The Death of Happiness

By | Emotions | No Comments

Happiness, and the search for personal meaning, seems to be ever present in the collective mind of contemporary society. In this series of posts, I will explore the search for happiness by the contemporary individual.  In our contemporary globalized society, we have become accustomed to nearly limitless freedom; freedom to travel, to pursue any life path, to marry or not marry, or any other option ad infinitum. Although this seems like it would produce a world of savvy and satisfied individuals, it seems that the exact opposite is true. But how is this phenomenon possible? Living in an Other Directed Society During the latter half of the 20th Century, sociologists began to follow a new model of human personality types that were identified as: tradition-directed, inner-directed or other-directed. Those were directed by tradition adhered strongly to the norms set forth by their family and personal atmosphere. The inner-directed individuals were motivated to achieve the goals that demarcated social success, which in our society has meant material wealth. Finally, the other-directed individuals were motivated by interacting with others and calibrating their desires to fit what other people valued. Now, no individual can be simply categorized by any of these categories, each of these appear in different degrees in different people. However, as we have rejected the rigidity of society that was seen in the 40’s and 50’s, we have slowly moved toward other-direction. With the advent of social media, merely having material wealth is no longer a show of success or happiness. With constant connections forming, we continually see the lives of others through our own personal looking glass. We compare our own lives to the travels, experiences and successes of others. Unfortunately, our successes usually don’t seem to stack up to those of others. This feeling is only exacerbated by…

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