The Demand for Happiness

 

A few days ago, I learned something pretty interesting in class. Economics, to be specific. It’s not one of the subjects I love but our current lesson made me think about something beyond resources and consumers. We’re currently in the topic of Supply and Demand — and we started with looking deeper into the concept of Demand. The Law of Demand states that “all else being equal, as the price of a product increases, quantity demanded lowers.” It’s a commonly known concept in Economics and is now taught to other high school students everywhere. However, in the middle of discussion, my mind trailed off in deep thought, contemplating on this law and if it still applies for something else than a product, if it could still be applied to something abstract. 

Happiness.

Everyone yearns for happiness. If happiness was a tangible object sold in stores worldwide, people would be lining up in queues as long as the ones when the newest version of the most sought after iPhone comes out. People generally want to be happy. People long for a reason to smile, a reason to hold on, a reason to hope. If so many people want it, why is the price still high? Why is it that it’s so difficult to gain when there’s so much people who want it? When there is so much demand?

Is it possible that happiness is an exemption from this economic law? 

After much reflection, I concluded that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t. What if the demand is for a wrong kind of happiness? What if all we were fighting for all this time was a selfish type of happiness, where we were only concerned with ourselves? We have grown overly preoccupied with going after what we think would make us satisfied. We never wanted authentic happiness. The reason? Because it’s more difficult to attain.

The temporary happiness we feel after say, a high score on an exam or a project proposal that got approved lasts for only a while. There is still a price we pay — sleepless nights and rejected dates however, those are things we could always “get back to.” Authentic happiness, being a communal one, proves tedious to gain because it takes effort from a group of people and this is even more difficult when all of them are going after their own interests. Due to the high price, people settle for the one that requires less effort and time: selfish happiness. 

If more people would genuinely believe and want happiness for all, then the price wouldn’t be as high. After all, that’s what the Law of Demand says. 

Sacrifice is scarce. Selflessness is rare. But it’s certainly not unheard of.

We’ve seen extraordinary people who went out of their ways and sacrificed their own selfish pursuits for the community. Many of them are unsung heroes, some of them now saints, and others awarded by prestige organizations. These are the people who have paid the price for everyone else — and it’s now the youth’s turn to be the one to bring the price for happiness lower. It’s up to us kids to want to change this world. 

Through little or big acts of kindness, anyone anywhere can be the reason for someone else who truly needs it to smile. To be happy.