not a heritage from our ancestors, it is a debt from our future generations.