Is Our Happiness at Risk? Reclaiming Our Humanity



Happiness is an emotion, a very humanizing emotion. There are many words people use to describe it, but sometimes it’s almost indescribable. Defining happiness can seem as elusive as achieving it. But maybe, if we simply look at what it means to be human, we can grasp the idea of happiness.

The word humanity is from the Latin humanitas for "human nature, kindness.” And, humaneness means: benevolence, compassion, fellow feeling, kindness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, tolerance... Basically, we are creatures driven by emotional connection.

At the core of our humanity is our unique ability to love and have compassion. Whether we respond to it or not, we all have a constant emotional pull for togetherness and connectedness.  

Think about all of the experiences you have had in your lifetime. Chances are your most “human” experiences were the most memorable, because these experiences ultimately expand who we are and where we belong. They restore our inner peace, revitalize our freedom, and help us feel connected, so we can become refocused on our inner being and relieved from the desire to change others (an impossible task and frustrating distraction).

Ultimately, it is our humaneness that brings us joy and happiness. It gives us a fulfilling purpose that we can achieve through simple actions; actions which highlight the best version of ourselves.

So, if there truly is a connection between what it means to be human and happiness, we need to ask ourselves: what are the consequences that might arise from neglecting our humanity for progress and efficiency?

Is life in the fast-lane and the quest for machine-like efficiency putting our happiness at risk?

Once all we care about is efficiency, and humanism is reduced to a matter of style, the real threat comes from the smart machines that we have become, not from those we will build.
— Gianpiero Petriglieri

 The HumanCurrent podcast is hosted by Angie Cross & Stacy Hale. Subscribe in iTunes or listen at Stayed tuned for this week's episode where the Complexity team discusses different theories of happiness. Let's work happy!