balance and harmony

memo: Digital well-beingの前に、さらにwell-beingの前提を考える上で考える。


World Happiness Report 2022 Insights from the First Global Survey of Balance and Harmony

Balance/harmony have been particularly associated with Eastern cultures, historically and currently. But does that mean they are overlooked or undervalued in the rest of the world? Possibly not.

Balance is commonly used to mean that the various elements which constitute a phenomenon, and/or the various forces acting upon it, are in proportionality and/or equilibrium, often with an implication of stability, evenness, and poise.

Harmony is sometimes used synonymously with balance, but there are subtle differences. On our reading of the literature, a common distinguishing theme seems to be this: harmony means that the various elements which constitute a phenomenon, and/or the various forces acting upon it, cohere and complement one another, leading to an overall configuration which is appraised positively.

  • harmonia _in latin_concord <->discord

However, balance is possibly more neutral and detached, while harmony is often “warmer” and even more positively valenced, with a more definite sense of flourishing.


If one described a work team, for instance, as “balanced,” while this could imply a good mix of people and skills, it would not necessarily mean the colleagues got on well or thrived as a unit. But these latter qualities may well be brought to mind if the team were deemed “harmonious.”

Our understanding of balance/harmony is deepened by considering a nexus of psychological phenomena which are closely related, namely low arousal positive states (e.g., peace, calmness).

“inner harmony,” which comprised themes of inner peace, contentment, and balance.

However, as with balance/harmony, these low arousal states have been relatively overlooked in the literature.

We approached the analysis guided by two interlinked hypotheses: (1) balance/harmony matter to all people; and (2) balance/harmony are dynamics at the heart of well-being. As we have seen, both hypotheses were corroborated to some extent.

Concepts like balance, harmony, peace and calm are ambiguous, with an inherent dual meaning: they are inner states of mind and outer states of circumstances.

First, balance/ harmony “matter” to all people, including being experienced by, preferred by, and seemingly impactful for people, in a relatively universal way. Second, and relatedly, balance and feeling at peace with life could be considered central to well-being, on a par with other key variables linked to high life evaluations, such as income, absence of health problems, and having someone to count on in times of need.


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