Friday, December 25, 2015

Wintry Discontent

I get terrorists.  

But why does someone who's not politically minded relentlessly bully schoolmates, shoot up a theater, drive a speeding car into a crowd, or hike the price of a life-saving drug 5,500 percent?

Pessimism. A First World problem, if ever there was one.

In The Conquest of Happiness, philosopher Bertrand Russell devotes a chapter to pessimism, a feeling he has little patience for.

Pessimism, he says, "is born of a too easy satisfaction of natural needs."

When too much falls into your lap, struggle, "an essential ingredient of happiness," ends; and, with it, desire.

"The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. 

"If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. 

"He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."
Powered by Blogger.