I was listening to a podcast where Richard Layard was giving a lecture at the London School of Economics about his book “Can we be happier”. I came to know that he is among the authors of the World Happiness Report along with Jeffrey Sachs and John F. Helliwell.
Honestly, I could not continue after 20 minutes or so. Can the topic of happiness be told keeping God under the carpet? When would so-called intellectuals speak to the heart and mind of the public by addressing the big elephant in the room called God? Richard talked about all things surrounding happiness expect the most important thing, which is God. The secular attitude of the intellectuals is taking us nowhere. No wonder that the public increasingly feeling frustrated with such kind of narrative and turning to those who bring God, tradition, mystery, and humanism to the fore. Think of Donald Trump. LSE lectures will remain confined within a limited academic audience if they continue to ignore this elephant in the room.
Without spirituality forget about happiness. When you are on a clear sunny day, isn’t it offensive to talk about some electric bulb while ignoring the sun? God has created man as such that he will feel like a fish out of the water if attempts to lead a spiritual-less life. Epicurean material enjoyment takes you to a short distance and a short time, after that you will suffocate to death if not saved by clinging to some mysterious spiritual source. Some would rush to Buddah, some to Ram or Krishna, some to Jesus Christ and some to Allah.
The western man has tried the godless life after its modern philosopher declared the “death of god”. What did the western man achieve? It achieved two world wars. These disgusting wars yielded the best out of Spengler (Decline of the West) and TS Eliot (The Wasteland) and Albert Camus (The myth of Sisyphus). Camus has famously said that “There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide”.
Quran comes to pour peace and tranquility and happiness to the frustrated man of the modern 21st century. It creates a value-based system that addressed all questions that atheists will beat around the bush all day and find no answers. It is just a 600-page book that is so known yet so little researched!
Here I am ending with quotes from verses 22 and 23 from Surah az-Zumar (39) as appears in Pickthall translation of the Quran.