Social law means happiness ebbs and flows

Nick Reagan Columnist


 The scientists thought they were the only ones who could create laws of nature, but one law, perhaps overlooked too often, shapes the form of the human nature. The Law of Conservation of Happiness states that there is a certain amount of happiness in the world and therefore, one can only be happy at the expense of someone else. 

The law may be cruel but it holds water. Just like there is no light without dark, there is no happiness without sadness. In simple terms, sadness makes happiness happy. We cannot all be happy, if we were how would we know? 

The law means that in order to be happy, someone else must be sad. I challenge you to think of a time of happiness for you, how happy were the people around you? I have noticed that when I am extremely happy there is always someone who’s pet just died or tire went flat. 

Look at relationships. How happy is the person who gets dumped by their significant other for someone else? I am willing to bet the person who gets dumped does not feel much happiness, while the other person is simply euphoric. 

It is a cynical prospective that subjects us to a “survival of the fittest” mentality. It encourages us to horde our happiness in fear of someone stealing it from us. Yet, the tighter we hold on to our happiness the more it slips away. This is life. The end game for most people is to be happy or reach a certain level of happiness and at the end of our lives we release all of happiness back out to the world to be experienced by someone else.

There is a problem with this scheme. As population rises you would expect individual happiness to fall as the limited supply is distributed to everyone. If there is a limited amount of happiness then you would expect each person to have less happiness, of course that assumes happiness get distributed evenly.

As population rises, so does the standard of living in most countries—or does it? According to in a World Bank study, 80 percent of humanity lives on less than 10 dollars a day. As you can see, happiness may be improving for some, but that no the case for a large percentage of humans. 

Just like any other law, you can choose to accept it or reject it. So if you choose to accept this law, think about your general happiness and how it comes as the expense of someone else. I want everyone to be happy as much as the next person, but can everyone be happy? 

Nick Reagan is a sophomore studying political science and economics. He can be emailed at [email protected].