STUDENTS' CORNER -47
Next to the question of comfort in relation to one’s sense of well-being, we have to look into how emotions affect an individual.
Basically, man is fundamentally an emotional being though he has been endowed with the quality of mind called intellect. Emotions and feelings usually dominate one’s personality. Common statement you come across always is that man is highly intellectual and has the ability to find out the true from the false, to find out the right from the wrong. If you observe the people around you and observe the things that happen about you, you will see that emotions overrule the people generally. A doctor smokes. As a doctor, he knows very well the harmful effects of smoking on the health of an individual; if only intellect is ruling in him, he will not continue to smoke but give it up. Here, habit supersedes intellect; for him, then, perhaps, the feeling of satisfaction and the comfort it gives him compel him to go to smoking. Perhaps, it is possible that you took a decision not to continue some bad habit, like smoking or drinking or even taking food more than necessary. Any habit that you feel you have to give up. But it has not been possible for one to give up a habit at the very first time he decides. All this goes to prove that emotions affect, influence an individual.
While talking of comfort we found more money can command more comfort-promoting gadgets like AC machine, just to cite an example. But when you come to the issue of affect, of the influence of emotions on an individual, it has been pointed out by both economists and analysts that GDP cannot be an effective measure of assessing the affect an emotion has on somebody. With all ACs on, a rich or a wealthy person does not get good sleep very often; he hits the pillow but sleep seems to ward him off. On the other hand, a coolie, a physical labourer goes into sleep just as he goes to bed. Supposing you have an old photo of your kind parent or parents or someone you like. You would not choose to throw it off but you tend to cherish it; because, it carries memories of both pleasure and pain, just to say so. This worn-out card becomes, turns out into a bit of your past life. You value it because it rouses in you some real emotions of joy and happiness, or even regret for some mistake you did to the persons in the photo. But from GDP point of view, the card, which is worn out turning brown has not monetary value; and therefore it has no value at all. You can see how GDP fails when it comes to the question of feelings and emotions. For this very reason, the economists and the public as well do not tend to care about GDP by itself. What matters to them is what they get out of it in terms of happiness and emotional living. Therefore, we can conclude that affect and GDP need not go together.
We will take up the last point of well-being in our next session. Meanwhile ponder over al l these things and it will enrich your sensibility; you begin to know about yourself, slowly more and more.