#1 Happiness Fascism

"Choose Happiness," commands the latest Coca Cola campaign, bawling from TV screens and billboards around the world. Happiness has long been an effective sales aid, promising euphoria for every new acquisition, every affirmative lifestyle choice. It is the ideal goal for capitalism; always eluding our grasp. In 2012, the UN General Assembly introduced the International Day of Happiness, to be celebrated each year on the 20th of March. A year earlier, the World Happiness Report was introduced, in which the happiness of a country's citizens is used as a development indicator.

Why is happiness currently enjoying such elevated status? Can't sadness be just as much of a trip; just as rewarding, just as necessary, just as profound? With such great social pressure to maintain a constant state of happiness, any deviation may result in feelings of shame, guilt or failure. Indeed, negative emotions have become increasingly pathologised and medicalised, often pitted against happiness as the desired norm. The implied message here is that happiness is the social reward for good subjects; happiness is a moral end in itself. If happiness is a choice, then is it also the precondition of the happy?

#1 Happiness Fascism

Previous issues