Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The happiness business ...

Frank Furedi wonders: Politicians, economists, teachers… why are they so desperate to make us happy? Great minds think alike. I saw this yesterday at Arts & Letters Daily wand was going to link to, but never got around to it. Then Dave Lull sent it along.
While I was reading it, I was reminded again of something I have long thought concerning dystopias - like Orwell's or Huxley's. They are always premised on the assumption that the control they are warning against will be imposed. Whereas it has proved quite easy to get people to willingly don chains of one sort or another. Orwell should have spent some time in the U.S. and observed how slick advertising would have run circles around humorless Big Brother.


  1. I agree with Frank Furedi's and your views of the happiness brigade. I also agree that advertising can be slick and cause people to buy things they wouldn't otherwise consider, but I'm not sure how advertisements cause people to "don chains." Laundry detergent, Thomas Cooke holidays, even promises of 0% mortgages ... enslaving? One's own desire to own a bigger lawnmower than one's neighbor and enduring some miserable corporate existence to achieve it? Maybe, but then one is enslaving oneself.

  2. That's sort of what I meant. You enslave yourself - don the chains - because you've been persuaded it's the thing to do.

  3. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Fair enough.

  4. Hello, that was me, again!