“Deem no man happy, until he passes the end of his life without suffering grief” attributed to Herodotus. “I feel life is divided between the horrible and the miserable.” Woody Allen. Search “happiness” on Amazon: almost 70,000 titles come up. At a lecture entitled, The Genealogy of Happiness, sponsored by Marlboro College, William Edelglass, Professor of Philosophy, traced the history of happiness: a gift from the Gods in Greek times to an individualistic take on the elusive state in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to the current commodification of happiness. Edelglass asked a lot of questions.
1. Does Facebook make you feel unhappy? Other people are curating their own lives, how do you compare?
2. Does sleep or lack thereof correlate to happiness?
3. Is gratitude necessary for happiness?
4. When people live close to nature and close to other people, they tend to feel happy?
5. Are we responsible for our own happiness or are genetics?
Artist, Killy Kilford believes that street signs can fix Newark’s crime problem. Michael Bloomberg, didn’t believe that “Less Drugs, More Hugs” would improve the felony rate in New York City. The new Mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka has decided to give Kilfords’ signs a chance. “Love Up, Guns Down is the name of new campaign. Can happiness be increased by government initiatives?
The contemporary view of happiness is that “I choose to be happy, because I can.” We ought to be happy: exercise, food, friends, sex, and optimism are key. In addition… just stop whining. I can get behind that last sentiment, big time.