Culture of Happiness / Contentment

By Jack Corson

When first flying into Senegal, I saw what looked liked thousands of building stacked into one giant cluster in Dakar. For an oblivious American like myself, you expect savannah with various exotic animals roaming throughout it. This first image was only the beginning of shattering the stereotypes built around countries in Africa.

If you were to create an image of the cultures within Africa based on the American perspective, you’d anticipate groups of people in pure hunger, desolation, and despair. Yet simply talking to anyone you can find, you can tell this is not the case. I see people with a quarter of the materialistic items I own, but living in a pure state of content. This is almost impossible to understand for someone coming from where we live. The fact that people are able to obtain such little, but have so much joy in their life is truly amazing; something you can only actually find in a country like Senegal.

Creating this sort of life style in the society we live in would almost be impossible. You would have to live in some sort of isolated area, but even then, the way our minds have been configured to rely on our materialistic items would hinder our ability to find that true content with what the world offers us and not the Walmart down the street. By no means am I saying the lifestyles we live are wrong, but seeing the difference in wants/needs from our society to the societies here really makes you ponder why you even think the way you do.

Going back to my house and throwing out every type of materialistic item I own can’t create the level of which people think here. Instead, incorporating these ideals in your daily life to whatever extent you desire would create a much better sense of disconnecting your “reliance” on our society’s status quo.

 

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