Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gross National Product



Photo from the deck today: Spring, she be happenin'.

I don't know where I read this and I'm too tired to go web search but the gist of the essay was that we are measuring all the wrong stuff when we give out GNP numbers. What we should be measuring is the happiness of our citizens.

Oh boy. Right on, I say. There is a pall of unhappiness in the world that is tangible. Disasters, nuclear (or truly as I prefer the linguist Dubya's pronunciation: Nukular)power failures and non-containment: a personal worry as two of my family members were in Tokyo at the time of the tsunami - I can never quite get used to that word, we would call it 'Tidal Wave' in the old days. They are shaken and stirred but fine, praise be Gaia. One is hoping to get out today. As to the tragedies of so many uncountable deaths continuing to unfold there - it must be unbearable.

Economic meltdowns continue to domino, country by country and does anyone know what is happening in the world of our neighbour down south apart from multiple Charlie Sheehans? Big stuff afoot I hear. Here we are playing hopscotch with maybe an election, maybe not, as our prime minister Harper crowns himself king of all Da Canadian and Canadien and First Nations Peebles, officially like, with a replacement of Government of Canada notepaper with, I kid you not, The Harper Government headlining all official government communications from what used to be a democracy. Sort of. Laws? Schplaws. The king has spoken, long live, etc. But I think we would all take him down physically and exile him on an icepan off Labrador if he so much as touched our universal health care.

Meanwhile in my little neck of the woods I am reminded over and over and over again of what happiness is when I go out and about. One never leaves Newfoundland. People ache when they leave here, they cry (I do) when they leave, they cry when they come back (I do).

I'd say we have the highest GNP (based on happiness) in the whole world. Seriously. You'd have to get to a community dance here, or be at the theatre where I was on Friday night at Jake's Gift
and after the show the actor comes out and says she had to say, and she breaks down and cries, and says that she had toured all of Canada, more tears, and she had not been prepared for the people of Newfoundland who were a nation all to themselves with the welcome and their openheartedness and love.

And I was reminded of that at a BBQ dinner dance I was at on Saturday night where the band, ZOMG the band, played my kind of rock 'n roll and we danced and we danced.

And people talked of all the fund raising going on lately, to help out the local families with cancer issues and housefires and sick children. You get an overall community population of 1,000, max, who can raise $5,000, $8,000, $17,000 for some needy neighbour. I don't know about you, but I hide myself in the bathroom and cry sometimes. I am that overwhelmed by the generosity.

There is something about knowing the community will take care of you, should the need arise, that generates great peace of mind. You will not go hungry, your house will be rebuilt, your accommodation at the hotel will be paid near the big city hospital where your child is so sick. And hell if you need to be buried, that will be taken care of too.

It is a dying way of life, I am very well aware of that. But there is a lot to be learned here in these outport communities about a GNP that can't be measured, it is so completely off the charts.

I have never in my life been surrounded by so much happiness. It has nothing to do with material wealth or possessions but everything to do with contentment and a certainty that no finer place on earth exists.

10 comments:

  1. You home sounds like such a beautiful place in all ways. I'm heading up there when I get the chance.

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  2. "Here we are playing hopscotch with maybe an election, maybe not, as our prime minister Harper crowns himself king of all Da Canadian and Canadien and First Nations Peebles, officially like, with a replacement of Government of Canada notepaper with, I kid you not, The Harper Government "
    takes the cake, dosen't it !!

    Still have a lot of the white stuff around here, and some of our annual flooding has started.

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  3. forgot to add, i hope to visit someday, when i see picture of Newfoundland and Labrador i get Fernweh .

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  4. You describe your Newfoundland, and the people there, so lovingly. As I read I thought how wonderful it would be if your part of the world could survive the last great conflagration (whenever it might arise, now or in 500 years) and be the core of a New World, spreading its goodness and way of life far and wide.
    :-)

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  5. Two links that may be of interest to you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/nov/14/happiness-index-britain-national-mood

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  6. Well, as I've said before, you make Newfoundland sound like a fantastic place to live. That very special sense of community is increasingly rare.

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  7. A good thing you don't have TV. I am stuck with the image of a ferry sitting on top of a house - on the deck a little round white table and 4 white chairs ... a lot of stuff below the house and the boat. Actually I think I saw it on the internet. It has me paralyzed.
    Yes, no better place to be than Newfoundland. I stayed at a bed and breakfast on Bell Island. The daughter came home and played the piano downstairs - it sounded like at least 4 hands must have been playing. Wonderful. Not to mention picking blueberries and and and .... WHAT A SPECIAL PLACE!!

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  8. My neighbors and I have a little community within the broader community. It's always been this way in the small town I live in. Good to know it happens in other places - perhaps these pockets of happiness will weather the coming upheavals better than places with no such network in place.

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  9. There are little communities everywhere, one just doesn't hear about them much.They are aware that the minute they let the outside world know of their exsistance outsiders will come in droves, trying to make it just like the world they left.

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