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Universal Happiness - 5 Things That We All Want

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In regards to people, it can be argued that happiness is a subjective term. Happiness for one person can be brought about by completely different things than for another. Some people might find that being powerful will make them happy and will strive for that. Some people might find that making a difference in the world, or being remembered will make them happy.

This hub is very simple. My argument is that although there are many different ways that people think they can go to bring them happiness, there are certain universal factors that must be met in order to achieve any kind of happiness. The requirements of happiness. Things that every(healthy)body must have before they can call themselves happy.

Although there are different humans, they are all still humans.

After these universal ideas of the requirements of happiness have been established and recognised, I believe law should be reformed to cater for them. These should be the very basis of our law systems across the globe.

The Grim Reaper doth not equally strike.

The Grim Reaper doth not equally strike.

1. Not Fearing Your Death

People do not want to die. I dare say that we can all agree that not fearing death is one of our key desires. We will all probably end up doing it, later. We understand that chances are, one day we will die.

But for some, as well as knowing it will happen in the distant future, they have to fear death every day. Fear of murder, disease, famine and old age are the common causes for fearing death. If you know that one of these factors play an active role in your life, if you know that there is a good chance you will be murdered, the knowledge will haunt you persistently.

Thus, I would say that the state of not fearing death is something that everybody wants. Something that everyone can appreciate, and something that brings happiness to those who are in that state. The state of safety.



2. Not Suffering

Suffering is not like fear of death. Because that is just one state of mind. Suffering can take many forms and can be a result of many different things. Suffering does not necessarily lead to death. Hunger, sleep deprivation, fatigue, disease induced pain and feeling cold are all physical examples of suffering. Experiencing something traumatic, the loss of a loved one or guilt over doing something wrong are examples of mental suffering.

Excluding masochists & sadists, who enjoy inflicting themselves or others respectively, with pain, I would hope that everyone can agree that they respect the avoidance of suffering as another universal human desire.


3. Leaving a Legacy - Feeling worth

Feeling like you are worth something seems to me a part of human nature. Everybody wants to feel like they do some sort of good, naturally. It takes a lot of degrading before a person's self esteem is ruined, and even then it is not that they do not want to have worth, it is just that they believe they do not. This makes these people unhappy. We can all agree that feeling worth is an important and necessary part of human life.

Knowing that even if you die today, the fact that you have left something positive to the universe makes your life meaningful, with purpose. Having children, inventing something or helping to, creating art or aiding in the construction of a building or bridge or even looking after something like a pet are all good examples of leaving a legacy in this world.

Although quite abstract, I would say that this is an important part of being human and would reason that everyone else would agree, leaving a physical or conceptual legacy behind for future generations to enjoy or be is a necessary part of being human.


4. Opportunity

The choice to do what one wishes is a necessary part of happiness. Being forced to do anything, even if it is right by all standards, takes away the pleasure of it. People need to feel like they have the opportunity to do what they wish, that they are in control of their own lives and their own happiness. This might explain why a lot of teenagers end up doing seemingly stupid actions before breaking off from their parents' authority. When it comes to the stage that we feel that we know enough to make our own decisions, we do not want somebody tellings us to do them, even if we would agree, given the choice. As children we accept rules and authority easier, this might be because we do not know any differently, we do not even know the choices that are out there, all we see is that our parents keep us alive, and are grateful for it. Which brings up the next important part of happiness.

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5. Knowledge

Knowledge is a very peculiar thing. We are either content with a total lack of knowledge and being "blissfully ignorant" or we are only content with knowing everything, and will continue to lust for more insatiably. Unfortunately, with blissful ignorance, as soon as we know something, we want to know more, and are taken out of this state. This happens at birth and is a good thing because blissful ignorance would not serve humanity well in surviving on this planet.

Denial of knowledge is very cruel and I hope that most people would agree that freedom of information and knowledge is something that we should all strive for. Knowing things makes us happy. Not knowing leaves us room for worry, doubt and fear.

Then we will have our utopia.

Then we will have our utopia.


I think that there are at least 5 universal desires of humanity. Each desire I believe to be necessary to call oneself happy. If one of these are not present, I would argue that total happiness has not been reached.

These are:

  1. Not fearing death
  2. Not suffering
  3. Having children/leaving a legacy
  4. Opportunity
  5. Knowledge

    As I have mentioned before, I believe that our law systems should be based on these 5 principles. Our law should reinforce these ideas until law would no longer even be necessary. A Utopia will have been achieved.

Note: If anyone would like to add anything that they think is necessary to achieve happiness that is universal to everyone and does not fall under any of the above categories, please comment and I will add it in :)




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Sanxuary on August 25, 2014:

My list would be pretty different. Death is a part of life and we will experience it and no legacy will ever last. Most people who left a legacy did not achieve one with out creating regrets and trespasses against others. God does not admire Presidents unless they lived a Godly life and pursued his values and the rich have no lasting legacy in Heaven in most cases. My list would place sustainability at the top of the list. What would life be if we never feared starvation, thirstiness and if other mandatory needs had been met without working to death for them. Knowing our kids have this would be a great legacy. Not repeating our mistakes is knowledge and a lasting legacy. Life is about maturity and it serves no other purpose so knowledge is a good one on the list. Still knowledge is only good if you mature enough to use it correctly. Regardless of any faith or religion the context of the Bible is about good decisions triumphing over terrible ideas. A positive World where good ideas triumph over money, power and greed would be a better world. Instead of ruling in favor of a select group of people, we should be ruling in the favor of what is best for all people. Opportunity is very important and we are constantly at odds in the belief that one shoe fits everyone. Individual rights and freedom are extremely important and so is the need for a secular society that allows all groups to exist but also allows the freedom to co exist and practice what they believe. All the things you listed are things denied to us on Earth and oddly death will grant us these things unless you believe in a hell, then you our pretty much back on Earth.

Sanxuary on March 13, 2013:

1. The right to sanctuary. Personal, Home and the right to practice it.

2. The ability to not live in hypocrisy.

3. The ability and entitlements to self preservation. Food, Water and shelter.

4. Choice and the ability to have it. To have it requires us to accept its consequences and forces others to accept theirs.

5. The concepts of equal empowerment in our lives. Everyone should have the ability to work themselves to death and achieve a better life by doing so. We are a long ways from this one.

DK (author) from London on September 03, 2012:

Thanks Bob and I agree with you :)

Expect to see more from you too!

Bob Zermop from California, USA on September 01, 2012:

Hi Philanthropy. First, I want to say again that I think your theory of these five universal desires is well thought out, and I can't think of any specific exceptions to your rule. Nonetheless, I stand by my view that any stereotypes on individuals are potentially damaging, though I'm very much comforted by the fact that you said, "That said I'm perfectly accepting of the fact that I might be wrong..."

I have no issue with trying to postulate any universals or trying to gain a deeper understanding of human nature; in fact, I think those are admirable. But my issue with stereotyping arises when the stereotyper operates with a closed mind and tries to cram people into boxes rather than exploring how they naturally fit.

Especially when the crammer has power and influence (plus god forbid they be well-intentioned, and that's only half a joke), that's when the damage occurs, and the mentality might even spread. Nothing makes me wince like seeing (or hearing or reading, of course) someone trying to "cure" another that was perfectly happy before the "help" and is doing no harm or even being a benefit those around them, and society in general.

Maybe as a bit of an introvert with the travel bug (which sometimes results in behavior which I'm sure is a bit odd to many), I have a personal connection to those who travel a ways off the beaten path. All stereotyping makes me a little wary because of the mentality's potential to overreach and intrude on individuality, even when the stereotyping that's happening is by itself benign or even helpful in some manner.

So after some thought I've realized I actually have no issue directly with your hub, and in fact think it's both thoughtful and well-written. My discomfort stemmed from the fact that I believed and still believe it is based off of a sort of stereotype, however mostly accurate, and I wanted to add that perspective to the comments discussion.

I didn't exactly do it concisely, though. :D Thanks for the comment space, as well as your thoughtful responses, and best of luck with your Apprenticeship. Look forward to seeing you and your hubs around Hubpages!

DK (author) from London on September 01, 2012:

Bob, :)

Thanks again for the thought provoking response.

I should probably clear up that my aim of this hub was to get people to realise and think about how we all have the same or similar basic desires, and that after we recognise which these are we can rationally decide how law should cater for us.

That said I'm perfectly accepting of the fact that I might be wrong and that these are not truly universal desires since they merely cover a majority.

I guess the principle in this hub was really to say "these are universal" and the test of whether they really were universal or not was whether anyone contested - about the best you can do considering the universality of the matter!

Another thing is to note that all of the points I made stem from the idea that we are all genetically inclined to each of them. That is to say, we are all born seeking or being incredibly inclined to seek these things.

Living painlessly, hope, stimulus (knowledge) and children are innate desires of a human being and thus I dare state that those who do not desire these things cannot be classified as "normal" or "healthy" human beings.

Perhaps what these people are is in fact a better or more virtuous life, but I don't think it's human.

It's funny that you bring up the idea of stereotyping actually. It's really an interesting subject. Although in most cases stereotyping is a fallacious thing to do, in nature, because of the way our language works, stereotyping becomes perfectly acceptable.

For example, take: "birds are born with wings". We could call that a 'stereotype' but the stereotype will ring true 100% because it's the very definition we have made for birds. If something isn't born with wings then it can't be a bird.