This is the view shared by retired engineer and philanthropist Koon Yew Yin at a talk on “Conquest of Happiness” organized by Perak Academy at a hotel in Ipoh recently.
“Happiness is promoted by associations of persons with similar tastes and opinions,” he said. “One must feel happy and make others happy as well.
“Very few people can be happy unless on the whole, their way of life and their outlook on the world is approved by those with whom they have social relations and more especially by those with whom they live.”
His talk was based on the book The Conquest of Happiness written by Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell and his own philosophy of happiness. Koon said that though the book was published in 1930 the ideas are still relevant and is considered as a modern substitute for the Bible.
Koon said a dog is happy as long it is healthy and has enough to eat and would wag its tail whenever it sees its master. For human beings life is not so simple and happiness or unhappiness can be influenced by the society they live in. Envy and jealousy are in- built in us and are the cause of unhappiness.
Koon also touched on the sense of sin which is also a cause of unhappiness to most people. He said that most modern societies including himself accepted consensual sex between two adults and felt that majority of the people present would agree as well.However, traditional religion has saddled us with an ascetic moral code that causes us unhappiness. The solution is to root this moral code out of our unconscious.
Affection of parents for children and of children for parents is capable of being one of the greatest sources of happiness, but in fact in today’s world, relations of parents and children are most often a source of unhappiness to at least one of the two parties.
On the question of why you were born, Koon said it is to work. It passes time, provides an opportunity for success and the work itself may be interesting.
Koon believes that joy is in giving. He wonders why most people are reluctant to give, knowing very well they cannot take anything out of this world. Koon has provided over 70 scholarships to young impoverished students.