Happiness is Over-Rated: I

Mind Shadows Happiness is Over-Rated: I

Happiness isn’t what it used to be. Thoughts about it started with the Greeks and the thinking has changed over the years until today, with Prozac, it has become something Aristotle wouldn't recognize.

Today, there is a large body of research dealing with the psychology of happiness. Martin Seligman teaches that, in part, “Authentic Happiness” involves knowing your “highest strengths,” then using them “in the service of something you believe is larger than you.” Mihály Csíkszentmihályi speaks of flow and says it presupposes developing clear goals, concentration, and absorption so focused that one lapses out of self-consciousness. Sort of a how-time-flies-when-you’re-having-fun.

Soon, perhaps, with the help of psychopharmaceuticals, melancholics will become unknown. That would be an unparalleled tragedy, equivalent in scope to the annihilation of the sperm whale or the golden eagle. Eric G. Wilson has written a book in which he argues that the demise of melancholia would be an unhappy occurrence.

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