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Systems Ethics Thinking Chapter 8 Naoki Morishita
Activities | 2022.09.20

Chapter 8

Making a measure of happiness (2)

Naoki Morishita

1. Happy consciousness

In the previous chapter, we have reconstituted the “Happiness” concept as a framework of the QOL concept and reviewed existing scales and theories based on this framework. Description of the structure of “survival” may be quite adventurous. Subsequently, in this chapter, we want to transform eyes from “survival” to “livelihood” and “whole life”, and examine its subjective quality QS and objective quality QO. The first thing to meet is “happy consciousness” that appeared in the place discussed in Chapter 6. In the framework of the QOL concept, “happiness consciousness” is positioned in the subjective quality QS of “livelihood L2”.

Four dimensions of happiness consciousness

Happy consciousness is a feeling of satisfaction with various daily activities. In other words, from the perspective of the communication system, it will be a comprehensive satisfied feeling of mind communication that supports mutual communication. People’s mind communication system is four-dimensional and human activities become fourth types. If it is, “Happy Consciousness” will also be the next four-dimensional, as already mentioned in Chapter 6 (Fig.35). In addition, the difference in type of “happy consciousness” occurs depending on whether any of the fourth dimensions become dominant.

Performance of external dimension of mind

 …Ⅰ Goal-achievement feeling associated with practice activity

Sentiment of internal dimension of mind

 … II Intimate fulfillment feeling associated with assistance activity

Negotiation of others-oriented dimension of mind

 … III Social approval & Self-esteem associated with inclusion activity

Reflection of self-oriented dimension of mind

 … IV Ideal-enhancement feeling associated with transcendence activity

Fig.35 Four dimensions of happiness consciousness

Maeno’s “Four factors of Happiness” 

I would like to check if the fourth dimension of the “Happy Consciousness” reconstructed here is actually valid. For comparison, from the field of happiness psychology, I will give you the “Happiness’s four-factor” theory of Maeno Ryuji.

As a result of examining studies from around the world, Maeno summarizes the factors that affect happiness into 48 items. Although subjective factors and objective factors are mixed there, the objective factors are specifically eliminated in happiness psychology. From there, to narrow down the factors of happiness, he used dictionary and web questionnaire survey and computer. As a result, 26 items excluding objective factors were grouped into four factors. That is, “Let’s try it,” Things get better”” “Thank you everyone”, and “Be like you”.

His theory seems to correspond to the four dimensions of the “Happy Consciousness” in this book. However, there is also ambiguity of naming, and the necessity and interrelationship of four factors is unknown. The computer will teach to the distance between usage frequency, but not the meaning inherent to human activity. Therefore, from the perspective of this book, the factor group is defined as follows.

“Let’s try it” group… I Goal-achievement feeling

“Thank you everyone” group…II Intimate fulfillment feeling

“Things get better” group…III Social Approval & Self-esteem feeling

“Be like you” group…IV Ideal-enhancement feeling

Internal relationship of factor group

Maeno further lists four representative items of each factor group as follows. However, here too, the necessity of and the relationship among item is not visible. That is, there is a lack of rationality and structure. Therefore, the following is the position of all representative items in the light of the framework of the communication system in this book. It is described in ⅰ, ⅱ,  ⅲ, iv, which means the four-dimensional correlation of factors (fractals). In addition, since the original word adopted is difficult to understand, some modifications are made for expression.

I Let’s try it

ⅰ Competence

ⅱ Personal Growth

ⅲ Responsibility to the request around

ⅳ Self-actualization

II Things get better group

ⅰ Optimism

ⅱ Switching feelings

ⅲ Active relationship with others

ⅳ Self-acceptance

III Thank you everyone

ⅰ Benevolence

ⅱ Feeling loved

ⅲ Seeing happy faces of others

ⅳ Gratitude

IV Be like you group

ⅰ not move around

ⅱ not blame external constraints

ⅲ not compare with others

ⅳ not change one’s beliefs

Maeno’s four-factors theory matches the framework of the communication system of this book. It is surprising to witness that Japanese custom and people’s judgment and computer calculations unexpectedly support the logic of four-dimensional correlation. But that is not a coincidence. It is a proof that the four-factor theory unknowingly reflects the structure of the human communication systems.

Feeling of life purpose and feeling of life satisfaction

The concepts related to “happy consciousness or feeling” are ” life purpose feeling” and “life satisfaction feeling”. The former has already appeared in Chapter 6, which discusses “euthanasia.” The latter is taken up in the section where “whole life L3” is discussed. Both are important for our livelihood and whole life. 

However, when I read research papers on the three feelings, I realize the way of thinking differs depending on the theorist. There is even a view that “life purpose feeling” and “life satisfaction feeling” are different from “happiness consciousness. Therefore, if it is organized based on the concept of this book, three feelings fall into the same four-dimensional framework (Fig.36). In other words, the feeling of life purpose is the happiness consciousness when it is directed from now to the future, and the feeling of life satisfaction is the happiness consciousness when looking back on the past.

Fig.36 Three feelings relationships

2. National happiness

From now on, we will shift our eyes from happiness psychology to happiness economics. I first mentioned that the unified framework of the QOL concept includes not only the individual mind but also the nation’s consciousness. Happiness economics studies the subjective and objective assessment of objective factors that influence national happiness. Here, we will take up the “New National Livelihood Index (Affluence Index) 1998 Edition” (Economic Planning Agency National Livelihood Bureau) and “National Livelihood Preference Survey” (Cabinet Office, 2008-2010).

“New National Livelihood Index”

This has two divisions, “human activity field” and “livelihood evaluation axis”. The former is further divided into eight items: “living,” “spending,” “working,” “nurturing,” “healing,” “playing,” “learning,” and “communicating,” and the latter consists of four items: “safety and security,” “fairness,” “freedom,” and “amenity.”  Consider in the light of the framework of the QOL concept.

First, the “human activity field” overlaps with the mutual communication group, but there is no explanation as to why there are eight items. Therefore, there remains an ambiguity in the arrangement of items. For example, “learning” is related to Ⅱ assistant activity as well as Ⅳ transcendental activity.

Next, the “livelihood evaluation axis” is the subjective evaluation of the social system region. That is, “safety and security” corresponds part of II “communal region”, “fairness” is part of III “public region”, “freedom” is part of IV “cultural region”, and “amenity” is part of I “economic region”. However, the eight items of “activity field” and the four items of “livelihood evaluation” are not related.

This book covers everything from mutual communication to the social system region, and attempts a subjective evaluation in connection with objective values. “New National Livelihood Index” is quite novel as a scale, and I feel a sense of the terms used. However, since the framework of four-dimensional correlation is not incorporated in “Livelihood L2”, it is regrettable that it is not systematic. It will be like this when reconstructed again.

Practice activity…Working / Spending…Amenity…Economic region

Assistance activity…Living / healing / nurturing / learning
…Safety / Security… Communal region

Inclusion activity … communicating…Public region

Transcendence activity … Playing / Learning … Freedom … Cultural region

“National Livelihood Preference Survey”

Next is the “National Livelihood Preference Survey”. The indicators given here are “health status”, “family relations”, “household status”, “income”, “consumption”, “free time / fulfilling leisure time”, “working status”, “stability”, “friends”, “life purpose such as work, hobby, and social contribution,” “human relations in the workplace,” “relationships with local communities,” and “others.” Although the indicators of this “survey” seem to be exhaustive, the necessity and mutual relationship of the indicators are unknown here as well. It will be like the following when reconstructed in the light of the framework of the QOL concept.

Survival L1

Health status… Subjective quality / objective quality QO / QS

Livelihood L2

Household / income / consumption / work status… Ⅰ Practice activity

Family / friendship / stability … Ⅱ Assistance activity

Relationships with local communities / Human relations in the workplace … Ⅲ Inclusion activity

Free time, fulfilling leisure time … Ⅳ Transcendence activity

Purpose of life (work / social contribution) … Subjective quality QS

Whole life L3

Purpose of life (hobby) … Subjective quality QS

3. Draft scales

Here, in order to contribute to make a practical questionnaire, I would like to introduce a new scale based on the framework of the QOL concept while paying attention to the Japanese language.

One of them is the “livelihood satisfaction” scale. This is a subjective assessment of the objective condition QO of the environment. The other is a scale of “happiness consciousness”. This is a subjective evaluation QS for one’s condition. At that time, I tried to adopt a method that can be viewed as a figure instead of a method of arranging items in parallel. This way, you can get an overview of both the quantitative size and the pattern at a glance (Fig.37, 38) *.

* The two scales and diagrams were made in collaboration with students of the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. I hope that the hard work of the students who gave useful opinions will be rewarded.

Livelihood satisfaction scale

Ⅰ Economic region

ⅰ “I have a stable job”

ⅱ “I am in safe and convenient environment”

ⅲ “I basically trust society”

ⅳ “I live stably without any inconvenience”

Ⅱ Communal region

ⅰ “I can rest assured in my living environment”

ⅱ “I can receive medical care with peace of mind”

ⅲ “I have no worries about parenting or old age”

ⅳ “I have a well-equipped educational environment”

Ⅲ Public region

ⅰ “I think administration is being carried out efficiently”

ⅱ “I think freedom of speech is guaranteed”

ⅲ “I feel close to politics”

ⅳ “I think the law is able to respond to changes in the times”

Ⅳ Cultural region

ⅰ “I have time to do what I like”

ⅱ “I have the opportunity to demonstrate my individuality”

ⅲ “I have an environment that stimulates intellectual curiosity”

ⅳ “I have time to look at myself and think about it”

Fig.37 Livelihood satisfaction scale

Happiness consciousness scale

Ⅰ External performance dimension

ⅰ “I can handle things well”

ⅱ “I’m endeavoring every day”

ⅲ “I meet expectations of others”

ⅳ “I’m the one I want to be”

Ⅱ Internal sentiment dimension

ⅰ “I can live with peace of mind”

ⅱ “I have no anxiety about my health”

ⅲ “I am beloved by the surroundings”

ⅳ “I’m growing every day”

Ⅲ Others-oriented negotiation dimension

ⅰ “I can deal with the dispute with others”

ⅱ “I listen to different opinions”

ⅲ “I am relied on by others”

ⅳ “I accept even unwilling evaluations of others”

Ⅳ Self-oriented reflection dimension

ⅰ “I have fun to immerse myself in”

ⅱ “I can behave with conviction”

ⅲ “I have intellectual curiosity in everything”

ⅳ “I have gratitude and a sense of life purpose”

Fig.38 Happiness Consciousness Scale

Apart from the above two scales, if there is a scale of objective evaluation for objective condition QO (the poor example is the GDP index), we are able to bridge happiness economics and happiness psychology by comparing the three. Anyway, if you want to further improve the item contents, I think that these two scales will be extremely useful questionnaires

4. Minimal standard of livelihood

I would like to submit a question here. Does “Livelihood L2” have a “minimal state” in the first place? It does not mean the minimum level in the standard of living expenses, but the minimal necessary for “livelihood L2”. I think there is.

When the ordinary day, which was felt to be mediocre and boring, is suddenly lost, for the first time, one becomes aware of the “irreplaceable”, “thankfulness” and “importance” of ordinary safety, stability and peace. That should be the same for patients with terminal disease and victims of accidents and incidents. At that time, the parties and related parties uniformly complain. “I want to return to my original days” “I want to be back to my original livelihood”.

Then what is the “original livelihood”? That is the “minimal state of livelihood”. When I suddenly try a bold insight from my poor experience and findings, it can be regarded as the following four dimensions of human activity (Fig.39).

” I try to do what I can by myself ” … Performance dimension of the mind 
…Practical activity

” I have my own intimate place ” … Sentiment dimension of the mind 
… Assistance activity

” I am treated as a human” … Negotiation dimension of the mind
… Inclusion activity

“I have little pleasures” … Reflection dimension of the mind 
… Transcendence activity

Why can we say that these are the demands of the “minimal state of livelihood”? If you collate it with the basic four dimensions of “Survival L1” reconstructed at the end of the previous chapter, you can give a reasonable explanation.

Ⅰ “I like to move my body” … “I try to do what I can by myself “

Ⅱ “I like calmness and intimacy” … “I have my own intimate place “

Ⅲ “I like to be recognized by others” … “I am treated as a human”

Ⅳ “I like fun and interesting things” …”I have little pleasures”

The “minimal state of livelihood” is based on the basic four dimensions of survival, that is, the four dimensions of the minimal human activity. If any one of these four dimensions is missing, it will not be “minimal”. It is a set of correlation of four dimensions. Along with the minimal human activity is the “minimal happiness consciousness”. It can be called the minimal standard of happiness.

Fig.39 Minimal standard of livelihood

5. Elderly care and social security

Let’s apply the framework of “minimal livelihood” to the actual field. I will take up two cases. Of these, the social security institution will be postponed, and the method of intervention in the elderly care field will be considered first. In this regard, “Person Centered Care” advocated by clinical psychologist Tom Kitwood is famous.

Person Centered Care

According to Kitwood, care based on traditional biomedical approaches only reduces the value of the individual. This was the traditional culture of care. On the other hand, there is new care that works to increase the value of individuals. That is “person centered care”. He describes person’s desires (and therefore subjective experiences) as “five petals of love.” “Love” hits the core of the flower, and the next five petals surround it.

・ Comfort

・ Occupation (doing something)

・ Attachment

・ Inclusion (approval as a companion)

・ Identity (respect for personality)

The image of “five petals” is certainly beautiful, but the intellectual analysis of reality is different from the emotional artistic expression. Why is care “Love” in the first place, and why are these five petals? As Kitwood admits, it is a product of experience and intuition. There is no theoretical insight there.

So, let’s reconstruct it in the light of the “minimal livelihood” framework. Care is, of course, a general feature of assistant activity (mutual communication) here. Also, Comfort is a subjective quality QS of “survival L1”, unlike other petals are activities of “livelihood L2”.

Survival L1

Comfort … QS (sense of health)

Livelihood L2

Occupation: Practice activity

Attachment: Assistance activity

Inclusion (approval as a companion) … Inclusion activity

Identity (respect for personality) … Transcendence activity

* Kitwood also lists 17 actions that reduce or increase the value of people with subjective experience. Through his clinical experience, he first extracted 10 and added 7 later. I won’t go into details here, but no matter how you look at the list of 17 acts, you can’t get rid of the cluttered impression. Some are duplicates and some are difficult to distinguish. Should it be these 17 pieces? Unlike the empirical way of thinking of scientists, the characteristic of philosophers’ way of thinking is that the general concept (or law) formed based on empirical data is reconstructed from a rational perspective. Of course, collaboration between the two ways of thinking is desirable.

Problem behavior

Based on the above, let’s review the “problem behavior” at the care field for the elderly with dementia. Here, “problem behavior” is a troublesome behavior seen from the caregiver side. The main ones are “wandering”, “isolation”, “sexual behavior (buying surrounding swords)”, and “loss of motivation to live”. Let’s place these within the framework of the “minimal livelihood”.

Wandering … “I try to do what I can” … Exercise / Independence

Isolation … “I have my intimate place” …Sympathy / Care

Sexual behavior … “I am treated as a human” … Approval / Role

Loss of motivation to live … “I have little pleasures” … Play / Life purpose

In each case, it indicates that the corresponding mutual communication (human activity) is not successful. If you know that, the way you deal with it will change.

Social security institutions

Next, let me mention the Japanese social security institution, although it is simplified.

Japan currently has de facto common standard for a wide range of social security, pensions, tax payments, allowances, labor wages, housing security, and others. That is the “standard for receiving livelihood protection”. But the problem is that the criteria that draw the line of “relative poverty” are just irrational.

According to OECD standards, less than half of the median income of all people is the relative poverty. However, in Japan, there are various calculation methods such as a market basket method according to the social circumstances after the war, and these are accumulated and require complicated calculations. As a result, it has been fine-tuned in the calculation so that it will be within about 60% of the average income (currently about 170,000 yen).

Currently, the polarization of rich and poor is progressing throughout all generations amid the super-aging population. In order to prepare for a super-aging society in earnest, it will be necessary to discuss and take measures based on “livelihood” including the housing environment before “basic income”. The key to this is the setting of the “minimal livelihood”.

6.  Basic structure of whole life

When we look back on the whole life we have spent so far, the level of “Life L” called “whole life L3” comes to mind. The root of “whole life L3” is time consciousness. There are various ways of thinking about time, but from the perspective of a communication system, it is the movement of communication, that is, the movement that connects the parts inside communication.

Time consciousness

The movement of mental communication is recognized as a segment of the present, the future, and the past by the work of intelligence. Similar to “happiness consciousness”, this time consciousness is considered to have the following four dimensions corresponding to the four dimensions of the mind. However, this way of grasping is not so rigorous and intuitive.

Ⅰ External performance dimension … Tempo / Speed

Ⅱ Internal sentiment dimension … Rhythm / Vibration

Ⅲ Others-oriented  negotiation dimension … Regular interval

Ⅳ Self-oriented reflection dimension … Continuous flow / Repetition

If you extend the four dimensions of time consciousness, the four dimensions of “whole life L3” will emerge. The following four-dimensional correlation is the view of a whole life.

Ⅰ Tempo / Speed … Discontinuous continuity

Ⅱ Rhythm / Vibration … Constant connection

Ⅲ Regular interval … Spread at equal intervals

Ⅳ Continuous flow / Repetition … Eternity / Eternal flow

Social time

Based on the above, let’s think about the objective quality QO of “whole life L3”, that is, social time. The basis is the objective environmental condition QO of “livelihood L2”. This condition varies from social system to social system. For example, time is different between labor that requires efficiency and childcare that requires patience. In politics, restoration and change compete, and in scientific research, sustainability and creation work together. Therefore, let’s sort out the characteristics of social time by “social system region”.

Ⅰ Economic region … Practice time … Speed, Efficiency, Certainty, Stability

Ⅱ Communal region … Assistance time … Patience / Slowness / Sensitivity / Growth

Ⅲ Public region … Inclusion time … Conservative, Innovation, Fashion, Revolution

ⅣCultural region…Transcendence time 
… Eternity, Sustainability, Creation, Regeneration

In the conventional theory of time, as far as philosophy is concerned, attention was mainly focused on “existential time”, and there was no idea of ​​”social time” in the first place. This reconstruction of social time is a unique achievement of systems ethics.

Whole life satisfaction

Next, let’s turn our attention to the subjective quality QS of “whole life”. First, consider “whole life satisfaction”. In this regard, Diner’s “Life Satisfaction Scale (SWLS)” is famous. The breakdown is the following 6 items (dimensions / factors).

① In most respects, my life is close to my ideal.

② My life is in a very good condition.

③ I am satisfied with my life.

④ I have acquired the important things I seek in my life.

⑤ Even if I start my life again, it will hardly change anything.

The biggest difficulty of this scale is that it is difficult to answer. If you look for the reason, all the items are vague, so you can’t tell the difference among the items. In the first place, it is a confusing level to include the item “③ I am satisfied with my life” in the satisfaction scale. This should be removed.

Considering the above, let’s try to reconstruct it corresponding to the four dimensions of “happiness”. It is possible to respond because the past-oriented “happiness” is “satisfaction”. At that time, the description and order were changed appropriately, but this idea should have clearly improved the scale.

Ⅰ A sense of goal-achievement … ④ I have played the role given to me.

Ⅱ A sense of intimate fulfillment … ② I think my life was blessed overall.

Ⅲ A sense of social approval & self-esteem … ⑤ I am as proud of my life as I am.

Ⅳ A sense of ideal-enhancement … ① I think I worked toward my ideals and approached myself.

View of life and death

The last is the “view of life and death”. It is located where the time of life is extended to the afterlife. Therefore, this can also be reconstructed as the following four dimensions.

Ⅰ Discontinuous continuity … Momentary brilliance / Disappearance

Ⅱ Constant connection … Reunion with close people

Ⅲ Spread at equal intervals … Limited process / Record

Ⅳ Eternity / Eternal flow … Fusion into infinity / Rebirth

The pattern of four-dimensional correlation changes depending on which dimension is emphasized in the four dimensions, and the type of view of life and death is determined. This also has the following four types, but for now it is only an essay.

Ⅰ “Momentary brilliance / Disappearance” type

If you think of whole life as “the brilliance of discontinuous and continuous moments,” the view of life and death that is “the momentary fulfillment of life” or “the release of life’s attachment” arises.

Ⅱ “Reunion with close people” type

If you think of whole life as “a frame that inherits and hands over collective activities one after another,” it would be a view of life and death that “a large number of ancestors line up and join the last seat.”

Ⅲ Limited process / Record ”type

If you think of whole life as a “process of a certain width that gradually decreases like a countdown”, it becomes a view of life and death that somehow wants to “preserve one’s shape, carve one’s achievements, and leave a name for posterity.”

Ⅳ “Fusion to infinity / Rebirth” type

If you think of whole life as “a part of a cycle that returns to eternity and infinity,” it will be a view of life and death, such as “the separation and collection of innumerable things” or “fusion into a great being and rebirth from it.”

To conclude the above, the time consciousness and the view of life and death reconstructed in this section are presented together on the same plane (Fig.40). By doing this, the four-dimensional correlation, which is the basic structure of whole life, will emerge.

Fig.40 Basic structure of whole life

7. Toward making scales

So far, the concept of “happiness” has been reconstructed based on the framework of the QOL concept. The idea of ​​happiness is the basis for the viewpoint of those who interpret conflict situations. Differences in the way we view happiness create different viewpoints. Therefore, through the reconstruction of happiness, one will reconsider one’s viewpoint. This advantage is great, but it’s not the only advantage.

If the unified framework of QOL concept set at the time of reconstruction is applied to the scales actually used in medical care, elderly care and other fields, and if it leads to improvement of them, I think it is scientifically and practically beneficial. At the end of this chapter, I would like to draw the path by reconstructing the “WHO–QOL26” scale introduced at the beginning of the previous chapter.

The “WHO–QOL26” scale consists of four domains, which contain 26 items. Let’s assign a number to each item based on the framework of the QOL concept.

Physical domain … Objective quality QO / Subjective quality QS

Survival L1

Activities of daily living QO

Drug and medical dependence QO

Vitality and fatigue QS

Mobility QO

Pain and discomfort QS

Sleep and rest Q

Livelihood L2

Work ability QO

Psychological domain … Subjective quality QS

Survival L1

Body image

Livelihood L2

Negative emotions

Positive emotions


Whole life L3

Spirituality / Religion / Creed

Social domain

Livelihood L2

Human relations … Ⅱ Assistance activity / Ⅲ Inclusiond activity

Social support … Ⅱ Assistance activity

Sexual activity … Ⅱ Assistance activity / Ⅲ Inclusion activity

Environment…Objective quality QO

Livelihood L2

Money … Economic region I

Freedom, Safety and security … Economic region I

Health and Social care … Communal region II

Living environment … Communal region II

Opportunity to get new information and skill … Economic region I

Participation and opportunity in leisure activity … Cultural region IV

Living environment … Communal region II

Transportation … Economic region I

Overall evaluation … Subjective quality QS

Survival L1

Health satisfaction

Livelihood L2

Self-assessment of QOL

WHO’s QOL scale is so sophisticated and comprehensive. In addition, there is a subjective evaluation QS, and a part of “whole lifeL3” is also included. However, there is no logic of division such as the three levels of “life”, the four types of activities, and the four region of the social system. Certainly, there are divisions in the domain of body, mind, and society. However, this division is based on the staircase method also found in the WHO “Definition of Health”. This method seems plausible at first glance, but it is not valid as explained in the section that deals with Maslow’s needs theory. Reconstruction based on the unified framework of QOL reveals for the first time the problems of this scale that were not visible from the surface.

The QOL scale, which was developed for the purpose of scooping up each person’s “life”, is required to be improved for newly developed based on the unified framework of QOL in order to exert its effectiveness, connect research and field practices, and move conflicting situations.

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