The Day HAPPINESS Was Interviewed by the Global Human Rights Search Committee

by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist and human rights educator from Brazil

One day, HAPPINESS applied for admission to the HUMAN RIGHTS family. After its biography was thoroughly examined by the Global Human Rights Search Committee, HAPPINESS was asked to appear before that group for an all-day interview. What follows is a transcript of the interaction (recorded in all the world´s languages):

Question – Why do you think you are here now?

Answer – Before answering you, I´d like to thank you for the invitation. Hope I can live up to your expectations. My being here reflects your generosity, your kindness, the fondness with which you refer to members in your nuclear family, and in your extended family, therein including emerging Human Rights.

Question – Your empathy is appreciated but do say something more, to justify your presence among us.

Answer- I´ll humbly comply with your request. My being here possibly reflects deeply humanizing qualities expected of applicants, such as: a belief in the right to life, the right to live joyfully, the right to live meaningfully …

Question – Isn´t that a bit too self-centered?

Answer – I should add that I perceive myself as a quality showing or generating harmony, health, and wholesomeness.

Question – How would you relate HAPPINESS to the nuclear Human Rights?

Answer – A human being has the right to be socially, economically, politically, culturally happy. That right entails the obligation to be socially, economically, politically, culturally responsible, aware of others’ need for Happiness.

Question- Speaking of being economically happy sounds utopian, doesn´t it?

Answer – No, if you think of the economic right to be happy as ensuring the right to economic justice, equity. As we all know, Human Rights are interrelated, so that the right to economic happiness pressuposes the right to having a home, a job, …

Question – Can human beings be socially happy? In what ways? Please clarify.

Answer – My thoughts on that reflect a belief in the Human Right to Dignity. In other words, to be socially happy is to be treated with dignity in Society, in all social roles you can play and in all interactions you experience day by day. When you are socially happy, you see fairness in sharing being put into practice. I also believe that social happiness has to do with putting others first, with making others happy …

Question- Do you really believe in political happiness? Can you illustrate?

Answer – For instance, that happens when you help elect politicians for their integrity, probity, honesty, humility, willingness to serve citizens and to help their country develop.

Question – Is being culturally happy a chimera, an impossible fantasy ?

Answer- Depending on how cultural rights are experienced, that might be the case but there is still the possibility of one´s being culturally happy if he or she has access to cultural processes and products locally nationally and internationally (either live or on the Web). Some collective cultural manifestations are examples of cultural happiness, contentment. Carnival in Brazil is one such culturally happy practice. Also think of the many religious customs all over the world: certainly realizations of cultural wisdom or, to put it provocatively, cultural holiness.

Question – What if we consider Environmental Rights: can there be environmental happiness?

Answer – Yes, there can. To be environmentally happy is a most demanding, challenging quality — human beings in peace with animals, with nature, enjoying their planethood … Surely an environmentally-based type of Happiness can come true.

Question – To add an even more provocative question: Would you include the Right to Peace in our family? Why?

Answer – Yes, indeed. The right to Happiness presupposes Peace, both inner and outer — meditation and mediation, as the late U.S.anthropologist Dell Hymes put it in a personal communication to a peace linguist from Brazil. As an extended right, the Right to Nonkilling, to living nonkillingly should be considered for inclusion in the inspiring Family of Human Rights.

Question- Thank you. Our Committee will now deliberate on your application. Please wait in the Garden of Hope.

Answer – Very happy to do so.


Committee spokesperson: Our Human Rights Committee is delighted to announce that Happiness has made a cogent, humanizing case for its admission to our family.

Welcome, HAPPINESS, and all the best in your global mission. As you convincingly stated, human beings should have the Right to Happiness. May such right be recognized universally, respected and promoted.

All of our Committee members will sign this Approval, which will be immediately communicated in all languages, in all nations.

And all human beings could live happily ever after …
(received Dec. 19, 2010)

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