“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” ― Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)

The Optimum Happiness Index Project recognizes that happiness is not merely about the individual but the human family, intrinsically linked as a community of influence. The worldview of a person, community, or nation can have a profound influence on national and international relations. Even the worldview of religious people can be polarizing.

Our worldview can bring us in conformity (peace and happiness) with others—religions, races, and cultures—or in conflict with others. It begins in the family with the lessons that we learn as children in our homes and in other foremost institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues.

The happiness of a nation is the “aggregate happiness” of its happy people, which are mutually inclusive. One might postulate that effective leadership, good governance, and hospitable
ecological conditions of life are factors that contribute to a high national “Happiness Index” (HI). Conversely, poor leadership, bad governance, and inhospitable living conditions are factors that
contribute to a low national HI in some nations. GNP and GDP are not true barometers of a
nation’s overall health, living standards, quality of life, “Poverty Index” (PI), or happiness of its people.

It would be a noteworthy statistical asset to nations to develop a third statistical measure such as Gross Social Progress (GSP). This important measure is an essential barometer of a nation’s social and economic health and a measure that would be consistent with the happiness of the people of the nation depicted in global studies in a nation’s happiness indicator, such as the United Nations (UN) 2015 edition of The World Happiness Report.

Many other organizations that record world trends paint a bleak picture of the future of our world if global leaders continue to leave unchecked cataclysmic events such as global warming, global poverty, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. When researchers measure the HI of nations, they could highlight nondemocratic leadership and bad governance as a predominant factor in the “happiness equation.” They should also highly recommend effective leadership and good governance as essential enablers to the happiness of their nations.

We can all influence the path to national and international unhappiness when each of us recognizes that we are responsible for the sum of human suffering, though we may not be directly involved. We are by our spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical connection responsible for all of the genocide, the wars, the hunger, the brutality in the world, and all of the unhappiness.

Happiness will blossom when we reject any “moral alibi” for human suffering. We can do something to tap into the wellsprings of humanity that flow through a heart of love (agápē) for fellow human beings regardless of station in life. When we see the world through the eyes of our “neighbors,” we can begin to understand their plight; we begin to communicate with them as a human family. It is only then that hope can exist for humanity, notwithstanding the unhappy “clash of cultures” playing out on the world stage within nations and between some nations in the international community.

Author's Bio: 


Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, self-inspired researchers, and writers. Religious, scientific, educational, philosophical, and humanitarian pursuits highlight their work. Multigenerational family life, nurturing child development, community, business, and corporate experience underpin their quest to inspire happiness in others through their seminal work on the Optimum Happiness Index (OHI). Global travel afforded the Gibbs a panoramic view of the human landscape to observe how people in various parts of the world experience happiness and unhappiness, co-existing in a cultural mix of wealth and poverty.

Marjorie G. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), a Business Accounting and Assistant Diploma (BAA), and certificates in Conflict Management and Environment Technology. Marjorie practices in the field of Accounting Management, where she meets and interacts with people from diverse nations and lifestyles. These meetings help to enrich her happiness journey even when she is not reading or traveling.

Errol A. Gibbs has a polytechnic engineering background, primarily in the energy industry. Errol relinquished his career in Project Management and Business Consulting to pursue a higher understanding of human development from religious, humanitarian, and philosophical perspectives and to write and speak on issues that impede human growth and peaceful coexistence. Errol has presented at conferences hosted by diverse organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP).

Connect with Errol and Marjorie Gibbs at www.gibbshappinessindex.com.