Home > Ethics > The Pursuit of Happiness Is Making Us Miserable

The Pursuit of Happiness Is Making Us Miserable

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The pursuit of happiness is one of the unalienable rights enshrined in the US Declaration of Independence. But is our relentless striving to feel good no matter what actually making us miserable? Would we be better to accept that life comes with good times and bad, and make peace with that? This IQ2 debate, held in Sydney in March 2010, pitted those who believe that happiness is a worthwhile goal that can be found in pleasures material and social, against those who hold that people should abandon unrealistic goals and seek quiet comfort within.

Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatry registrar and writer. He is a regular contributing columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Professor Judith Sloan is an economist and the Commissioner of the Productivity Commission and the Australian Fair Pay Commission. She is a director on the board of the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Westfield Group Board. She has worked as an academic at the University of Melbourne and Flinders University, South Australia.

Petrea King is the Founding Director and CEO of the Quest for Life Foundation and practices as a counsellor, inspirational speaker and workshop leader in the field of holistic health. She is the author of several books including “Quest for Life” and “Your Life Matters”

Russel Howcroft is the Chairman and Managing Director of advertising agency George Patterson Y & R and is the former Chairman of the Advertising Federation of Australia. He is also a panellist on the ABC television program “The Gruen Transfer.”

Clive Hamilton is the Professor for Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne. He is a public intellectual and the author of several books included “Affluenza” which he co-wrote with Richard Denniss. His latest book “Requiem For A Species” was published in 2010.

Professor Ian Hickie is a professor of psychiatry and the Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute, based at the University of Sydney. Hickie was the inaugural CEO of Beyondblue: the national depression initiative, which aims to address issues associated with depression.

Philosopher Dr Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre. He is a fellow of the World Economic Forum and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Foreign Policy Association.
Source: ABC Australia, Big Idea http://www.abc.net.au/tv/fora/stories/2010/04/06/2864966.htm

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