Education a prerequisite of happiness?


by oktaby

It is not an easy question but important & fundamental to the complex world we live in. Type & quality of education or what we classify as education are intertwined with our condition, worldview and ideals. 

" Education as a prerequisite of happiness" was the topic of a debate championship I happened to watch on Korean TV.

It was discussed passionately and in articulate English by Korean students. The proposition by students playing the government side was that education drives self awareness & social attainment… and therefore, should be legislated into law. The opposition argued that the government’s proposition lacked analytical basis, not measurable and that happiness is an individual matter and not subject to quantitative standards or legislation. The argument went back and forth between three members of each side prompted by moderator and subject to voting by a panel and audience applause or silence. Participants showed high level of command on the various aspects of the topic and English language.

As I watched I could not help but think about Iran and what might have been. That at the pace Iran was moving, she would be a powerhouse to contend with. With the advantage going to Iran as she had a head start on Korea on top of the wealth from our natural resources to fund it. That this is the type of discussion Iranian students could be participating in, rather than being physically and mentally shackled by religion and tyranny. And that if I were a betting man, my money would be on Iranian kids any day of the week.

Yet I could not help but be impressed by Koreans. Their rise from wars, subjugation and abject poverty to build a proud and progressive nation. I recall how in late 90‘s some Korean colleagues proudly talked about their elders’ poverty as we viewed some displays in a theme restaurant outside of Seoul. They passionately explained how elders would be left outside to die or be fed by the generous who would spare them some food…..that Seoul now had the highest percentage of PHD’s of any city in the world and was the most wired city. 

Koreans are a different country, history and culture but I could not help compare fortune & misfortune of two peoples; and possibilities for beautiful Iran.

The opposition arguing against education as prerequisite for happiness won the championship.


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by yolanda on

Education is not the prerequisite for happiness.....but without may have more may end up in poverty or unemployed unless you are Lisa-Marie Presley or Paris Hilton....those heiresses are not worried that they don't have any education....another thing is that sometime it is hard for highly educated people to find jobs......some of the PhD's have to change careers 'cause they can't find jobs related to their field of is a tricky world over there!

Great topic here!

Thank you everybody!


Btw, being educated is also knowing

by Rea on

milk and bread kill your garden hedgehogs. ;o)


Is education a prerequisite for happiness?

by Rea on

Certainly NOT.

But it does open many doors. More doors open, more opportunities and more roads to explore.

Hence, go for it. Make sure your child/ren do, too.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


  • Ashem vohû vahishtem astî.
  • Ushtâ astî.
  • Ushtâ ahmâi.
  • hyat ashâi vahishtâi ashem.


Righteousness is the best good. It is radiant happiness. Radiant happiness comes to the person who is righteous for the sake of righteousness alone.

In short; don't go looking for it. Just do the "right" thing and happiness will automatically come to you. If you do good for selfish reasons that ain't good enough.


Happiness comes to those who seek to create happiness for others.

That is  why AQ and Jundallah and Khamenei will never be happy. That is why the greedy banker in the West will never be happy. Nor will the gun slinger or mob boss. It is like filling a black hole. Keep taking from others and pouring in. Won't fill it. You cannot find happiness by hoarding or stepping on others. Give it a try. It won't cost you anything and may actually help you out. What do you have to lose except for misery and unhappiness and a trip to the Mall.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Happiness is

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


not a result of education at all. I know plenty of highly educated miserable people. Happiness is hard to define. 

I know some hard core totally delusional Christians. They are 100% happy. Because they "know" they are going to heaven. No matter what happens it is God will and they are fine with it. Never get upset; never want anything. On the other hand some atheists are always miserable looking for a reason to live. 

No wonder Marx said religion is the opium of masses. Seriously I know opium and pot users who are as happy as the religious Christians.

Now for some reason hard core Islamists are the unhappiest. They are all angry ready to choke someone. When they don't find anyone they choke each other. Just watch Jundallah and AQ. My advise to them: start smoking opimu and very heavily. Maybe that will take the edge off.

My happiness comes from my family. Since the wife is gone I got my kids. I want nothing else. Sure I love to see Iran free. But I am not going to stew until that happens. Meanwhile we just live and have a good time. 

The best recipe for happiness I read comes from the Zartoshti. I will post is separetly sicne I don't want it buried in my long post.


Hi there this post is very

by Sametovski on

Hi there this post is very interesting. I'll use it for my project . Can you tell me some related e okul articles I could use too?


DoctorX, In a poor,

by Sametovski on

DoctorX, In a poor, generally
uneducated country like Nepal, they have a formal 'happiness index' and
a country like Philippines ranks tops in happiness (never mind the
survey & measurement standards). Many of the most educated &
intelligent in the world turn out to be rather miserable and depressed.
The old expression 'ignorance is bliss' has proven rather accurate
overtime. Just read IRR supporters comments and justifications and they
seem e okul to be educated. One of them even has 'intelligent news' on a
regular basis.



by oktaby on

Marjaneh, if most guys, specially young studs, could let their heads fall between their own legs and then stroke their own nipples, population growth could come to a halt and balance of power between genders will be disturbed  :)

Your approach sounds like fun & exercise but don't you think happiness is a bit more than Endorphines, Oxytocin & a few other biochemical reactions further induced by dark chocolate?



Oktaby, Happiness

by Marjaneh on

It's easy.  Headstand or just letting your head fall between your standing legs, stroking nipples (oxytocin), music (dopamine), excercise (you know the old opiate), getting cortisol under control, eating properly etc.  and above all

knowing that it isn't a necessity or a universal human goal to look like the teletubbies on a permanent basis. I.e.happiness is quite a silly, boring (socially imposed ) goal in itself....

Euphoria on the other hand, takes a lot of work without drugs... And "human flourishing" yet another topic.

(I don't put much weight on the happiness index surveys anyway. It's not as if they include the joys of e.g. masochists!)


"...society celebrates its live conformists and its dead troublemakers..." - Mignon McLaughlin


I wish

by oktaby on

he would keep more quiet and just move forward AO jaan but the Perfect Storm was set for Iran.

Hamsade, the winning team simply did a better job on arguing their point. They were the better debaters. Debating to win and trying to reach some level of understanding are two different things. The question itself is much more complex as you also point out. Indeed the winning team made your very first point on happiness being a state.

Perhaps, we can engage the actual question here or in another blog as it is a big subject to cover. I did mention he prerequisite 'normal conditions lacking in IRR for these kinds of debates and discussions .

You have strong views on this subject or the J.C. quote and I agree with your comment on guidance & support. Following one's bliss, however, does not imply a direction, with or without an education. It is about finding 'what' makes you happy. It is a guidance.


hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

there are degrees of happiness and the objective of rational human being is to improve his/her happiness state. it's not "yes, i'm happy" or "no, i'm not happy."

there are many variables that lead to one's happiness and they vary from individual to individual.  education may actually lead to improvement of one's happiness if it's in one's happiness or utility function: u(x1, x2, ...., xn).  in other words, the individual has intellectual curiosity and is not getting an education for sake of making money but for the sake of acquiring knowledge.  alternatively, one may get an eduction to make money so that (s)he can achieve the variables in his/her utility function (e.g. travel, material).  however, one can get an education in either scenario and still not improve his/her happiness state (for example, the highly educated unemployed/underemplyed people in iran).

therefore, it was much easier to for the group that had the burden of rejecting the gov't's point of view.

the education that mm talks about is more of an awareness issue and not necessarily the formal eduction that one gets.  even the uneducated can be politically aware.

iri not only needs to create more diverse opportunities to get an education (i'm not talking math and electrical engineering) and also opportunity to be gainfully employed.  that in itself would lead to increased happiness.  social/religious freedoms would be another area.

finally, monda, please don't perscribe to your daughter to "jut follow her bliss."  young adults still need direction and guidance.  i speak from experience as i suffered from pure lack of guidance and support and  it took me much longer to go from point a to point b.

Anonymous Observer

Indeed Oktaby Jaan

by Anonymous Observer on

As I watched I could not help but think about Iran and what might have been. That at the pace Iran was moving, she would be a powerhouse to contend with. 

And "they" knew it.  Iran was in such a position of power that it was lending the UK money.  Oil revenues were at an all time high, Shah was moving full speed ahead with his infrastructure modernization projects, and as he so blatantly (and "shamelessly" as "they" would consider it) said during at least one of his final interviews, he thought that it was time for the blue eyed man to take a back seat to the brown eyed man.  So, "they" couldn't take, or accept it.  "They" removed him and put their despicable and murderous "shaaban bimokh" servant in charge (no offense to the real Shaaban Jaafari).

Great blog.  Thanks. 



by oktaby on

is important. The winning depends on the quality of the logic & discussion rather than inherent merit of education in correlation to happiness.

Monda, As long as she is chasing what she likes, she will be fine. As J. Campbell said, 'follow your bliss'.

MM jaan, it is difficult to argue against the value of education if not necessarily in the context of happiness. In all fairness, these conversation belong to a 'normal' environment which by definition excludes IRR and Iran while under their tyranny & erteja'

DoctorX, In a poor, generally uneducated country like Nepal, they have a formal 'happiness index' and a country like Philippines ranks tops in happiness (never mind the survey & measurement standards). Many of the most educated & intelligent in the world turn out to be rather miserable and depressed. The old expression 'ignorance is bliss' has proven rather accurate overtime. Just read IRR supporters comments and justifications and they seem to be educated. One of them even has 'intelligent news' on a regular basis.



If educated, one is not blinded by fable / khoraafaat

by MM on

If educated, one is able to see right through the injustices of IRI, free from the old khoraafaat and religious mambo-jambos.  That is why Khomeini wanted the educated out of the country and bring Mullahs in their places instead.

Education is also why we see the university students at the forefront of many demonstrations in Iran, and the Iranian students have paid dearly over the years for being "not appreciative" of god's representative on earth.



Great question

by Monda on

Not sure if education is prerequisite for happiness per se, but does make funding for a) survival and b) pursuit of happiness - Easier.

Unfortunately I don't know much about Korean culture, except my admiration for their hard work in scientific and business paths.

In Iran, there is no shortage of brains or energy.  However, from what I understand, for most young people Direction is missing.  With the suffocating limitations on individual freedoms, horrific poverty and unemployment, one better learn a handy skill to bring food to the sofreh...but that's the same in the US too, is it not?!

Thank you for your blog oktaby. It created an opportunity to chat on the topic with my daughter (who's off to college soon).  


It certainly helps

by Doctor X on

To have the government involvement in many areas that would play a role in developing the infrastructure of a country, education being an importnat one of all. Having it legislated and regulated would serve as a mechanism to ensure that the country gets its fair and requires share of educated people, needed to move it in a constructive and economically progressive direction.



by oktaby on

sure push hard in all they do. And have their share of issues and risks. However, on balance, they have done extremely well on almost all fronts. And that's where Iran was headed before the devolution. We used to have Korean technicians in Iran who learned their trade from Iranian engineers. Well, Com si Com Sa. Yolanda, any number coming our of IRR is questionable.

Marjaneh, I am still searching. Do share your secret of easy happiness. 



Thanks for the blog

by Marjaneh on

I'm glad the opposition won the debate. Education is primarily driven by big business demands and not the individual's status quo, which is how so many South Koreans stuff their offsprings with Ritalin to get through primary school exams....


As for 'happiness'; I don't know what the fuss is about.  Too easy to obtain...

"...society celebrates its live conformists and its dead troublemakers..." - Mignon McLaughlin

P.S. From what I can gather, the Iranian youth is extremely savvy and even more so, because anything interesting is forbidden....



by yolanda on

A very interesting blog! Thank you! I truly hope Iran becomes better....but at this point S. Korea is way ahead of Iran in terms of economy, per capita income, degrees of freedom, soccer ranking in FIFA, number of Olympic medals, & literacy rate.


I have to say that I have some doubt about Iran's literacy rate ranking. It seems to be an under-estimated figure!