The pursuit of happiness
Every individual has a right to happiness. Not only momentarily, but as often as possible. There is just not enough emphasis on this wonderful state of being. We mistake it for hedonism or materialism. Owning stuff is not happiness. We spend a lot of time satisfying pleasure which isn’t happiness. Being happy and spreading happiness is the least regarded state of mind. When all the senses are engaged, excitement, risk, intellect, participation, happiness is a kind of intoxication. For most of us the essentials of happiness are food, drink, and a roof over our heads. Some need the addition of children to reach a desired level of happiness. For me it has always been helping others, even with the smallest, unseen gesture.”
A happy nation
How do we attain happiness in an independent nation? Scotland’s constitutional goal hopes to secure a chance at happiness in opening up opportunity for individuals to develop to their full potential. How is that secured? It can be attained through the democratically ages-established tradition of empowerment of the individual.
We cannot guarantee everybody achieves equality, no nation, no society can. What we can do is create a society where equality of opportunity is there for the taking, and the vulnerable without the means to better themselves, are protected from freefall.
Greenland is not too small
In a colonial reality the perceptive among us feel decisions are things people make elsewhere. For Scotland that means Westminster. But what of other small nations? Greenland is worth a study
Greenland is the world’s largest island but a very small nation. It has its own tribes, history, culture, art, topography, environment, and administration. After hundreds and more years ruled by Norway and then Denmark it achieved its ambition to become a self-governing country.
Greenland retains Denmark’s Royal family and Denmark’s monetary policy to some extent, something Scotland suggested for its autonomy by retaining the Royal family and the pound sterling.
With a tiny annual GNP a mere 1.3 billion, Greenland is not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination yet, by all accounts its 56,000 souls lead generally happy lives. They are as happy as circumstances permit. They talk openly of being happy, and how their communities look to each other’s well-being and that in turn drives their happiness. Their lives are not boring. They don’t look for passive amusements. They know harmony.
Achieving any kind of social harmony is difficult if not impossible when the individual feels isolated, or separated from determining the things that matter in their daily life.
Unionists warn Scotland of isolation as if our two nations should ever physically separate socially and geographically. Greenland can be described accurately as extremely isolated, particularly in its winter months, yet the people of Greenland are in control of their lives in large measure. They are empowered.
Greenlanders are not freeloaders. They have an in-built sense of their own worth. One of the strongest instincts of human nature is the herd instinct, affinity with a group. Greenlanders have it in abundance. They are so confident in themselves that they readily embrace other races not indigenous, such as Americans and their aircraft base! – a source of income until Greenlanders decide otherwise.
Colonial rule corrodes
Westminster’s patronising ethos is the United Kingdom contains all the qualities required to attain happiness, ergo, Scotland need only identify with those expectations, with England’s best interests, values, culture. Their slogan is, colonial democracy is good for you. This might have an attraction were it not for adopting the ethics and motives of a dominant nation creates a faux, ersatz kind of domestic continuity. We are asked not to be overt Scots but rather imitation English, or at the very least, tenants of land that does not belong to us. We rent it via taxation.
Worse, colonial rule removes responsibility from individuals. It stops the search for alternatives, for better societies and social structures. We become mere ciphers to the greater nation’s goals, goals we don’t share.
A nation in charge of its own destiny gives itself the chance to enact laws to govern behaviour that helps suppress our worst instincts, the venal and the avaricious and envy. It can construct a fairer distribution of goods and wealth than a bullying nation intent on keeping the best for itself.
Colonial rule is a joyless creed. It survives by its tyranny. The natural inclination of any homogeneous society is to form and hold to its own ideals, to follow a moral language that is applicable to its people, to conduct itself by its own sense of values.
The Scotland I want
Colonialism constricts joy and happiness. The Scotland I want to see is a place where one individual cares about another as a natural state of affairs, where the individual develops and prospers, one’s happiness bound up in the happiness of others. Happiness breeds objectivity.
The sun is shining
Some years back I watched my daughters at play among other children on sledges, gurgle and shriek with joy as they slid down a snow-covered slope on Edinburgh’s Corstorphine Hill. The hard work, slip-sliding trek back up the hill was not a problem to them. They chattered and smiled all the way, some helping each other back to the top. Their enthusiasm was infectious. They did that journey many times knowing the pleasure to be had once they reached the top.
Let us work for a free Scotland. Let us join in the task and help the slow and the less able up that hill. In a shared pleasurable communal task there is a quiet, sure happiness that binds us together, with more joy to come when we attain the ideal.
Our instinct is to construct; we are all reformers. When we are happy, we will, as a rule, adopt a happy creed. That’s what independence means to me – the profound knowledge we are in the real stream of life pursuing happiness and hope for others and, by reward, for our self.