Balloons of Bhutan
is a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom.
Bhutan uses "Gross National Happiness
" instead of "Gross National Product
" to measure its socio-economic prosperity, essentially organizing its national agenda around the basic tenets of Buddhism.
In late 2007, I spent two weeks in Bhutan, interviewing 117 different people
about different aspects of happiness. I asked people to rate their level of happiness
between 1 and 10, and then inflated that number of balloons, so very happy people would be given 10 balloons, and very sad people would be given only one. I also asked each person to make a wish
, and then wrote that wish on a balloon of their favorite color.
On the final night, all 117 wish balloons were re-inflated and strung up at Dochula
, a sacred mountain pass at 10,000 feet, and left to bob up and down in the wind, mingling with thousands of strands of prayer flags.balloonsofbhutan.org
. ted talk