Our forefathers had religious faith which has lost its hold on the minds of the present generation. As a result of scientific discoveries, we find it very difficult now to believe in the existence of god, in the soul or in a life after death. Religious faith used to be a great propeller to human beings in times of sad times or misfortune. The belief that whatever god did was for the good of human beings serves as a great consolations to people when a natural calamity descended upon them. This belief also provides much solace to them in their bereavement. Difficulties, disappointments and failures were all attributed to God’s will before which people bowed without much questioning. But now those spiritual beliefs have a void in our hearts. We now ask if life has my purpose at all. Now we feel confused and perplexed.
In certain ways, however, we are surely happier than our forefathers. Our forefathers were the victims of illiteracy, ignorance and superstitions. Ignorance might mean bliss, but that is the bliss of intellectual non- existence or mental blankness. We are today literate and educated. We now know many secrets of nature unknown to our forefathers. We experience an intellectual thrill when we acquire more and more knowledge. We have not more or less got rid of superstitions and imaginary fears, nor are we any more victims of a sense of fatalism. Our forefathers used to attribute everything to the will of fate. But we now feel that our fate is in our own hands. We experience a sort of liberations form the restrictive influence of fate.
Not only this, the deceit of religious faith has led also the loss of the spiritual abuse of life. Our forefathers were led by the ideal of charity, sympathy, fellow feeling and brother-hood of man. Now people have become utterly materialistic and pleasure mined. Everyone wanted make as much money as possible by fair means or foul. Honesty and integrity are thing of the past. Now here is a mad scramble for money and power.
Wealth is also today more equitably distributed than before. Socialistic trends all over the world have narrowed the gap between the rich and the poor. Previously, even poverty was regarded as part of the divine scheme of things and was possibly accepted by the people. Now the attitude towards poetry has greatly changed. Poverty is now looked upon as an evil which can be and must be removed. The rich classes do not now have that sense of complacency and they do not now take their wealth for granted.
We have greater freedom than our forefathers had. Freedom too is an essential condition of happiness. We no longer feel wretched because of any rigid restraints. Woman is today completely emancipated. The young are no longer in the tight grip of their elders, but enjoy a measure of independence unknown before. The joint family system in our country has crumbled, thus diminishing greatly the wretchedness and misery of those who were its victims. There is greater freedom to love and here to parental control over boys and girls has been considerably relaxed.
We are also happier in the sense that we enjoy better health than our forefathers. Advances in the field of science have made it possible to prevent diseases, to eliminate diseases or to cure diseases. We live cleaner lives in accordance with rules of sanitations than our forefathers could ever do. Our good health depends much on the happiness of the mankind and the health of mankind today is better than ever before. Physical fitness keeps us happy and enables us to derive genuine pleasure from eating, drinking, sports and games and all sorts recreating activities.
We enjoy greater physical comfort today than ever before. Physical comfort by itself is not happiess. Because happiness is a mental conditions which can exist even without physical comfort. But, for the majority of people, physical comfort certainly constitutes to happiness. Scientific inventions of our time have made lives easier by greatly diminishing the need for manual labor of physical exertion. We also have more leisure in these times and along with leisure we have many more sources of pleasures. Physical comfort, leisure and pleasure have surely increased and augmented human happens in our times.
There is, however, one aspect of our life today that fades out our happiness and that is the fear of war. If a global war breaks out, it will be a nuclear war and a nuclear war will destroy the world. This is a fear which haunts people of our times and which tends to poison our happiness. In many ways, as has been seen above, we are happier than our forefathers. But our forefathers never felt afraid of total destructions of the world. Today the thought of war is a source of constant anxiety.