Hugh Mackay on HAPPINESS

Saturday, February 28, 2015 Of Minds And Mixtapes 0 Comments



The other day, I read this passage on Pinterest (where else?), and it is stuck in my mind.

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

—Hugh MacKay, 'The Good Life'
I love that. Honestly, what a relief.

Hugh Mackay is a well-known social researcher, writer and commentator in Australia. A newspaper columnist for over 25 years, he is now an Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Arts of Charles Sturt University and an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, the author of nine books in the field of social psychology and philosophy and five novels.

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