As Prince of Lorenzburg it is my duty to do everything possible for the wellbeing of the micronation and her people. By which values are we to navigate in order to live good lives? How can we find our course in times when many people lead materially satisfying lives and when “wellness” is reduced to just another product in gyms and health stores? I bet many people experience their inner compasses turning wildly in the chaotic contemporary times. I have recently become interested in the little Asian Kingdom of Bhutan, where they seem to have a thing or two to teach about happiness and wellbeing.
I invite you to listen to this TED talk about the Bhutanese concept of “Gross National Happiness”:
The phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH); (Wylie: gyal-yong ga’a-kyid pal-‘dzoms) was coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Originally the phrase represented a commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s culture based on Buddhist spiritual values, instead of western material development gauged by gross domestic product (GDP). Today the phrase is in use also outside of Bhutan.
The GNH concept has inspired a modern political happiness movement. Through the contribution of several western and eastern scholars, economists and politicians, the concept evolved into a socioeconomic development model. In July 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 65/309, that was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011, placing “happiness” on the global development agenda.
The four pillars of the GNH philosophy:
- Sustainable development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural values
- Conservation of the natural environment, and
- Establishment of good governance.
The GNH concept evolved through the contribution of international scholars and researchers to become a socioeconomic development framework. The GNH policy now serves as a unifying vision for Bhutan’s five-year planning process and all the derived planning documents that guide the economic and development plans of the country. Proposed policies in Bhutan must pass a GNH review based on a GNH impact statement that is similar in nature to the Environmental Impact Statement required for development in the U.S