They are not the same. Happiness has various levels. I am happy now, but I would be more happy if I get that job. My mom would be happier if the house is cleaner. My wife would be happier if she could buy that fancy handbag, and so on. There is no end in sight. The more material, emotional & psychological goods we possess, the happier we seem to be become, till the next attraction arrives.
Whereas, peace is just that…just peace. No varying levels of peace. We don’t become more peaceful after we acquire that shiny new gadget, or go to that exotic travel destination, or get a new loving spouse. We are just more happier, not more at peace.
Peace is an equilibrium state. We are at peace, and that’s that.
So naturally we should strive for peace. Because there is no end to the level or degree of happiness we can acquire. Happiness is a moving target. We just move from one level of happiness to the next, with no end in sight. And this is contradictory. We struggle to move from one level of happiness to the next precisely because we are unhappy at that lower level. And as life is a continuous struggle to move up the happiness ladder, we are constantly unhappy.
So peace is a better goal. How do we achieve the state of being at peace? Just by going down the happiness ladder. By needing & acquiring less (and less) material, emotional & psychological goods. The less we need, desire & possess, the closer we are to the equilibrium state of peace.
How can we need, desire and possess less? That’s tricky and needs practice.
It’s tricky because the modern world is creating more & more diversions everyday. More material goods to desire & possess. Richer flavors of emotional & psychological needs, partly induced by these rich variety of material goods.
Should we then stop producing all these material goods? But materialism, or the desire to possess more & more goods, is the very basis for capitalism. If we don’t desire & buy goods, capitalism may fail. How do we then develop & progress further, without capitalism?
So capitalism promotes materialism, which in turn keeps us in a constant state of unhappiness. By abandoning capitalism, perhaps we can achieve peace. But how will mankind progress?
Perhaps the state of being at peace will teach us a different kind of progress.