Station in life
Is there perhaps not a reason why human civilisation have always had a class system? If happiness is dependant upon competition and outdoing your neighbour, then maybe clss structures are natural hierarchies for human beings?
I agree with Samuel Johnson’s take on the matter when he states that a person should know his position in society. A lot of unhappiness and depression stems not only from people being unhappy with their status in life, but also form the inability or unwillingness to change it. They are unsatisfied with their lot, but also too lazy to change it.
The old English or Japanese system of class allowed everyone to know their station in life. Although not having lived in such a community, I wouldn’t know for sure, but it seems to me that this should make people at least more satisfied with their lives, even if they do rebel against the system.
In other words, if they have to be unhappy with something, at least they can focus on an external entity – the system in this case – in contrast to a free-for-all where it is only the person’s own fault if they achieve little or nothing.
Not that this doesn’t stop people blaming all external excuses in any case! Some of the most unhappy people I know are exactly in such a state because they blame their position on everything but the truth – which is themselves.
It is necessary to state that there is a difference between happiness and satisfaction. Both are interrelated, but they are definitely not the same. As a first thought, this post uses them interchangeably, but they should not be seen as such.