On sunday morning I pulled the Observer out of the letter box and into the hall and saw that they had given me a free book called “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D. Subtitled Can you learn to be happy? As I worked my way through my boiled eggs I idly looked at the index of this tome under Karl Marx (I always do this just to see if the great man is mentioned) and sure enough there is one entry, so I read it whilst dipping my soldiers and this is what it says:-
“I believe that the spread of happiness perception can bring about a society-wide revolution, no less significant than what Karl Marx had hoped to achieve. The Marxist revolution ultimately failed, though not before claiming millions of lives and making many more miserable. Because the means it used were immoral from the outset – taking away freedom from the individual – it was doomed to bring little more than destruction and unhappiness. The Happiness Revolution, when it comes about, will lead to radically different outcomes, through radically different means.
In contrast to Marx’s proposed revolution, which was going to be externally driven, the happiness revolution must come from within. Marx was a materialist, he believed that history was driven by material conditions and therefore that change had to come from the outside, through material means. The happiness revolution, which is about the change from material perception to happiness perception, is mental and therefore internal. No outside force is required to bring about this change. Conscious choice – the choice to focus on happiness is the ultimate currency – is the only change agent.”
So that’s all right then, as long as each individual is happy everything will be hunky-dory. I then started to think about the Blue and Yellow coalition and it’s well-being policy agenda . There is currently an ongoing social survey programme being carried out by the ONS following David Cameron’s conversion to whole idea of changing peoples perspectives of what makes them feel good about themselves and their lives summed up in the term “well-being“. This survey asks four very basic questions about perceptions of happiness and anxiety. What is the political reasoning behind this addiction to what people are calling “fluffiness”? In my view I think that the Tories want to be able to tell the world that despite the real deprivation and hardships that their programme of austerity is wreaking on society there are large numbers of people in all sections of society that still feel relatively happy and that anxiety levels are low amongst even the poorest in society. Ben Tal-Shahar sums his book up thus:-
“To realize, to make real, life’s potential for the ultimate currency we must first accept that “this is it” – that ALL there is to life is the day-to-day, the ordinary, the details of the mosaic. We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones, or learning something new, or engaging on a project at work. The more our days are filled with these experiences, the happier we become. THIS IS ALL THERE IS TO IT.”
This is all there is to it? What if you don’t have a job, what if you don’t have enough to eat? What if the educational system is failing your children? What if capitalism is collapsing? Cameron is a con-man of the highest order and this whole Big Society, all in it together, happy clappy agenda is just the biggest smokescreen attempted by the ruling class in a long time. I will write more on this later, meanwhile comments are welcome.