There is no objective measure of happiness. People are amazingly resilient. One of those Ted talk cult gatherings talked about how two people were surveyed a year after experiencing a leg amputation, for one, and hitting the lottery, for the other, and they were about equally happy as a year before.
No one knows if what they call their happiness level is comparable to the next person, or would be different if they had been born in some startlingly different conditions.
Also, there s the question of happiness as defined at the moment (am I happy right now?), vs how well our selective memory brainwashed us to imagine what a good time we were having back then.
So you're on very shaky ground imagining that happiness can be measured in an objective or trustworthy way in order to select optimal social conditions or political conditions.
Also, you will likely find that people with the falsest beliefs are often the most happy. People who do not question their beliefs, or do not introspect, do not doubt, who don't question their rightness or judge their own behavior, perhaps are the happiest. Would that mean we should endeavor to impose such conditions?
What if it was found that people are miserable not if their condition is materially poor but only if they are lower than average on the status ladder? Should we then impose income equality to make everyone less bitter and status conscious?
What if lots of mind altering drugs produced good survey results. Should we pump everyone full of the best cocktail?
Finally, why should happiness, even if it were defined, necessarily be a higher good than a life that involves pain, loss, struggle, builds character, allows for self criticism, inner turmoil?
Is it possible that the happiness of a man and a pig are different in quality, even if their survey responses indicated the same quality?
Could the happiness and misery of as Pascal or a Nietzsche be entirely of a different kind than that of a mall shopper or couch potato, due to their corresponding depths of pain.
Perhaps a life of pigs at the trough is not necessarily the proper end for society, even if it produced higher broad average of happiness survey responses?
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