There is a famous Chinese maxim that goes, “satisfaction is a silk thread that strings endless pearls.” The very meaning of this quote is that other precious values such as happiness, joy, pleasure and so forth cannot be attained without satisfaction. Although the saying puts emphasis on the gravity of satisfaction, I have not been able to agree with it from my heart. In fact, I am one of the malcontents of society rather than a contented man. I almost always prefer pointing out disadvantages and demerits of my situation rather than focus on the advantages and merits. My room is too small. It has no bed so my feel backbone pain every morning. The sound of construction near my house is irritating and noisy. Young children who live upstairs sometimes make me really a bad man. The design of my apartment is not attractive in that it is just a rectangle. All these unsatisfactory thoughts were mine. However, the video of a Chicago slum made these thoughts change.
In this video, speakers seem to be literally unhappy. In short, their basic needs are not satisfied. Their lives are unsafe. They are too often exposed to crimes and violence. It is not a big surprise for them to get shot in their neighborhood. Their house is unstable. Due to public-housing projects, they have moved from one house to another house. Even if demolition is in progress, construction can have not kept pace with it. Furthermore, they have no fixed date of completion. They have nothing to do but to wait. Lastly, their peers have left the town. Since the redevelopment project has been off the ground more than ten years, most neighbors have left the slum. There is only one family in the whole apartment. There are only photos, not people. There are traces of playgrounds, not children. There are traces of parking lots, not cars. Imagine that someone, who lives in an aged apartment waiting for unlikely reconstruction, has no affinities in his neighborhood, but one of his family member gets shot while going to a supermarket. Without any doubts , his life must be unhappy.
In stark contrast, my life is safe, my house is stable, and my peers are existent. My life is safe in that I do not have to be concerned about getting shot while I walk across a street. My house is stable in that it is already redeveloped. In fact, the region my house belongs to has been astonishingly improving. When I was an elementary school student, a subway station was built within a five-minute-distance. After three years, a large department store was constructed in front of my house. In the same year, a police station and a fire station were built in our town. Now, this year a polyclinic hospital has been constructed. It is not too exaggerated to argue that my hometown lacks nothing. In addition, I have countless neighbors and friends. Because I have lived in the same area since I was a six-year-old child, my schoolfellows from my elementary school and middle school are sources of my pride. In this hospitable environment, however, I have kept complaining. I feel guilty in that I did not feel satisfied with my valuable surroundings.
While watching the video of highrise, I started to think of the standard of happiness. At the same time, my mind became fully filled with only one question; what does happiness mean? My answer for this question after several hours of consideration is simple. Happiness means relativity. According to a recent survey conducted by the New Economic Foundation of Britain, Republic of Costa Rica scored the highest points in the Happy Planet Index. It is hard to doubt that the absolute wealth of Costa Rica is far less than that of the United States. However, Happy Planet Index of U.S. is less than half of that of Costa Rica. This statistic suggests that material affluence has little to do with happiness. Rather, spiritual value, in other words, relative satisfaction, plays vital roles in happiness. Thanks to the video, I could learn a very simple, but easily ignored truth about happiness: lowering the standard makes me happy. I should be thankful that I do not have to worry about security in my town. I should be thankful that I have numerous affinities who prevent me from feeling loneliness. I should be thankful in that I live in a house with plenty of social facilities. No one can make me feel satisfactory, but only I can.