Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

Here's a short piece that's very much worth your time: "Condemned to Joy" by Pascal Bruckner.  He's a French writer I've mentioned before.  Anyway, here he takes on the mindless pursuit of happiness in the West.
The Western cult of happiness is indeed a strange adventure, something like a collective intoxication. In the guise of emancipation, it transforms a high ideal into its opposite. Condemned to joy, we must be happy or lose all standing in society. It is not a question of knowing whether we are more or less happy than our ancestors; our conception of the thing itself has changed, and we are probably the first society in history to make people unhappy for not being happy.
Liberty, that is, barren Liberty is a lonely stage upon which a one-man magic act is performed nightly before an empty house.  The magician's impossible task and sure fate is not simply to free himself from a set of encumbering chains, but, in the process, always to supplant one set for another.

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"


  1. Wonderful post on a fantastic article! I couldn't help but reflect on Christ's words in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

  2. Thank you Good Daughter. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:9)