The politics of happiness

The politics of happiness

A think tank and environmental organization in Finland published a manifesto on happiness (Finnish), but really it’s on managing time, public space, and doing meaningful work:

Time is a unique resource: it cannot be stored. We all have it, but most of us have too little of it. We say that it’s important to be able to make one’s own decisions concerning how to use our free time. The significance of free time has grown in the past two decades. At the same time, the issue of free time is paradoxical. For a busy person, free time may be the key to happiness, but happiness can equally easily be lost in not having anything to do.

But it’s not easy:

See also:
What policy makers can learn from happiness research —Elizabeth Kolbert

The politics of happiness is not only a matter of balancing work and free time, and initiatives such as the four-day work week or civic salary do not automatically resolve the problems we have regarding our use of time. People are often performance-oriented even in their free time. Our free time is also diminished by growing distances between home, the workplace and services, not to mention the ecological effects of increasing distances. Free time easily becomes subordinated to work and is spent on recharging one’s battery.

Scheduling “nothing” is an acute a warning perhaps as scheduling “something.” Time is an unique resource, a pause, a silence; we store it, measure it, accumulate it, but it’s not being saved for tomorrow. All you have is what you choose today.