So Much “Happiness”—A Sign of What?
“TAKING all things together, how would you say things are these days—would you say you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” That was the question used by a survey conducted by the Institute for Social Research of Michigan University. How would you have answered?
Thirty percent of the people who responded said they were very happy. In a similar survey, held back in 1957, 35 percent said they were very happy.
Those conducting the survey believe that worsening conditions are responsible for that 5-percent decline in people’s feeling of well-being. But scoffers at such ideas quickly point out that the small decline really supports their argument that things are going on much as they always have been and that people are as happy as ever.
Some challenge the data. “How can you tell whether people are happy or unhappy?” they ask. The researchers point out that the survey really is not a measurement of a person’s level of happiness. Rather, it is a determination of a person’s own perception of happiness. Another explanation given is that people have simply refused to recognize or realize how bad things are—a sort of head-in-the-sand self-deception. “Human beings are inclined to make the best of a bad situation because there doesn’t seem to be much else to do,” explained sociology professor Andrew Greeley.
So the fact that people’s sense of well-being has not changed much in over 20 years does not argue that conditions actually have not changed. It merely shows that perhaps the majority of the people have either failed to recognize the meaning of what is happening, or they have deliberately chosen to ignore it.
In his prophecy concerning our day, Jesus Christ said that this would be the case, stating: “As they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” Many today also ‘take no note’ of what is happening around them. They have unwittingly fulfilled another facet of the “sign” given by Jesus concerning “the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 24:3, 38, 39.
[Pictures on page 15]
They ate and drank and ignored the warning