Our societies should be more interested in people’s happiness, not only because it would be economically beneficial, but simply because without happiness there is no real will to build social links.
The demand for economic performance makes us forget that living is not only about accumulating capital or finding a way to spend money better. By looking too much outside ourselves for the sources of our well-being, we end up exhausting ourselves and draining our sap, which is so vital.
It is in the hope of hitting the jackpot that we lose ourselves more and more each day. The mirage that we pursue diverts us from the true search, the one that would bring us immediate and lasting happiness.
The malaise is however well and truly necessary in our commercial world. If everyone was happy, there would be no need to buy products to make us forget our despair. When we buy, we offer ourselves a breath of air in an intoxicated world, a shot that brings us a euphoria for a moment because it will disappear as soon as we get home.
What can we do about it?
If there is no immediate change on the horizon as we have all become so attached to this game of consumption that this situation appears to be a lesser evil to a seemingly non-existent alternative. Is there really nothing we can do? If of course currents of thought are emerging, such as minimalism or degrowth, perhaps the solution lies elsewhere. Can we really stop desiring objects and services in an environment where everything pushes us to do so?
A simple answer is obviously yes, it is the start of any mass change, there is an active minority that gradually influences a more passive majority. Pleasure can also be learned when one delights in nothing or in having little. Claiming to be a minimalist is a strong identity marker that becomes in itself a way of life.
Living in a frugal or anti-consumerist way can be a first step towards the disappearance of malaise. If not consuming is not in itself a therapeutic practice, it allows to put the finger on the problem by avoiding the discomfort of depression or any other mental pain.
How did we get here?
We live to consume because our economic model is based on consumption. We are good soldiers of the system if we consume and even excessively.
Capitalism and cancer
What is cancer? It is the exacerbated and uncontrolled development of cancerous cells in a closed space (our organism) and which outnumber the so-called normal cells. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Capitalism is a system that aims to grow infinitely in a closed ecosystem that we commonly call the earth.
Just as a cancerous cell spreads to eradicate normal cells, capitalism spreads and devastates pre-existing, traditional cultures that were not based on the notion of profit.
Capitalism cannot grow without people
It is because it exploits the best in us, namely our values, our work ethic, our sense of duty, our concern for the community, our benevolence, our spirituality, etc. that capitalism believes. Capitalism has been able to flourish because it has been able to use millennia-old values from religious and family traditions. Why do you think bosses want you to think of the company as a family? Well, it’s simply so that you can project your sense of honor, sacrifice, self-sacrifice, all those beautiful things that you normally dedicate to your family. If you looked at the company as it is, that is to say a legal structure intended to generate profit, you would not give yourself so much.
Don’t be fooled, it’s not just the body that is bent under the weight of work, it’s also the spirit, the soul that can be annihilated in this machine.
The malaise comes from the role that one embodies
What reduces an individual is the escape from oneself when one tries desperately to become someone else. The economic world makes us believe that we are not good enough, that it is better to embody values of domination, of aggressiveness, because after all the economic machine hopes to turn us into beacons, guarantors of the system.
By aspiring to become someone else, we end up cultivating self-hatred. And when we embark on this journey, we go on a never-ending headlong rush. We collect artifacts, accessories, we cultivate the habitus of the class to which we aspire. All of these are pale consolations to the life we could have if we would just live the life we are meant to live and express our full potential.
You are already complete
Choose a profession if you can that allows you to not deny who you are. You are beautiful as you are, of course you can undertake to improve yourself to sublimate your person in the manner of the stonecutter who magnifies the brightness of a jewel. Go and look deep inside yourself, your beauty is like a source that you must draw from.