How To Be Happy – Make Your World the Best It Can Be! –

How To Be Happy – Make Your World the Best It Can Be!

Reconciling Personal Values with Public Ethics

how to be happy

How to be happy?

Sometimes it’s so simple to be happy. You can be happy when a friend smiles at you. When you greet a sunny day. And even when you enjoy a favorite food.

But then the real world, the not-so-happy world, interrupts your feelings.

How can we be happy for longer times, even for all the time?

This post tells how to be happy based on science, common sense and the experiences of happy people. Bringing society’s constraints into line with our personal values allows us to be happy and to stay happy. To make our lives the best they can be.

This is the Be Happy Cornerstone or Hub Page. It’s a step-by-step guide for gaining happiness, with links to supporting posts on How to Be Happy.

Here’s the approach we will take in this article and its links, to Be Happy:

  • Understand the dimensions of public ethics: truth, tribalism, despotism, politics.
  • Next, assess the role of charities in social conscience and public ethics.
  • Then, consider how science studies ethics, and how science may also violate ethics.
  • Finally, articulate our personal values in alignment with or contrast to public ethics.

The Role of Public Ethics

What do we mean by public ethics?

  • Right and wrong, demonstrated by the words and actions of such social “leaders” as politicians and celebrities.
  • The response of individuals and social groups to what leaders actually do.
  • And the conflict and negotiation between these two, leading to evolving changes in accepted moral standards.

Sorry, No Formula

This blog isn’t a “cookie cutter” recipe to be happy that’s applicable to everyone or no one. Rather, the articles linked here seek to guide your “intuitive logic,” a concept associated with psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

The Jungian approach helps decide ambiguous issues when there is no clear path to the best answer. For me it works well to surround the issue with as much information as I can gather. As a result, this related knowledge fuels my intuition with facts. Then my mind can jump to a good or even the very best conclusion.

For the present purpose, understanding our inner ethics and external constraints provides a compass to be happy while navigating through life. With that guidance we can act without betraying our personal morals. And what if we cannot reconcile our morals with our immediate environment? Then we can explore ways to change our surroundings, in order to be happy while living with honesty and purpose.

how to be happy - public ethics

I. Public Ethics & Politics

We start by considering public ethics, since those can limit or enlarge our personal opportunity to be happy.

As noted above, public ethics are the moral standards imposed by society. Institutional leaders and celebrities set examples to which the public responds. Hence, contrary viewpoints arise. These lead to conflicts which in turn gradually evolve new standards.

Truth, that is, a set of accurate verifiable facts, is one of the public ethics whose value is eroding today. As a scientist, I naturally look to science for guidance when discerning fact from fiction. However, you can’t always trust what scientists say! That’s shown in this article about scientific truth:

– Scientific Truth and Other Falsehoods

Scientific Method, Anyone?

OK, perhaps scientists don’t always tell the truth. However, perhaps the scientific method can give us the real facts on the pathway to be happy?

Many folks feel that the general population needs better education in science and logic. In that case, they could better make sense of competing points of view. Alas, it turns out that each person’s political persuasion distorts his understanding of scientific data. And in fact, the more numerically literate you are, the more susceptible you are to leading yourself astray! This article tells more:

– STEM Education #2: Politics Trumps Science

Political views are often so polarized that they amount to “tribalism.” That is, people’s loyalty to a group transcends many of their personal values. The following articles treat factors that encourage or counter tribalism: (1) Lack of control in stressful situations, leading to belief in superstitions and conspiracies. (2) The evolution of despotism, domination by a single leader. And (3) my personal Declaration of Independence, which I post and try to follow during political campaigns:

– Superstition, Conspiracies and Control
– Despotism: Why We Tolerate It
– Declaration of Independence from Political Rants

how to be happy - charities

II. Charities

Tribalism and despotism may be thought of as the “evil” face of public ethics. Therefore, is there a “good” face as well that can help us be happy?

We often consider charities to be constructive and blameless. Perhaps they are the vehicles through which public ethics act for the general good.

However, as a scientist I want to look closely before slapping a halo on every nonprofit that approaches me with its hand out. I’d like to vet the worthiness of candidates for my donations. The following two articles size up what charities can and cannot do to help us be happy:

– Charity 1 – Charity Overhead
– Charity 2 – Charity Ratings

how to be happy - public ethics in science & technology

III. Public Ethics in Science & Technology

Ethics is such a vague concept that we would expect it to be difficult to study. Nevertheless, researchers have made great progress in measuring and understanding ethics. This article explains:

– Ethics Research & Vampire Destroyers

This “ethics research” positions scientists as outside observers of other people’s moral dilemmas. However, often scientists themselves confront ethical problems. The following articles discuss three such areas: (1) Design-to-order human beings. (2) Scientists who wittingly or unwittingly publish in fraudulent journals, creating “fake science.” And (3) Volkswagen’s decision to cheat automotive regulators using software technology.

– GMO Humans – Science Collides with Ethics
– Journal Sting Exposes Bogus Publications
– VW Cheat: “Dieselgate” Roils Auto World

how to be happy - personal ethics & values

IV. Personal Ethics & Values

Given the preceding articles, here is the situation surrounding us as individuals:

  • Tribalism increasingly drives public ethics. People value conspiracies higher than truth.
  • Furthermore, charities themselves are not immune to deceit and greed.
  • Scientific studies reveal much about how ethics evolve. However, scientists themselves can also be guilty of ethical violations.

If we want to be happy we need to articulate our personal values as clearly as possible. As a result, we will gain deep self-understanding. That in turn allows us to live without the stress we feel when we betray our inner selves. Living stress-free helps us be happy.

The articles below touch on three aspects of personal ethics and values: (1) The way that caution and logic push us away from empathy toward others. (2) The value of life itself, revealed through social attitudes toward suicide and personal freedom. And (3) what constitutes our inner self, the core of “who we are.”

– Nerds, Empathy and Social Conscience
– Suicide, Personal Freedom & Values
– Self, Dementia & Sanity

Together, these articles offer perspectives on the issues of public ethics and private morality. They are intended to help you clarify your inner values and better understand your external constraints. Bring your inner and outer world into harmony! You will find that the surest path to be happy and to sustain a positive outlook.

What do you think of this approach to Be Happy? Your comments are always welcome (send me a note on the Contact page)!

Drawing & Font Credits:
– liftarn on
– UnifrakturMaguntia font by ‘mach’ wost on Google Fonts.
– Jonslate (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
– Adaptation of PolyLingua on
– tzunghaor on

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