Entertainment is one of the primary pastimes and needs of the people in the modern day. The new types of entertainment stemming from technology, most particularly from the advancements in information technologies in recent years, are drawing in crowds that are seeking to socialise with each other, to improve themselves, or simply to have a much-needed break from their monotonous daily life.
American communications theorist Neil Postman explains the position of entertainment in social life as follows in one of his books titled Amusing Ourselves To Death. “Indeed, everything to entertain the people of the 21st century exists today. Stylish, smart LED/plasma TVs that can connect to the Internet and have specially developed applications, smartphones that have a myriad of features and many other technological products that everyone loves; movies that offer a rich content with impressive visual effects and animations; three-dimensional video games; a very advanced world where people thousands of miles apart can easily communicate, a world where travelling has become so easy and where information can be sent anywhere instantly; all of these and much more are only for the people of the world today.”
But, why are people still unhappy when there is this massive industry striving so hard to make them happy? Look at the faces of people on the streets carefully. You’ll see that they don’t only look lost in thought, but also seem anxious, on edge, annoyed and, most importantly, unhappy. Listen to what they are talking about and you’ll hear that they keep complaining to each other about their problems and how distressed they are.
People usually think that unhappiness arises when we get older. They believe that the problems and diseases attributable to old age are the cause of unhappiness. However, unhappiness is quite widespread among young people today.
Many young people who look very well-groomed, lively, happy and stylish on the outside usually complain about unwavering unhappiness. Although their lives in cafes, restaurants and other places they meet give the impression that everything in their lives is flawless, they tell their friends about how unhappy they are, that they don’t know what to expect from life and that they can’t seem to get rid of the uneasiness they feel all the time, all the while chain-smoking or binge-drinking. They all have problems they want to forget, troubles they are trying to escape and questions they can’t find the answers to.
They think that a new outfit, or perhaps an exotic holiday or a newly opened nightclub will bring happiness and excitement to their lives, but none of those take away the troubled feeling inside. They keep making plans and go on vacations thinking that it will help, but it doesn’t. The noise of the crowds, the exhaustion from their journey, the hangover from drinking so much bestow upon them an indescribable pain and they wish nothing more than to go back home as soon as possible. But when they go home, because their unhappiness follows them, nothing changes. Then, they start focusing on the next holiday and this vicious circle continues for life.
Young people that can never find the happiness they are looking for start feeling old and tired as early as 19, 20 and 21. This unhappiness is the real reason behind the prevalence of substances that numb the body and the mind like drugs and alcohol. They are trying to forget their unhappiness by numbing themselves. Although they claim with photos on social media like Instagram and Facebook that “they live and enjoy life to the fullest”, their real lives revealed in private conversations are completely different.
New clothes, new makeovers, new friends, new places, new cars, new houses or state-of-the-art phone or laptop; none of these truly satisfy them. At very young ages, they become hollow people. Yet, being happy is very easy. Every person is created in such a way that they will be relieved and happy only when they believe in and surrender themselves to God. When a person strays away from faith, which is the food of the soul, he becomes breathless, loses liveliness in time and, in a way, he dies before his actual death. Those that feed their souls, on the other hand, will always be lively, joyful and happy.
For this reason, it is important that everyone supports himself with faith and spirituality. Undoubtedly, the lofty morals resulting from belief in God, conscience, modesty, love, compassion and altruism are the main nutrients of the soul and, most importantly, love and loyalty to God. Souls will come to life only when they breathe with the love of God. A person who has forgotten about and turned away from God will never find happiness so long as he keeps living with his soul not being able to breathe. It doesn’t matter where he goes or what he does, he can’t find the happiness he seeks. As long as he carries a soul within him that is about to die, he will never be saved from troubles and sorrow, even if he possesses all manner of worldly means at his disposal.
However, a person who has surrendered to God is happy every minute of his life. There are, indeed, countless reasons to be happy. He enjoys the constant joy of loving God and seeing the beauties created by Him. He also indulges in the hope of going to eternal paradise, awaiting him after this world. He is happy because he is alive by the grace of God, that he has things he loves by the grace of God, because he has his family and friends, and because he is aware that everything is created by God and lives a heedful life. He won’t need to look for false reasons to be happy. The endless inner peace and joy deep inside his heart will be with him wherever he goes. He knows that it is God who creates technology, music, art, dance and entertainment, and that God gives them to him as a blessing. He enjoys each of them tremendously. There is nothing that can upset or distress him because he knows that everything comes from God, his one truest friend.
Those who live unhappy lives despite having many reasons to have fun and be happy should know that happiness is not an external thing: it is a value that one needs to find inside himself.
Adnan Oktar’s piece on New Straits Times: