Perpetual euphoria: On the duty to be happy by Pascal Bruckner

Check out this article in the Guardian about French philosopher Pascal Bruckner’s book, finally issued in English:


“…..while the “me generation” may have talked of “us and them”, its underlying subject was the self. And as such, the happy hippie proved to be a myth. “After the 60s, there is no more distance between one’s happiness and oneself,” explains Bruckner. “One becomes one’s own main obstacle. To overcome this obstacle a huge market opened: medicine to modify your mood, surgery to modify your body, and it also includes the spread of therapy and new or reformed religions. So Jesus is no longer this transcendent God, but a life coach who helps you overcome addiction and so on.”

Bruckner suggests that with nothing standing between ourselves and happiness, other than our willingness to grasp it, there is a moral compulsion weighing on us to be happy – and it’s precisely this social pressure that makes so many people unhappy. “We should wonder why depression has become a disease. It is a disease of a society that is looking desperately for happiness, which we cannot catch. And so people collapse into themselves.”


One thought on “Perpetual euphoria: On the duty to be happy by Pascal Bruckner

  1. ronnie says:

    such an interesting question…..that we might be entitled to happiness as human beings. that is an american belief. a belief that we are entitled to happiness. tell that to someone from africa, iraq, afghanistan…..wherever freedoms are deprived. i lived in france for several years and the thought that a person was “entitled” to happiness was not remotely understood. their response was that happiness is one feeling or emotion we get to experience but it is only one, and not experienced all the time. it comes and it goes like sadness, depression, joy, fun, and then it goes away only to return again.

    think about it…..if we were happy all the time, how would we know we were? we would have nothing to compare it against. i feel happy today, because i felt overwhelmed yesterday and the contrast is great.

    i think in the past i was searching for happiness…..a happy state….but life has not been that way for me. because of all i have been through in life, all the stress and complications, i know when i feel happy….and my god do i appreciate when i do.

    just a thought.


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