The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy

By Michael Foley

In a wry tackle how modern tradition is antithetical to happiness, Michael Foley paints a philosophical yet highly unique portrait of the cultural landscape—and comes up smiling

The excellent news is that the good thinkers from heritage have proposed an identical techniques for happiness and fulfillment—the undesirable information is that those become the very issues so much discouraged via modern tradition. This knotty limitation is the topic of Michael Foley's wry and obtainable research into how the fascinating states of health and wellbeing and delight are continually undermined through glossy life. He examines the elusive situation of happiness universal to philosophy, religious teachings, and modern psychology, then indicates how those have gotten more and more tricky to use in a global of excessive expectancies. the typical demanding situations of incomes a residing, retaining a courting, and getting older have gotten battlegrounds of existential angst and self-loathing in a tradition that calls for conspicuous intake, high-octane partnerships, and perpetual formative years. eventually, instead of denouncing and rejecting the age, Foley provides an exciting technique of not only accepting yet embracing today's world—finding happiness in its absurdity.

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Why isn’t there a pretty priced condominium within the atmospheric previous city, a couple of minutes’ stroll from the ocean on one part and from significant delivery hyperlinks at the different, with a barbecue-equipped roof terrace and perspectives over the energetic, bustling, vibrant industry? might an individual even reflect on much less? And now I seize a glimpse of my face within the reflect – a raging gargoyle corroded by way of acid rain. How can this have occurred to a Nineteen Sixties flower baby? in particular person who has but to get pleasure from totally the sexual style promised to the flower little ones? let alone all of the new stuff. Can a person these days be stated to have lived existence to the total with no experiencing crew intercourse, bondage and a pre-op transsexual? this can be loopy, in fact. yet who, within the Western international, has now not been deranged by means of a poisonous cocktail of dissatisfaction, restlessness, wish and resentment? Who has no longer yearned to be more youthful, richer, extra gifted, extra revered, extra celebrated and, notably, extra sexually appealing? Who has now not felt entitled to extra, and aggrieved whilst extra was once now not coming near near? it's attainable ravenous African farmer has much less experience of injustice than a middle-aged Western male who hasn't ever been fellated. after all many additionally turn into acutely aware that tough every thing is absurd. Then the questions come up. How did such inordinate expectation happen? what's the replacement? If there's another how can it's accomplished? Do the easiest minds of earlier and current supply any worthy recommendation? Is there a consensus in what they are saying? if this is the case, what's it and the way does it observe to residing within the twenty-first century? those are the questions addressed by way of this ebook – yet there are not any uncomplicated solutions. Even defining the aim is tough. the choice to discontented craziness is contented sanity – happiness. yet this be aware offers all types of difficulties. Many, together with myself, can rarely undergo to utter a observe so infected by way of the excesses of happy-clappiness and self-help. It instantly brings to brain beatific grins, tambourines, orange gowns and T-shirts announcing, ‘Today is the 1st day of the remainder of your existence’ (the poet Derek Mahon made this a couplet with the road, ‘Tell that on your liver; inform that on your ex-wife’1). we're too figuring out, too subtle, too ironical, too wised up, too post-everything for a corny previous time period like happiness. The note ‘happiness’ could draw an both derisive chortle from a thinker, a novelist, a poet and a cab motive force, although all of those could doubtless secretly wish the adventure. Many may well declare that existence stinks – yet not anyone desires to believe like shit. substitute phrases are even much less passable. the tutorial group has proposed ‘Subjective Well-Being’, which reduces to a magnificent acronym, SWB, yet is dead jargon. extra lately populists have recommended ‘Wellness’, which appears like an vague English coastal city (stony seashore, yet fascinating regardless of that). it's going to must be embarrassing outdated ‘happiness’. And, not just is the observe suffering to exploit, it truly is most unlikely to outline. The Oxford English Dictionary shockingly deals a misapprehension corrected over thousand years in the past by way of Socrates: ‘good fortune or success; good fortune; prosperity’.

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