Why can’t we be perfectly happy?

Please welcome a perfect book and its author’s perfect interview. The book is called “The Happiness Fantasy” written by a Swedish researcher Carl Cederström. I’m not going to write the whole but I would like to share some highlights. He has a wonderful point of view regarding happiness.

The book argues that the values of the countercultural movement — liberation, freedom, and authenticity — were co-opted by corporations and advertisers, who used them to perpetuate a culture of consumption and production. And that hyper-individualistic culture actually makes us much less happy than we could be. According to the author, happiness is not about self- actualization, it ought to be seen as a collective project.

Happiness is now seen as a unique individualist pursuit — it’s all about inner freedom and inner development. And this happened because of the corporations and advertising. Capitalism also helped by presenting human life as an individual pursuit, but that’s a lie. Human life is far more complicated than that, and we’re all dependent on other people in ways we rarely appreciate.

He summarizes “The Happiness Fantasy” as instead of obsessing over the self-actualized perfected person, maybe we should care more about equality, community, vulnerability, and empathy. Maybe we should get out of our heads and be more present in the world around us. 

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