Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Researching of the Honors Topic: The Paradox of Affluence: Choices, Challenges and Consequences
After distribution of the Honors Program Guide and much discussion, our chapter felt the place to start the conversation about the honors topic was with Issue 1, Definitions. After examining that section in the Honors Program Guide it was decided that several of the students would read and journal notes on a book entitled, Gross Domestic Happiness, by C. Arthur Brooks. In this book the author argues that the evidence shows a real "happiness gap" in America today, and it lies disconcertingly close to America's cultural and political fault lines. The great divide between the happy and the unhappy in America, Brooks shows, is due, in great part, to differences in social and cultural values. The values that bring happiness are faith, charity, hard work, optimism, and individual liberty. Secularism, excessive reliance on the state to solve problems, and an addiction to security promote unhappiness. What can be done to maximize America's happiness? Supplied with the unconventional wisdom Brooks has come to be known for, Gross National Happiness offers surprising ideas about how our government can best facilitate Americans in their pursuit of happiness. This occurred during a summer planning session not too long after Kayla’s return from the international honors seminar.