I quite like the idea of assessing happiness rather than dollar output in an economy: but I think that the point here is potentially well made all the same. Bruckner is cutting about the cult of wellness as expressed in gym membership, for example. The views and opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the original authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of BMJ and should not be used to replace medical advice.
John Gray - At the Whim of the Gods | Literary Review | Issue
Please see our full website terms and conditions. Skip to content. Post navigation Previous post. Of course he is right about the sickening omnipresence of money worship these past 30 years, and the revolting irresponsibility of those who have lots of the stuff.
But his book called for the sweets of the novelist that Bruckner also is; for close instantiation from particular lives of the sins and stupidity he names. He surely needed to go back to ancient Greece and sort out what has been made of their grander and more boisterous, penetrative idea of eudaimonia or "human flourishing".
He might have learned much from taking to heart Charles Dickens' marvellous definition of those things that lucky dispositions retain from the pure happiness of childhood, "freshness, gentleness, and a capacity of being pleased", and weighed these lovely qualities against the mendacities of the advertisers and the daily delusions he chronicles with such contempt. Above all, he needed to heed Henry James' creaking call to the novelist's colours, "Dramatise, dramatise", and to take from another novelist, John Berger, a lovely little reminiscence about gazing, in a vacant mood, at a delicious piece of landscape, and its gentle accommodation.
Princeton University Press.
Perpetual Euphoria: On the Duty to Be Happy
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