Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Pursuit of Happiness ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Pursuit of Happiness ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

The President's Council on Bioethics recently delivered a report called "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness." The panel defined the pursuit of happiness this way: "We want to give our children the best start in life and every chance to succeed. We want to perform at our best, and better than we did before. We want to remain youthful and vigorous for as long as we can. We want to face life optimistically and with proper self- regard."

After examining the current technological and pharmaceutical tools available to achieve these ends and the ethical issues they raise, the panel made the telling comment that as these methods develop and become available, "what would have been last year's satisfaction will only fuel this year's greater hunger for more."

No one argues against better health, more energy, less stress, less hair loss, better concentration at work or at school, or freedom from depression. The pursuit of happiness is normal, key to our well-being. The question is, How do we pursue happiness? And can it come in a form that is genuinely satisfying and effective?

A recent New York Times article commented on issues related to the council's study: "Even children know from the television that if you are sad and worried, there is a pill for you. If you have heartburn there is a pill for you. It is a lot harder to find out that there are other ways to feel better, physically and emotionally, than taking drugs" (April 6).

Combining the growing reliance on drugs with other technological advances in genetics and cloning brings up the same question that was raised thousands of years ago in the Bible. Addressing God, the writer of Psalm 8 asked, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"

The varied answers the Bible provides show that the search for understanding has been going on for centuries. A significant insight is given in Ecclesiastes: "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (7:29).

The view of our uprightness, our natural goodness, and our access to health was evident throughout Jesus' life and works. He embodied a spiritual view of life that gave health and happiness to others. …

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