Monday, November 28, 2016

Happiness Debunked

"It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains-that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant."

I randomly came across this proposal in my reading and was immediately overjoyed.

It potentially exposes happiness as a sham, an unattainable ideal that results in great suffering when vigorously pursued.

Upon digging a little deeper I discovered that it was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 1992.

Upon further investigation I discovered that it was a satirical proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder, submitted by Richard P. Bentall of the Liverpool University, meant to underscore the difficulties in defining what a psychiatric disease is.

I was disappointed.

Still, it wouldn't be a bad paragraph to commit to memory. You can use it as a weapon.

When you are in the company of someone who is only pretending to be happy, who leans heavily on those vapid quotes people use to fool themselves into believing they are happy, all evidence to the contrary, you can say "Wait a minute? Did you know the Journal of Medical Ethics says happiness is a psychiatric disorder?"

By way of clarification - I am not against happiness. I dig happy people..................if they are genuinely happy. Happy people exude happiness naturally; they don't need to beat you over the head with it.

It's the desperate people who say things like "A smile is happiness you find right under your nose." Makes you want to vomit, right?

You now have some words you can use to fight back.

Could be especially useful at this time of year.

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