The pursuit of happiness or balance?
The pursuit of happiness, or more correctly a sense of balance and inner peace is a fundamental right of all sentient beings. Some countries state that the pursuit of life and liberty are basic inalienable rights. Science and technology have made many advances in this pursuit. Diseases such as smallpox which decimated the North American First nations have virtually been eradicated. The diagnosis of many cancers has gone from a prescription of go home and settle you affairs, to one of we caught this early, and you should be back to normal soon. The mapping of the human genome has advanced genetics to where we can now identify serious birth defects in vitro. Brilliant minds such as Dr. Stephen Hawking have overcome obstacles thanks to technology that only a few generations ago were most often fatal. With these advances the debate over an ailing person’s right to terminate their life with dignity has become a key moral discussion. Medical costs have climbed faster than inflation, with each new treatment, adding to the overall cost of keeping us breathing one more day. Science and technology must be balanced by compassion based on an ethical and moral basis. Science has allowed the easing of many sufferings, from disease, hunger, and contact with loved ones while apart. However when it comes to the realm of mental afflictions, science has so far only come up with chemical drugs to mask the symptoms. It’s only through spiritual training can we conquer these mental afflictions. Buddhism through its fundamental belief in reality has an important part to contribute to this area.