The Simplicity of Bliss

Powerful Essays
French author, journalist and philosopher, Albert Camus writes, “but what is happiness except the simple harmony between man and the life he leads.” In his book, The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner sets out on a journey around the globe to “places that possess, in spades, one or more of the ingredients that we consider essential to the stew of happiness: money, pleasure, spirituality, family, and chocolate, among others”. (2) According to the World Happiness database, these are the keys to the happiness of several countries he visits. However, when he explores the nation of Bhutan, he encounters an entirely contradictive idea of happiness. The Bhutanese believe that less is more. From the beginning of his visit in Bhutan he finds that from their daily life activities, to their economics, to their ideas about self, the key to their happiness is simplicity. Simplicity is defined “as the state of being free from complexity, intricacy, and division; the absence of luxury or pretentiousness; of having plainness and sincerity; basic”

An example of this simplicity is apparent in the activities of daily life. Weiner encounters the vast, natural beauty of the Himalayas as his plane makes its approach to Bhutan. After he disembarks, however, he is not greeted by a glitzy, multimillion dollar airport but by what he describes as “barely an airport…just a tiny hut of a terminal” (53). As are all visitors to Bhutan, Weiner is assigned a guide. He makes note of the simple, traditional Bhutanese dress for men, a gho, which is shapeless, practical in that it can carry any manner of items within its folds, and devoid of bright colors or patterns. Weiner describes what the Bhutanese consider a national highway, which consists of one road, wide eno...

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... of archery. There is a balance, a harmony, in their daily life; in wealth and lacking; in living and in dying. This balance is achieved not by complicated bureaucratic policy, but taking what you need; living practically and practicing being attentive, compassionate and cooperative within your community. The question remains whether advancement, this progression will impact the acceptance of the simple life that the Bhutanese currently have. Less is more, but will the controlled introduction of outside influences change this idea. The question of whether happiness is “in here” or “out there” remains to be seen in Bhutan.

Works Cited:

Weiner, Eric. The Geography of Bliss. New York. Twelve, 2009. Print.

“Camus, Albert”. Wikiquote. Wikimedia Foundation. 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2012.

"Simplicity." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 19 Feb. 2012.
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