These days Happiness clubs are springing up all over the place and if you object then you are just another Mr Scrooge. Ruining the planets chance to march towards enlightenment on a big bubble of smiles. I wonder if it is just a coincidence or is the rise in Happiness club in line with the rise in violence and disorder that we are seeing in the world. It’s as if we are all running on some collective existential angst that could fall apart at any time. And it does feel as if things are coming apart at the seams. I am not a doomsayer or a misery guts and I even popped to the gym today which made me feel much happier. It’s just that when Happiness becomes the sole focus of attention as if it should be attained like any other product or promotion that I start to worry. I don’t feel that that kind of happiness is a happiness at all. It’s more like the fake smile that you receive from a waitress in an American restaurant. It has to be there. It doesn’t want to be but it screams. ‘I’m on a low wage and if I don’t get enough money I can’t pay my rent.’ I’d rather we’d have some proportional wage redistribution system that ensured the poor were no longer poor and the big grin became a contented half-smile, or a resigned nod to each other that said. ‘It’s a shit day today but it’s not that bad.’
It may be hugely coincidental that the home of ‘the pursuit of happiness’ is also the home of school children shooting each other dead. To be happy at all costs. A kind of misaligned journey towards enlightenment that says. ‘I’ll get their first and when I do I’ll come back and help you.’ But when you turn around your friends are all dead. Maybe this pursuit for happiness could be a pursuit of contentment or an appreciation for where we are at. The purchasing of material goods, over and above of when you need is not about happiness. It’s about distraction. A distraction from an uneasy discontentment that needs recognizing. Maybe underneath that is greed. And underneath that is fear. The fear of death. The fear of losing it all. The fear of embarrassment or failure. Maybe that fear is so great that a young child who feels he or she is losing it all in the face of their friends and family and the American Dream. They would rather buy a gun and film themselves killing their friends. Because to them it feels like their winning.