Wednesday, June 21, 2006

happiness is a warm puppy part deux

just read this quote from the guardian book extracts online:

"Any society's well-being can be measured according to the gap between the aspirations of its members and their attainability. Such invidious comparisons dominate the contemporary understanding of what it is to be happy. The economist Richard Layard explores in his book Happiness what he calls "the first world paradox" of a society that delivers greater wealth than ever but is little happier. Freud believed that the two central components for a happy life were love and work. A few years ago, the psychiatrist Anthony Clare offered an interviewer a more detailed prescription for happiness: "One, cultivate a passion ... Next, be a leaf on a tree. You have to be both an individual - you have to have a sense that you are you and that you matter - and at the same time you have to be connected to a bigger organism, a family, a community ... My third rule, avoid introspection. Next, don't resist change ... And finally, live in the moment; live now.""

here is the whole piece extracted from "the story of childhood" by libby brooks

leaf on a tree, eh? a bit pantheistic, but i like it. certainly i have a sense that a lot of the distress i see in my work comes from the tension between individual and group needs. maybe i can go a bit further and say that i notice a tendency to focus on the individual with little, if any, consideration of the effect this may have on the group. o dear - getting a bit wordy again. it's back to what i was saying the other day about context. i believe i need to understand that i am part of the tree as well as a leaf on my own. the well-being of the tree is vital to my own, as is mine to the tree. hmmmmm

as for what dr. clare says about avoiding introspection ... just not even going there!

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