Recently I saw a poll by Angus Reid, asking the question, ‘What’s most important to you in life?’ Here’s the answer they got:
I disagree. I disagree not so much with the results (which are subjective… and I believe it’s how people honestly feel), but I disagree with the premise of the question itself.
The problem is that the proposed answers are in totally different categories–and if people were honest, and thought hard enough about it, then 100% of the answers would be ‘happiness.’ That’s what’s most important to people. Everyone. Without exception. As Blaise Pascal said,
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
The question should not be, ‘What is most important to you?’ because the answer is always ‘Happiness.’
Rather, the question should be, ‘What do you believe will bring you happiness?’
I think people don’t pick the answer ‘money’ because they would feel bad. It makes them feel much better about themselves to pick something more noble and honourable like ‘family,’ ‘happiness,’ or ‘health.’ And of course, even this proves they are motivated by happiness. Even though they believe money will bring them happiness, they believe that in this situation it would bring them more happiness to answer ‘family’ because then they will feel much better about themselves, which will bring happiness. (But really, how many times have you heard about people ruining their careers for the sake of their family? Yet, we hear all the time of people ruining families for their careers. Also, people ruin their families for the sake of getting ahead in their career for the sake of getting money, which they believe will bring them more happiness than the family they already have. There’s no way people actually believe family will bring them more happiness… otherwise, why are we as a society full of beautiful houses and broken homes?)
As Jeremiah said, so long ago, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’ Here is more proof. We all search for happiness… just no one can really seem to find it in this world. And then we lie about where we try to find it.