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Guest Post: The Pursuit Of Happiness And The Sociopathology Of Prosperity

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Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Pursuit of Happiness and the Sociopathology of Prosperity

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been distilled into a sociopathology of consumption and unrealistic expectations of "prosperity" that do not lead to happiness or well-being.

What's the point of prosperity?

Though few people ever voice this question openly, the general assumption is that prosperity and wealth increase happiness.  The pursuit of happiness (famously grouped with “life” and “liberty” in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right) has become the pursuit of prosperity and wealth.

That physical comfort and security grease the skids of happiness is self-evident; living a hand-to-mouth existence inside a cardboard box is not as conducive to human happiness as having a comfortable home and secure income.

But it is equally self-evident that a secure dwelling and income do not guarantee happiness; rather, they provide the physical foundation for the much more elusive qualities of happiness.  We can make the same distinction between the civil liberties that underpin the pursuit of happiness and the actual pursuit of happiness.  The first is a political system devoted to safeguarding liberty; the second is a messy, dynamic process that continues through all of life.

If the basic political and material foundations for the pursuit of happiness are in place, we might anticipate a broadly happy society.  If prosperity and wealth are causally linked to greater happiness, we might expect to find that prosperous people are generally happy.

America has great material wealth, but is happiness as abundant as wealth? And if not, why not?

Numerous psychologists have made a career of studying happiness, and as with all social sciences, the field is wide open for cherry-picking data to support a prepackaged view.  But data from studies of happiness is suspect for the usual reasons.  People tend to report what they sense is expected of them; they tend to make themselves appear more successful (i.e., “happier”) than they really are, and the results can be skewed by the questions and procedures of the study.

The vast majority of such studies of happiness are conducted within a specific cultural mindset.  Happiness is an individual issue.  Fundamentally, “it’s all in your head” and “the system enables happiness, so unhappiness is your fault alone.”

The “fix” for unhappiness in this paradigm is a carefully apolitical network of pressure relief valves – counseling, therapy, motivational speakers, and so on – all focused on “fixing” the flaws within individuals that are assumed to be the exclusive cause of their unhappiness.

As a result of my work writing Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change, I now question the assumption that our happiness is disconnected from the society and economy that we live in. What if unhappiness is not only just an individual failure, but also the consequence of a deeply distorted society? If this is the case, prosperity in the sense of material wealth cannot possibly yield anything but the fleeting pleasure of consumption.

A Radical Critique of Happiness

Though we think of happiness as a private pursuit, in aggregate the pursuit of happiness becomes what we might call a “public happiness.” As author Garry Wills observed, public happiness is the test and justification of any government. If individual happiness is made difficult by the State, then that State must be judged a failure.

Public happiness is not just the aggregation of individual happiness; it is a reflection of the social and political orders' success in enabling the common good, one expression of which is the potential for individual fulfillment.

In our carefully cultivated cultural atmosphere of individuality, it feels like heresy to question the assumption that individual fulfillment is apolitical.  This Status Quo breaks the causal connection between private alienation and the political order so that the atomized individual doesn’t connect his own unhappiness with the sociopathologies of the consumerist-State social order.

The isolated “consumer” doesn’t look at the social order as a potential contributor to his unhappiness, but instead looks to religion, psychotherapy, or medications as private solutions to the sociopathology he inhabits.

The spiritual and psychological traditions of religion and psychotherapy serve as coping mechanisms for individuals as they navigate the many challenges of human existence.  Intended to provide insight and solace for the voyage through life, these traditions were not designed to analyze pathological social orders. They are apolitical because they address problems from the point of view of faith and inner understanding.

That we have no field exclusively devoted to understanding systemic sociopathologies is not surprising once we understand the politics of self-interest.  How many mortals would place their own prosperity at risk by undermining the intellectual foundations of the Status Quo to which they belong?  History suggests that few individuals have the courage to risk status and wealth by undermining the social order that bestows their perquisites.

Social orders that excel in creating and distributing what I term social defeat will necessarily be populated with unhappy, depressed, anxious, and frustrated people, regardless of the material prosperity they possess.

In my lexicon, 'social defeat' is a spectrum of anxiety, insecurity, chronic stress, powerlessness, and fear of declining social status.

One aspect of social defeat is the emptiness we experience when prosperity does not deliver the promised sense of fulfillment.  Here is one example:  A recent sociological study compared wealthy Hong Kong residents’ sense of contentment with those of the immigrant maids who serve the moneyed Elites. The study found that the maids were much happier than their wealthy masters, who were not infrequently suicidal and depressed.  The maids, on the other hand, had a trustworthy group – other maids they met with on their one day off – and the coherent purpose provided by their support of their families back home.

The “American Dream” (as well as the “Chinese Dream”) presumes the opposite would be true, and this explains why reaching material abundance is not the promised fount of fulfillment: It fails to recognize the other necessary conditions of human happiness. It is a monoculture of the spirit, as brittle and prone to collapse as any other monoculture.

Sociopathology and Stress

The physiology of stress illuminates many of the dynamics that we see manifesting in the poor mental and physical health of the American populace and in their passivity in the political and financial realms.

There is a growing body of evidence that unremitting stress has a number of subtle and destructive consequences to both mental and physical health. In addition to the common-sense connection between chronic stress and hypertension, evidence is mounting that obesity and other so-called “lifestyle” diseases are causally linked to stress-related conditions such as inadequate sleep and chronic inflammation.

Western medicine traditionally divides physical and mental health, but it is self-evident (as Eastern traditions have long held) that the mind and body are one.  The physical consequences of mental stress make this abundantly clear, as the powerful hormones that we experience as “mental stress” erode the immune system's responsiveness.

Behaviorally, stress fuels addictive disorders by breaking down the self-control that inhibits destructive bingeing, impulse buying, unsafe sex, and drug/alcohol abuse.

The consequences of chronic stress are multiplied by our reliance (or perhaps more accurately, our addiction) to digital media and communication.  Clinically, these manifestations have recently been termed Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), a broader, more inclusive term than the more familiar Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

ADT manifests as distractibility, inner frenzy, impatience, and difficulty in setting priorities, time management, and making informed decisions.  As these loop into positive feedback, previously competent people become harried underachievers who berate themselves for their inexplicable loss of competence.

ADT, unlike post-traumatic stress disorders triggered by a single event, arises not from a single crisis but from a chain of events that in less stressful times would be considered “a bad week” but in chronic stress are experienced as an unending series of emergencies.  The response – to try harder to keep up and successfully manage the crises – only increases the stress load and sense of failure as the ability to rationally analyze and pursue plans degrades with each perceived emergency.   Making matters worse, the conventional American “solution” to being overwhelmed is to avoid expressing these difficulties lest this be interpreted as complaining or an equivalent personal failure.

This is the consequence of pathological chronic stress being normalized.  An accurate description of the condition is dismissed as whining, and the truth-teller is instructed to keep his head down and his nose to the grindstone.

With the rational mind and self-control centers suppressed, we are prone to zombie-like passivity – in effect, “sleepwalking” though life. This dynamic may help explain Americans’ remarkable political passivity as their civil liberties are curtailed and their financial insecurity increases.

The stresses created by these pathologies are not abstract; rather, they lead to the self-destructive behaviors that are now ubiquitous in America: impulsiveness, addiction, abuse of drugs and alcohol (which are often attempts to self-medicate social defeat), obesity, impoverished sense of self, low level of fitness and vitality, inability to concentrate or complete coherently organized tasks, high levels of distraction and passivity, and a loss of resilience and self-reliance.

This is not to say that all disorders arise solely from pathological social orders.  A percentage of the human population is genetically vulnerable to mental disorders, and life itself is filled with challenges and unwelcome surprises that create stress.  Since it is self-evident that the financial and political order we inhabit influences our mental and physical well-being, what are the long-term consequences to individuals living in a sociopathological system of financial neofeudalism, an autocratic, expansive Central State that enforces extremes of wealth and power and an unparalleled corporate marketing/media propaganda machine?

Anyone who claims these pathologies have negligible effect on individuals’ well-being is either in denial or is a well-paid shill for the Status Quo.

The net effect of chronic stress results in the ability to implement coherently organized positive plans – the foundation of fulfillment – being severely impaired.  This explains why happiness is so difficult to understand and why it is even more difficult to sustainably pursue in a pathological system that disrupts our capacity for rational analysis, self-control, and coherent action.

Consumerism, Happiness, and Power

The notion that increased consumption leads to increased happiness is self-evidently false, yet consumption remains the focus of our economy and society.  The appeal of consumption is understandable once we grasp that it is the only empowering act in a neofeudal society where we are essentially powerless.

In the mindset of the consumerist economy, purchasing something feels empowering because the act of consuming is experienced as renewing our sense of identity and social status. But since that identity is inauthentic, the sense of euphoric renewal is short-lived and soon defaults to the base state of insecurity.

Since the consumer is only empowered by buying and displaying status signifiers, the balance of their lives is experienced as powerless – that is, a chronic state of social defeat.

In the act of consuming, the only feature that continues on after the initial euphoria fades is the debt taken on to make the purchase.

 


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Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:27 | Link to Comment realtick
realtick's picture

Obama Re-Election Odds Update - The Trend Is Down http://chartistfriendfrompittsburgh.blogspot.com/2012/10/obama-re-electi...

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:35 | Link to Comment Sock Puppet
Sock Puppet's picture

Did you see his retirement home in Hawaii?  It is beautiful.

OT.  I have a couple of seasoned Zero Hedge avatars for sale to the highest bidders.  You know more Sock Puppets.  It will be a good investment for any one looking to spin bad news.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:36 | Link to Comment Element
Element's picture

netynahwho will be chuffed

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:30 | Link to Comment bigdumbnugly
bigdumbnugly's picture

Since the consumer is only empowered by buying and displaying status signifiers, the balance of their lives is experienced as powerless – that is, a chronic state of social defeat.

so it's not my loud farting in public places then?

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:38 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

CHS is spot on with this one. And, as he notes, most of that consumption is fueled by debt. Thus, they get the "stuff" (and the accompanying fleeting ego stroke) only to realize that they have only further submitted themselves to slavery. Freedom might not be the end all be all, but its hard to be "happy" (whatever that means) if you're a slave.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:59 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Of course.

 

The "consumer" is not actually a person or human being.

When you hear marketers or government types say this word, they are referring to "slaves" (or worse).

Think I'm joking? It's a sick construct.
Never use that word if you are speaking of an actual human being.

 

It's now being used in mental health situations and elsewhere:

Origin of term 'consumer' to refer to developmentally disabled people? - words definitions healthcare | Ask MetaFilter - http://bit.ly/RiOSuS

Straight up Orwell 1984 language manipulation. Going on daily.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:03 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

Good points. Thanks for the link. We are beyond 1984.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:30 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Yeah, pretty much.

And it's not gonna get better if we don't rewire some brains. People need to reject this crap.
Especially when "taught" in school.

Consumerism = 1. Advertisement - 2. Planned Obsolescence - 3. Credit :
These 3 stages of modern business are worth noting regarding the promulgation of today’s world wide consumer system which is presently stripping the natural wealth of the planet for all inhabitants, including man.

Stage 1 (Advertisement), and 3 (Credit) are well known and often discussed in the mainstream arena.
Stage 2 of the consumer process is much less talked about.

Stage 2 - Planned Obsolescence..
Obsolescence is the state of being which an object, service or practice is no longer wanted, even though it may still be in good working order.. (bar say one ’irreparable’ defect.. in this case of the planned variety.
(Plus, often compulsory for those entering into an established market.. i.e. permitted to remain in the fold.)

 

Phoebus cartel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://bit.ly/RiU9Th

"The Phoebus cartel was a cartel of, among others, Osram, Philips and General Electricfrom December 23, 1924 until 1939 that existed to control the manufacture and sale of light bulbs.

The cartel is an important step in the history of global economy because of their alleged involvement in the creation of great-scale planned obsolescence. The cartel reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs."

They fined companies for making bulbs that lasted beyond the 1000 hour mark.

Great documentary:

The Light Bulb Conspiracy | Watch Free Documentary Online - http://bit.ly/RiUO7m

Much good info in this one. And not just about the lightbulb.
They constantly refer to "consumers" throughout the film...so many times. Like they are trying to reinforce the word.
Even refer to the guy selected to be in the iPod court case as a "consumer" and not a person or human.
Watch for that part. Not surprising, as the legal system does this on purpose.

Basically, there is BIG MONEY in limiting technological advances. This is the mindset and course that has been set in our societies.

It all comes down to control eventually.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:52 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

OK light bulb guys can get away with this, but that could never happen with energy.  Just too many regulators and academics on "Energy's" case.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:08 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Heh. Yup, everything's gamed.

When people "manipulate" anything to gain personal advantage, we all lose.

The light bulb was just one of the first products chosen
Almost *all* the things you buy in human society today are "manipulated".

Massive problem. Bad practices.

Controlling energy sources and creating inferior items *always* leads to war and destruction.
No exceptions. This is the *current* state of affairs.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:20 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

KK, looks like we share a wavelength.

Check this out, if you think words do matter:

via etymonline.com

consumer 
early 15c., "one who squanders or wastes," agent noun from consume. In economic sense, "one who uses up goods or articles" (opposite ofproducer) from 1745. Consumer goods is attested from 1890. In U.S., consumer price index calculated since 1919, tracking "changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services" [Bureau of Labor Statistics]; abbreviation CPI is attested by 1971.
ori

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:28 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Absolutely!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:08 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

KK Tipton is spot on. Great stuff. My take:

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/the-deep-perversion-of-language/

Language is pretty much EVERY-THiING. because first there was the WORD... ;-)

ori

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:46 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Get this.

 

Off topic but...."illuminating".

galacticwacko's channel - YouTube - http://bit.ly/QUhkTw

Watch his "Wackotica" series 1-9. He drops some interesting concepts (and acts nutty, but who cares).
He says consonants are "hard and controlling". Vowels are more open.

What language was the first part of "the bible" written in? A language with no vowels.
It came from Egyptian and Phoenician roots.

This guy found the mathematical stuff in there:
Meru Foundation Research: Hebrew Alphabet, Genesis, Geometric Metaphor, and Kabbalah - http://bit.ly/QUhEl0

He finds the sacred geometry and even has a pyramid in his logo. Only admits a tiny, tiny, bit about the Egypt link.
But it's very blatant. Egyptians had the geometry thing (and much more) down pat.

As an aside, their hieroglyphics were basically individual sigils I think.
How do you make a sigil? Write down a phrase...and remove the vowels:

Grant Morrison - Sigil - YouTube - http://youtu.be/ibpudvSTU4o

Language and the WORD "have magic in them". And can actually manipulate our reality.

 

PS - The Egyptians didn't use "magic" to build the pyramids though.
That was plain flat out mastery of chemistry:

Geopolymer Institute » Pyramids (3) The formula, the invention of stone - http://bit.ly/SOxJp6

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:06 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Awesome links KK. Many thanks.

Have you watched/heard and Manly P Hall on the tube?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=bts6demgbog

Language.... what a fall to the present.

isn't it? So, see, vowels are disappearing again! Text/chat speak has made many present young folk vowel/spell-ing (wink wink) illiterate.

ori

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:30 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Yes.

 

Debase the language and kill the culture.
Things you do to your enemies right?

 

Another of wacko's vids:
Order of the Golden Pedophiles - YouTube - http://youtu.be/PVp2GtZ30TA

Title is shock value of course. And that's a good thing.
Listen 10:50 to the end especially. Great points.
Ultimate basement wisdom.

"Your word is not enough? How sad is that?"

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:40 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

De-base = Remove the foundation.

Collapse is guranteed.

ori

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 16:43 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Indeed.

 

That was no accident ;)

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 18:55 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

ooh, fun little tangential space, thanks for sharing the corners. . .

words fix concepts in time, express thoughts in order to share verbally (not necessarily necessary, but, yeah), but also in the NAMING of THINGS comes a form of OWNership, as if the named thing is dis-covered, when in fact all things already exist without name-ing.  no thing is dis-covered, it merely get inCORPORATED into the common mind-set, expanding later into dialogues, etc.

are things yet to be named non-existant?  who benefits when the non-existance is revealed with a fixed wording?

in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all Things Were Made.

or named.  once the Word started to get distributed past the gatekeepers (Gutenberg), All Things Were Made (conceptually). . .

shout out to Glasgow early 80's DIYkulture, and co-incidence.

 

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 02:13 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Word.... :-)

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:15 | Link to Comment ThirdWorldDude
ThirdWorldDude's picture

Bullshit!  It's never been about the "regulators & academics", which, by the way, are on big corps. payroll, and thus, have a roll to suppress any new technology and protect their paymaster's business intrests.

Aldo Costa's Gravity motor;

- Hydrosonic pump to cold fusion;

- Perendev & Bedini magnetic motors.

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 10:24 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Take it easy 3rdWorldDude.  We agree completely.  I was just being sardonic.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:13 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

A good BBC documentary on the 20th century's rise of the consumer market driven policies and cultural changes gave some compeling information about how all this stuff started with Freuds nephew, Edward Beernays, who invented 'public relations consultant' as a proffession because 'propagandist' seemed too sinister. He developed a thing called 'engineered consent' and honed it over decades.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

We now see the effect in the sheeple that mindlessly consume to their own personal destruction and insist on being able to continue to do so.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 20:50 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

thanks for that link KK Tipton, interesting exchange going on there. . .

I like that you point to language manipulation, as that's a huge part of the shifting sands we all call reality nowadays, the use of words that have been redefined by the "agency" that uses them.  I had a conversation recently with someone who was jumping through the hoops of "unemployment services" - he was pointing out how the voice recordings one is forced to listen to repeatedly when put in the inevitable call queues refer to the listener as a "valued customer" even to the extent of adding "your call is important to us" - the corporate governance culture no longer hides, but is right out in the open!

things are being altered daily, down the memory hole it goes, paying attention can be a full time ehrr, occupation, ha.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 20:50 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

*waves*

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Mrs Scar thinks I'm upstairs whacking off. Little does she know I'm reading Zero Hedge.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:33 | Link to Comment edifice
edifice's picture

I think the thing to do is try to shift into producerism. Take that $50k you'd spend on the BMW and plow it into partial ownership in an oil well. Do something, besides getting into debt for no reason. I know, it's not easy, but it is truly rewarding.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Serious question;  Let's be optimistic and say everyone becomes an efficient producer on the whole planet.  Tell me, who will the earth be trading with in order to balance it's books with respect to capital and resources?

Better get that civilization on Mars built quick.  But yes, at least with partial ownership of an asset that actually produces something real, it won't be a loss so long as oil comes out.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:44 | Link to Comment Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Silicone was just sand until recently.

And would have remained so except for the power of capitalism.

Next question....

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:49 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

Huh?  What does that have to do with exponential growth, but finite resources?  Except for maybe pointing out that if we did it right we might have that Mars colony and be looking for the next jump.  Yeah, tech is great and our future is hopefully founded in more of it... but, a massive human ponzi has occured in the process.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:06 | Link to Comment Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

This is a valid point of real concern, but ponder this.

We are also part of the closed system and are able to expand in number and living standard as we constantly find new ways to use otherwise dormant resources. ( oil for example) I'm not saying that everything is fine or that a correction will not occur, I just am not confident betting against human ingenuity.

Especially in extremes.

Cheers

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:23 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

+1.  Is a good point.  Paradoxical in some ways though.

My daughter is taking AP Human Geography right now and in her book they actually have a huge section devoted to stuff like this.  (Sort of ironic timing huh?).

The premise was that baseline population growth theory predicted one particular outcome (not a good one).  Along comes some other folks and say "no, it's wrong" because technology will afford for more... make better use of resources.  Along comes yet another who claims it is wrong because resources are not properly allocated.

Anyhow, I found it all quite funny because they were all right in some sense.  The baby had been thrown out with the bathwater per se by the critics.  Technology did in fact allow for more, and bent the curves of the original theory.  Distribution has always been an issue.  But neither suggested a point of diminshing returns or that exponential growth can continue forever.

I am not betting against humanity though.  I am betting against the status quo continuing too much longer.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:33 | Link to Comment Nothing To See Here
Nothing To See Here's picture

No producer can produce without intrants. An oil well needs machinery, human resources and knowledge before it can be operated. Thus, the idea that the Earth could have only producers and need a colony on Mars to sell its stuff is absurd.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Because without growth "the consumer" simply ceases to exist. In effect "he/she becomes an economist"...apparently doomed to living in a hole something of that sort. Anywho to start putting some meat on this abstract bone...Americans move things around like no other people on earth..so it is simply a "false flag" to talk in terms of "the consumer as evil." the problem is at a certain SIMPLY technological. For example "why aren't all electronic devices required to run on solar power? Why are the all required to have a battery?" ask this simple question...and answer it correctly...and understand why we truly are getting ripped off by energy companies...in collusion with the Government of course. And that's but o e example...would you like me to name a thousand more?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:31 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

Growth and profit are both human constructs.  Virtually everything is geared around this now.  Technology gone wrong for sake of advancing a few instead of a species.  No need to name a thousand examples.  They are all around us.

Part of this paradigm is growth in populations, social complexity, etc.  Technology in this regard allowed for the greatest expansion in human population ever seen in history.

Of course, this leads right into really problematic philosophical issues which don't have very good answers.  So, instead of going there... I am just pointing out that the trend is unsustainable.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:25 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

Producerism: "Take that $50k you'd spend on the BMW and plow it into partial ownership in an oil well."

 

Since when does capital extraction 'produce' anything? The oil from the well becomes waste, the well becomes empty, beneficiary of the well is a handful of executives and owners of 'BMW Inc.'.

 

Maybe after teeing off on the American Way of 'Non-Happiness' Charles Hugh can clobber the myth that industries are productive. Industries are debt-dependencies that destroy value -- the oil in the well -- and offer money returns for the industry's owners. These money returns are borrowed, the repayment is the obligation of the industries' customers.

 

Why do you think the establishment is so desperate to get people into the stores again, anyway? ... to restart consumption? The world's tycoons are massive borrowers, they need customers in order to repay the debts they -- the tycoons -- have taken on in the customers' names.

 

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:06 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wow, they make caulk and breast implants out of sand?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:54 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

Silicon - Glass and computers

Silicone - fake boobs

Silly - you, idiot.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 19:26 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Did you trace what my comment was in reply to?

I damn well know what the difference between silicon and silicone is...

Do I have to put a /sarc flag on every fucking post where there might be a hint of doubt????

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:37 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

An entirely different mode of society is required. One that is capable of allocating and using resources at maximum efficiency without literally killing everyone.

Whether you think that means a free market, no market, or something else, you know it's true.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:31 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Let's be optimistic and say everyone becomes an efficient producer on the whole planet.

_____________________

That is indeed being overtly optimistic (or 'american' for some other reasons)

Production being consumption, how would every productive member be able to maintain their consumption act without trading?

Sure, sure, when you are used to stealing environment as 'Americans' are, this basic necessity of trading is easily forgotten...

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:38 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Your ability to mindlessly babble in a meaningless melange of nonsense, while still managing to maintain your consistent and malicious anti-American bigotry and hate, is truly remarkable.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:34 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

Your ignorance is all consuming.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 18:21 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

.

Production being consumption, how would every productive member be able to maintain their consumption act without trading?

This is a rhetardical question as it is based on an absurd premise.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:22 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

What premise? That production is consumption?

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:27 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

No, the premise that virulently bigoted Chinese Citizenism trolling (your specialty) can be equated to intellectual (and obsessive) defecationalism and hypocritizenism.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:44 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Well, it is all a matter of fantasy then.

Ah, 'americans', their resiliency to live in their own lies is astounding.

'americans' can know they are lying, inventing, fabricating, and that their lies are old, they will keep clinging to them, no matter what.

The 'american' project, all about truth, justice and freedom...

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:54 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

AnAnonymous, do you know why you are such an extreme douchbag?  It is because you do NOTHING but make sweeping, simplistic and bigoted assertions with utterly no facts, no arguments, and no logic behind any of them. Just repeating the same tired claims endlessly does not make them true.

Nor do you ever try to engage in any form of honest debate here --- you just monotonously dump your blanket anti-American accusations and generalizations in this forum and then run away like the anti-intellectual coward and troll that you are.  And the few times that you do ever respond to other posters, we get nothing from you but circular arguments, evasion and diversion, with NEVER any attempt to either defend your blind assertions and accusations or to logically challenge other posters' condemnations or refutations of those same naked assertions.  Clearly, you are here for no reason at all other than to spread your sick and obsessive anti-American hatred.

You idiotically attempt to blame Americans for every single thing wrong in the world today, while never acknowledging the role that your own consumption-mad nation of China, for example, plays in the madness that is the economic and political world of today.  No, according to you, EVERYTHING that is bad in the world can be laid at the feet of the citizens (each and every one of them) of only one nation in the world, the USA --- never our sociopathic leaders in Washington, never our financial overlords, but ALL of us collectively.  That kind of irrational thinking is known as prejudice and bigotry, and is your (only) stock in trade.

There are plenty of posters, most of them in fact (myself included) who are perfectly willing to condemn our psychopathic leaders in Washington, our hopelessly corrupt political system, and many perverted aspects of our US society and "culture" (such as it is). But you are not content with limiting yourself to such logic --- no, according to you, EVERY American alive today, or who has every lived, is responsible for ALL the sins of the world.  That is collectivism in its most perverse, extreme and idiotic form.

You are dishonest, irrational, hate-filled and close-minded, and that is why no other sincere poster here ever agrees with you or upvotes your ridiculously bigoted and nonsensical comments.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:58 | Link to Comment dhengineer
dhengineer's picture

Nobody can produce everything they need, but, if you produce the thing(s) you are capable of doing, then you can trade the fruits of your labor for those of your fellow producers.  It's the old "division of labor" thing.  In it's pure sense, "money" is a way of distributing your productivity through society in general without having to trade directly with each and every other producer.  That's why gold and silver are so important, because they have a recognized value in a productive society.  When the bankers and hedgies (who produce nothing whatsoever) decided to print too much money, there was no way to truly value the production going on in society.  Left to itself, a truly productive society will have enough for everyone, with "savings" left over to retool and invent new stuff.  Once the bankers come in with their great skimming devices, taking away the savings, productive society falls into the "gimme, gimme" mode that we have now.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment Unprepared
Unprepared's picture

Doing the opposite of what you perceive is wrong would not necessarily end up as a good deed without the foresight of where exactly you should stop. It may look vertuous in the short term - while the nefarious effects of the status quo gets erroded, but over the long run, it is just setting the stage of the next centrally planned status quo.

 

What stands at the other side of an evil is usually another evil.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:33 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Relax Hugh, that which cannot be sustained, won't be.  In the meantime, enjoy the bread and circuses while building real wealth in physcial assets, family, trusted employees, and neighbors.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:40 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

Society is destined to travel the current path into complete social failure.  We are not there quite yet.  But... it's coming.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:48 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

As long as I can keep driving my F-350 and towing my quads, I'm happy.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:01 | Link to Comment kito
kito's picture

i pegged you for a prius...i wouldnt have thought you were haulin ass in an f-350......................

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:07 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You may have missed the sarc flag....

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:28 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I ride a Surly bicycle.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:34 | Link to Comment impermanence
impermanence's picture

Impermanence is swift.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:35 | Link to Comment PUD
PUD's picture

glad we have an all powerful enabling fed to make this possible

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

In the mindset of the consumerist economy, purchasing something feels empowering because the act of consuming is experienced as renewing our sense of identity and social status. But since that identity is inauthentic, the sense of euphoric renewal is short-lived and soon defaults to the base state of insecurity.

Who gets to say what "identity" is authentic? What the hell does that even mean and what business is it of yours or the government what or how much I consume?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

"what business is it of yours or the government what or how much I consume?"

 

Did you eat the last water heater you bought? What about an iPad?
How exactly do you "consume" these items?
Can you metabolize metal and plastic?

Consume
verb (used with object)
1. to destroy or expend by use; use up.
2. to eat or drink up; devour.
3. to destroy, as by decomposition or burning: Fire consumed the forest.
4. to spend (money, time, etc.) wastefully.
5. to absorb; engross: consumed with curiosity.

A "consumer" is one who destroys, devours, burns, wastes, and absorbs things.

No wonder Homeland Security bought 450 million bullets!
Consumers are dangerous entities that must be put down.
Far worse than zombies!

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:22 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

FAIL.

Learn the difference between transitive and intransitive.

Consumeintransitive verb - to utilize economic goods.

Mercury's use invoked the economic definition, yours was pure equivocation to make a point via the colloquial denotation and its derogative connotation (transitive definition #4).

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:38 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Do you like women?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:47 | Link to Comment ONO47
ONO47's picture

Check ou the big brain on Brad (ie. Totentanzerlied). You're a smart motherfucker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrm-rPSCIBw

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:33 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Good. You cant consume economic goods.

Infinite growth, beware, 'americans' are coming...

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:43 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Roadsides beware, Chinese Shitizens are coming ....

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:20 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

People of France beware, AnAnonymous is coming to wok your dog and leave its digested remains on your roadside...

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:48 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Who gets to say what "identity" is authentic? What the hell does that even mean and what business is it of yours or the government what or how much I consume?

I think the meaning of 'authentic' in this context is how people would behave without being baraged by millions of hours of advertisements during their lives. Is it authentic for people to want to buy weed-eaters? the latest car style though your current car works just fine? to 'keep up with the Joneses?'

Much of modern human behavior in Western society is artificially encouraged by repeated advertisements that amount to no more than brainwashing.

Perhaps that is what is meant by the use of the word 'authentic'?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:36 | Link to Comment vas deferens
vas deferens's picture

TYLER.....

Please post the interview of Sean Egan (Egan Jones CEO) on CNBC this monring. 

He was attacked by the fucktard Simon.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:28 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

Any US rating agency that lowers the creditworthiness of the US will be attacked by CNBC, the SEC, FBI, NSA and IRS.  

Their probably monitoring the email and phones Egan-Jones, S&P, Moodies and Fitch.

Anything out of line and their paid a visit by the black-suited government goons.

Like discrediting the mob

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:41 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Simon and Mellissa upset that someone is attacking their god (the markets).

S.E.C. going after Egan Jones is a vote of validity and truth for Egan Jones ratings.

S.E.C. is conducting a witch hunt instead of catching real criminals, imagine that.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:38 | Link to Comment BandGap
BandGap's picture

Seek to decouple happiness from the material things in life. I know it sounds cliche, but beyond having your needs met all this other junk just adds up to headaches.

Anyway, I sleep really well.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment Jason T
Jason T's picture

Can't wait to see Atlas Shrugged tomorrow! 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

They haven't promoted it very well. I want to see it too, but I didn't even realize it was being released tomorrow until this morning. Then again, I don't consume much media, so I'm not sure where I would have seen any ads. Hopefully it does better than the first one. I think more people are ready to hear its message now than when the first film was released.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment silver4me
silver4me's picture

The power of advertisement. Corporations haven't spent all this money for nothing. We're made to believe pleasure comes from materialistic things. I personally get more pleasure from helping people.

Good article. Zerohedge is the best site on the web!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Happiness is a choice.

Stress is a natural part of life.

If you can't deal with it, then stop making excuses and end it.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:43 | Link to Comment kahunabear
kahunabear's picture

Sounds like a bunch of psychobabble. Give me a beer, a beach, some good tunes and some family and friends to share it with and I am good to go. Life only lasts so long and if society does go kablooey, well, better have some fun now.

Oh, some chocolate covered bacon and a steady flow of gimcrack gadgets engineered for yearly obsolesence just add to the fun!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

What a crock. I'm only empowered when buying stuff? First off, WTF do you mean 'empowered by buying'? A person is 'empowered' when he is free to choose according to his judgement. Businesses 'empower' employees by giving them the opportunity to use their discretion and brains instead of following rigid rules. I feel empowered every time I hop on my bike instead of waiting for a bus.  I feel empowered every time I look at my bright, beautiful daughters, knowing that I am teaching them well. I buy very little outside of food, and I don't have much to display in 'status signifiers', but I still feel pretty good about myself.

That the author thinks mindless materialism is the only God being worshipped suggests he spends too much time in Wal-Mart. Sure, there are a lot of people who are caught up in consumerism, but 'twas ever thus:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

- William Wordsworth, 1802

Two hundred and ten years later, nuthin's changed.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

If you haven't noticed, your the exception to the rule.

Look around dude.

Most people are caught up in exactly what CHS wrote.  More so now than ever before.

You are hopelessly outnumbered... which suggests the path this world will travel will not be by our design/actions but by theirs and the depressed (possibly violent) journey they will travel.  And understanding the thinking... the brainwashing... the negative potential of the masses is about as relevant as it gets.

Ever heard of the social pendullum?  A model intended to describe how societies tend to swing between social extremes over time... cyclical.  To say nothing has changed is true - but is a generalization that misses the forest for the trees.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:00 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

^^^ This. Guess I type too slowly.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:44 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

"Most people are caught up in exactly what CHS wrote.  More so now than ever before."

 

Yes. This situation has been completely manufactured by industry (and their hired gun marketers).

The Light Bulb Conspiracy | Watch Free Documentary Online - http://bit.ly/RiUO7m

 

Two kinds of people out there. Those who are mentally trapped....and the free.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:04 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

You apparently missed my point. Wordsworth was complaining about the same shit back in Napoleonic times. Of course most people want stuff today. Most people wanted stuff yesterday, and the day before, and the year beffore, and the century before. To think that consumerism is something new, or that it's any more prevalent today than it was 200 years ago is naive. Sturgeon's Law* has always applied to people, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The myth of King Midas is simply a fable about materialism handed down from 3,000 years ago. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Yes, we have endless more toys to distract us nowaday, and yes, it's easier than ever to get them - no more waiting six months for the caravan from India to arrive with new silks - but the general principal remains the same - that a walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet.

* - Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crap"

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:22 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

King Midas was everyone...

 

American world.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:28 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Roadside defecationalisticalism is the right and duty of everyone.

Chinese Shitizenism world.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 18:50 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous barfed up this hairball:

King Midas was everyone...

American world.

The legend of King Midas, centuries old, is just a part of the fabled past of US citizenism. Yes, that's certainly an unambiguous and ringing endorsement of the depth of your historical expertise, not to mention your sanity.

Of course, that is a perfectly sensible statement coming from a retard that lives in a bizarre fantasy world and rewrites history daily.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:25 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

"To think that consumerism is something new, or that it's any more prevalent today than it was 200 years ago is naive."

 

Nope.

The urge to want is not new. But the tactics employed on you are.
Yes, something HAS changed.

It's a SCIENCE now. Human urges are being hijacked and exploited.
Been that way for a long time. Studied in universities, put into practice by large corps.
It's an active tactic. Literally, brainwashing. But they'll never tell you that in school.

People using these well developed tactics are getting RICH. Ever heard of Apple?

Mass programming is in use daily. Do you own a TV?
If you do, and you watch it, you are already programmed.

Disconnect and re-examine.

 

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 19:21 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

in korporate amrka, television owns you.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:48 | Link to Comment centerline
centerline's picture

The general point you made was clear.  Human nature is still pretty much the same as is was and has been for a long, long time.  I agree therein.  Completely.  Is one of the things I love to point out around here.  lol.

But, it also moves in cycles.  This one is a big one - and it is more global in nature than any other time in history.  The mother of all supercycles.  The details matter to us since we are caught in the shit storm.  Understanding the mindset of the average person is key or else there is a real chance of underestimating what he/she is capable of and why.  Maybe help someone else avoid it.  CHS did a good here of connecting some basic dots.  Not rocket science.  And not a slap in the face to folks like us and many others around here who have already looked in the mirror.

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 16:55 | Link to Comment FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

I don't disagree that things move in cycles. Religion for example. In the West, it's on the decline - there are a whole bunch of "C&E" Christians, and bacon-loving Jews. I don't doubt that, in a generation or so, religion will come back strongly, as children search for something more than Mammon. I just hope it isn't fascistic Islamists.

But this boom in consumption isn't a cycle - it's a progression. Look at all the new technology produced in the last 150 years - start with harnessing electricity and the gasoline motor, and go from there. Before 1850, most people spent their lives trying to get enough to eat; they didn't have the time or money to be "consumers". The fantastic wealth we've produced over that time has suddenly given people the opportunity to purchase products that kings and queens never dreamt of in 1850. It just stands to reason that people will be overwhelmed by it.

Read some of Marshall Macluhan.. he wrote that for 1,000's of years, humans were more or less in balance with their senses and abilities - think of it like a wheel with even spokes. But each new technology extends one of our senses or abilities. The wheel, for example, when attached to a chariot becomes an extension of your foot - you can travel farther. The telescope is an extension of your eye. So is televison. Each new technology upsets the apple cart, so to speak, by lengthening one spoke in the wheel, and it takes some time before we adapt to the technology, and regain our psychic balance. I'm old enough to remember watching TV with my parents - they sat hushed in front of the tube as if they were at a movie theatre, and if I made a comment, would snap "Be quiet - the television's on!". Today, my kids have their laptops on, their smartphones handy, and carry on a conversation while the TV blares away. Where TV used to be, in Macluhan's terms, a 'figure', standing out from the rest, today it is a 'ground', something that no longer commands our full attention.

I've written elsewhere on this site that 'stuff' inevitably becomes cheaper and cheaper, as manufacturers find ways to cut costs and improve productivity. And there are many things people want that actually improve their quality of life - a car, for example. Here in Toronto, if you have a car, your average commute is less than 30 minutes. If you have to take the bus, it's over an hour. Add it up, and you spend at least 5 extra hours a week commuting, and usually more, if you take the bus. 5 hrs x 50 weeks = 250 hours, or about 6 weeks of vacation. So of course people want cars. Cellphones - maybe you don't need one to play Angry Birds, but when you're trapped in traffic, and someone's waiting for you in the restaurant, it sure makes it easier when you get there compared to 20 years ago, when she'd be fuming. I don't think it's mindless consumerism to want some of these things. Standing in line for 10 hours to get the latest iBauble is a little stupid, IMHO, but how many people do that?

As I noted earlier, lots of people get caught up in materialism, but that's been true for people with a little extra money since forever. The difference is today, there are billions of them, instead of a few hundred thousand. And as more people claw out of subsistence level poverty, there's going to be more materialism. The only possible thing that I can see swinging the pendulum back is war, which is unfortunately looking increasingly likely.  

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:58 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

I think CHS is referring to the average idiot who lives to spend their entire paycheck on the latest iPhone or other useless POS and then goes home to watch TV so they can find out what other worthless items they "need." You are obviously not in that category - it sounds like you've got it made.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:55 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

If you watch the documentary I linked, you see that Apple is just following the rules in the manual.
They didn't make these rules, they seek to take advantage of normal people using them.

Now Apple *is* the "economy"? Just fucking goes to show eh?

They are running a classic psyop type program to perfection.
No regard for what happens in the future to the environment or humans.

See the part in the documentary about E-Waste dumped in Ghana.

Block "waste" from leaving countries worldwide and see the machine break down quickly.

The "system" would be painfully exposed and collapse.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 20:15 | Link to Comment Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

perhaps Steve was tasked to create iJobs for China in the great global equalising game, rewarded with wealth, and karma-cursed with ill-health.

fits a certain pattern. . .

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:28 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

You miss the author's point and must not have read carefully.

You agree with him if you will read a little closer (portion of last paragraph):

"The notion that increased consumption leads to increased happiness is self-evidently false, yet consumption remains the focus of our economy and society."

To paraphrase in a much shorter version in my own words:

Consumerism leads a majority of the population away from happiness and toward a hollow sense of self and into the chains of debt serfdom.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment Ricky Bobby
Ricky Bobby's picture

iShop therefore I AM

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:46 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Here is my guide to happiness.

1) Don't complicate things remain single as long as you can afford to financially carry your weight. If not then marry somebody that likes to work or is financially independent with two houses.

2) Jog 35 miles per week.

3) 30 or more minutes of silent meditation per day.

4) Study for 2 to 3 hours per day.

I guess the rest is common sense so not worth mentioning here. You know dance, comedy, music, art and social interaction are all part of a well balanced life. You don't have to consume much of anything other than information on the internet.

Now I realize there are those of you out there like the globalists, banksters and politicians that can't be happy unless they are killing, raping babies, going off every weekend to visit the the Queens child torture centers in the channel islands and such but for the general population (with an IQ > Bush Jr.s + 50) the above 4 steps work extremely well.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:50 | Link to Comment bigdumbnugly
bigdumbnugly's picture

what about simply playing with one's wanker?

should at least be #2

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

Happiness often = laughter; deep tears-in-my-eyes belly bending knee-slapping howls of funny (as in full of fun). So thanks, Big Guy, ROFLMFAO ...

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:50 | Link to Comment thomasincincy
thomasincincy's picture

I could say a bunch, but if I were to only say one... Truly understand money and it's purpose

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:51 | Link to Comment nowhereman
nowhereman's picture

Very interesting post.  In my own way, I came to the same conclusion several years ago.  I owned three homes outright, my house, a rental, and a cottage on a lake.  I had a job that paid well, that I hated.  My wife was experiencing difficulties at her workplace as well.

I said to my wife; "you know we've accumulated enough stuff, that if we wanted, we could sell it all and live quite comfortably".  Her response was "nope all the 'stuff' meant too much to her".

I said, "you know the only reason we have to work is to maintain our stuff, if we get rid of it all there is no need to work anymore.  Your job isn't working out for you, and I hate mine, why do we make ourselves miserable just to maintain our stuff?"

She said, "I'm comfortable with the way things are."  I said, "I'm not"

So, I gave all the 'stuff' to my wife when I left her, and settled for a minimal "buyout" (I felt guilty about leaving her, so I settled for about 10%)

As I was travelling around the US and Canada (I put 60,000 miles on my RV in one year) I realized that not only was my physical stuff, 'stuff' that required maintenance but my ex was 'stuff' as well.  I've never looked back.

I guess the moral of the little tale is that 'you really don't own your stuff, your stuff owns you'!

Once you start accummulating, you spend the majority of your time worrying about maintaining, protecting and insuring your stuff.

Freedom is, when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.  But we we're taught that this isn't so, and most people could not even conceive of this true route to "life, liberty and happiness"

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:12 | Link to Comment kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

My new hero.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:12 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

I think Janis agreed ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTHRg_iSWzM

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:38 | Link to Comment Diet Coke and F...
Diet Coke and Floozies's picture

I did almost the exact same thing. +1 for you sir.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:47 | Link to Comment iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

+1,  Home and Happy are a state of mind.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:52 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture

I hear there's happiness in salvery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLFFznO_eTs

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:04 | Link to Comment WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

And ignorance is bliss.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment thomasincincy
thomasincincy's picture

slaves do kill their masters

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:16 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

THAT is truely awful.  Horrible and gross.  I need to clean my ears.  Yeccccch

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:37 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture

You must be old.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:14 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

It's good to be too old for that shit sound.  Lou Reed, yes. Or Garcia, or Kraftwerken, or Howlin' Wolf.  Anything is better.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Some proper context on prosperity & the pursuit of happiness

Adopted unanimously June 12, 1776

A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS ...; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government.

I. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

II. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

III. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; of all the various modes and forms of government that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

IV. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge be hereditary. ...

XV That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

XVI That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

 

 

Adopted unanimously July 4, 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:02 | Link to Comment fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Steve Liesman just asked Erskine "if you had the chance to advise Obamney! Holy shit that was funny!!!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:06 | Link to Comment petolo
petolo's picture

Epicurus: The greatest happiness occurs when one has just escaped death.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:12 | Link to Comment CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

Yes, when you work hard and stay late and make some extra money you want to buy something to reward yourself and doing so makes you feel good, but instead of buying phones and TVs and kitchen gadgets, why not buy rolls of silver eagles, or mercury dimes to reward yourself? Then you're putting money away instead of throwing money away!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:19 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Contentment versus "Happiness".

Content is much better than the nebulous "happy".

Bowles and Simpson with Blank(check)fein on CNBC with Steve LIESman talking about how entitlements need to be cut and taxes raised to save the banks (*cough*, er, "government").

I am so done with these assholes and the equivocating promise breaking harpies and warlocks and their utterly corrupt system it isn't even funny anymore.

Fuck you Blankfein.

Fuck you CONgress.

Fuck you MSM.

Fuck you Ponziconomy.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:24 | Link to Comment Floodmaster
Floodmaster's picture

America - Finding a materialism-free life in the most materialistic nation in the world must be hard,

If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes. Alexander the Great.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:42 | Link to Comment ONO47
ONO47's picture

d

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:44 | Link to Comment Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

Judging from the fauna surrounding visits to most anywhere, a huge # of 'mericans try to achieve happiness through consumption of calories which are due to increase in price by some 48% in the next four months or less, according to the Squid (ampyroteuthis infernalis).

That shoud put a kink in the fast food profit charts as chasing supplier price compresses earnings - economy turning into One Big Experiment.

Got popcorn, bugout bag and a lotta gas in the truck.  Live in the 'burb and won't go until things get rough, but do know one thing for sure - when folks get hungry and the SNAP card don't work, there will become a gang-led mob in many cities, looting and burning and fighting over food.  After they walk off with the 50" TV - or maybe you didn't watch Watts on TeeVee.  That was just Anger, now add a touch of Starvation and a side of Hunger and it will hit the fan.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 13:50 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

This is a Marxist and neo-Marxist critique of consumer society (consumerism). But consumerism is predicated on producer society (productivism). And Marxist thought is firmly within the orthodox productivist canon.

CHS wisely offers no solutions or suggestions in this piece, doing so would expose him to a critique of the productivism which underpins all of his thought.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 14:01 | Link to Comment paradism_
paradism_'s picture

"The poor (in America) see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarassed millionaires."

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 17:26 | Link to Comment Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

"The notion that increased consumption leads to increased happiness is self-evidently false..."

As Joan Rivers said so thoughtfully and truthfully even if in jest, if money can't buy you happiness you simply don't know where to shop

Charles, there's so much bollocks written about happiness and unhappines/stress, much of it is deliberate mis-direction so Joe Public don't find out how easy it is to firstly deal with it, and secondly solve.

Big Pharma et al would prefer to put you on a drug for depression/stress and shrinks never give you the mental tools to either explain or resolve your problems so you keep coming back earning them fees

Just to deal with happiness directly, why do we want to be in such a state? Happiness is a peak event, like euphoria, an adrenilin rush or over-confidence in a stock market. It's great to be happy, the feeling is very real but you cannot be in that state of mind for anything but a brief time, it's designed to be a reward, like an amazing food tase, not a state of permanance

so all the f'n bullshit about "persuit of happiness" is mis-direction. It's like saying I want to party non-stop for 40 years, or be drunk for 20, or have an adrenlin rush every hour i'm awake. It's just not realistic and it should be nobodies goal in life, happiness comes when it comes

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:41 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Contrary to what the 'american' author claims, the relationship is not self evidently false.

As usual with 'americans', it is all about masquerading.

The crux is that 'americans' do not allocate consumption as a means to find and support happiness.

Happiness is not an end in 'american' economics.

Consumption is the end. Taking room for happiness.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:54 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

AnAnonymous, do you know why you are such an extreme douchbag?  It is because you do NOTHING but make sweeping, simplistic and bigoted assertions with utterly no facts, no arguments, and no logic behind any of them. Just repeating the same tired claims endlessly does not make them true.

Nor do you ever try to engage in any form of honest debate here --- you just monotonously dump your blanket anti-American accusations and generalizations in this forum and then run away like the anti-intellectual coward and troll that you are.  And the few times that you do ever respond to other posters, we get nothing from you but circular arguments, evasion and diversion, with NEVER any attempt to either defend your blind assertions and accusations or to logically challenge other posters' condemnations or refutations of those same naked assertions.  Clearly, you are here for no reason at all other than to spread your sick and obsessive anti-American hatred.

You idiotically attempt to blame Americans for every single thing wrong in the world today, while never acknowledging the role that your own consumption-mad nation of China, for example, plays in the madness that is the economic and political world of today.  No, according to you, EVERYTHING that is bad in the world can be laid at the feet of the citizens (each and every one of them) of only one nation in the world, the USA --- never our sociopathic leaders in Washington, never our financial overlords, but ALL of us collectively.  That kind of irrational thinking is known as prejudice and bigotry, and is your (only) stock in trade.

There are plenty of posters, most of them in fact (myself included) who are perfectly willing to condemn our psychopathic leaders in Washington, our hopelessly corrupt political system, and many perverted aspects of our US society and "culture" (such as it is). But you are not content with limiting yourself to such logic --- no, according to you, EVERY American alive today, or who has every lived, is responsible for ALL the sins of the world.  That is collectivism in its most perverse, extreme and idiotic form.

You are dishonest, irrational, hate-filled and close-minded, and that is why no other sincere poster here ever agrees with you or upvotes your ridiculously bigoted and nonsensical comments.

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:20 | Link to Comment Fishhawk
Fishhawk's picture

I see the comments have slipped off the pulley again.  CHS speaks to the resident evil in society that works to actively prevent happiness, and you all have focussed on only the consumerism that crony capitalism offers as the 'happiness substitute.'  The problem is specifically that the foundation of our society has been attacked by men of great economic power and low/no morality.  This compromises everyone.  Your company is corrupt, so you must choose: go along with the corruption, or be fired.  The nagging sense that 'things ain't right' goes all the way to the bone.  In fact, a limp dick (now labeled Erectile Disfunction) is nature's way of telling you that you don't want to have sex.  Big Pharma labels it some sort of physical disability, for which you carry no blame, and which they can fix, for a price.  That is our modern corrupt society in a nut(shell). 

Fishhawk

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 16:59 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Applause!

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 17:39 | Link to Comment Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

with respect that's bullshit

wether we're living in the times of Romes demise or as we are now, the Wests demise, amongst all this corruption you have NO EXCUSES not to sort yourself out

In fact during this shit-bubble you've got even more opportunities (ie. even less excuses) not to sort yourself out. In Rome there were about 5 job opportunities and no aeroplanes to take you to another country (70% of Romans fucked off to Spain etc to get away from oppression and Govt taxation)

Your fate accompli is live with your company corruption or be fired (ie. suffer). Mope around because it's other people like politicians or your boss that make you miserable. How about search for a new job then leave? Or just leave and make your own business

There's an answer, actually more than one, to anything that erks, bugs, worries or stresses you. First rule, address it straight on, don't let it get on top. You don't have to solve it in one day, you can start on the path to resolving it in baby steps. You'll feel immediate improvement

PS. Viagra is great, Cialus is better, generics are alot cheaper. And I'm up for plastic surgery too in later life. Shopping is great isn't it?

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 15:48 | Link to Comment jag
jag's picture

Not a word here about "gratitude". 

Think about it; if you're never grateful for anything you are not only going to be perpetually unhappy you'll likely never be happy (much less satisfied). 

The reason why the Hong Kong maids are happy is that they probably are grateful to work where they do and its likely relatively good work compared to their peers or other experiences. They aren't dopes, they're just like everyone else. If you never stop and consider how many things you enjoy in life, how many things abound to almost everyone in today's society that make life enormously easier and safer that didn't exist for ANYONE, no matter how wealthy, as little as a few decades ago, sure you can find yourself "short" all day long. 

It isn't the consumption that's a problem its those who equate "happiness" with items that compare more favorably to most others. A cheap used car today is safer, more economical, easier to drive than the best cars of the 1970's era. You get power this and that now routinely that, only 40 years ago, only someone with great wealth could enjoy back then. 

Happiness begins with gratitude. If you have any perspective or intelligence at all, you should be able to see that, all things considered, you have a lot to be grateful for. No, plenty of people won't ever get there but I've known plenty of people, at all stages and "classes" of life who were either plenty happy with modest things but gratitude or miserable despite enormous talent and resources. Happiness cannot exist without gratitude. That this author never mentions the word means to me that he knows nothing about what generates true "happiness". 

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 16:58 | Link to Comment KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Misplaced gratitude sucks as well.

 

"We thank our masters, The Tripods!"

The Tripods - A clip from Series 1 = DVD OUT NOW!! - YouTube - http://youtu.be/u4cR8Qj5iRE

If you watched the series, you would understand my comment.

 

For every winner, there is a loser.

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground (1 of 2) - YouTube - http://youtu.be/OkpBcFDjk7Y

You are right, I guess. These people have no gratitude, and therefore no happiness.

 

 

Thu, 10/11/2012 - 21:18 | Link to Comment LoneuhRanger
LoneuhRanger's picture

I took the scientific avenue with happiness.

Experiment, experiment, experiment.

It worked. Kinda...

http://barry-williams.com/blog/stp-smile-transfer-protocol-original-application-yqr-regina-airport-authority/

 

 

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:38 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

This 'american' piece of propaganda would want to conceal the most obvious in 'american' economics.

in 'american' economics, consumption is both a means and an end.

Through infinite growth tale, consumption is the means to consume ever more in the future.
The more you consume in the present, the more you will get to consume in the future.

Consumption is a means to even more consumption.

Consumption is also an end. 'Americans' consume to consume.

The pursuit of happiness, or anything like that hedonism, would require that consumption is allocated as a means to reach happiness or hedonism.

This is troublesome as it conflicts with 'american' consumption pattern.

If someone finds happiness in reading books, for happiness to come true, someone has to read books.
All the time that is spent on reading books can no longer be allocated to perform the 'american' consumption act.

It is very easy to find 'americans' who say to find their happiness reading books. Very often, they confess owning more books they could possibly read in one lifetime. But they keep buying books (therefore performing the 'american' consumption) So why keep buying books if you already know you wont be able to read them and be happy reading?
Pointing at the issue is worthless, 'americans' weasel their way out as the reason is obvious: for 'americans', consumption is an end. The end is not to provide oneself with material conditions to reach happiness. The end is to consume.

The very question is no longer how much one requires to be happy. Whether a person who likes to drive requires ten or 12 cars to feel happy driving cars.
As this consumption wont serve as a means to provide happiness through driving.
It follows that any situation that is not dependent of a cause, can easily be masqueraded as requiring more of the cause to succeed.
People who claim reaching happiness by driving cars but actually never allocate cars to their happiness as they wont drive them, can keep building up on cars. No amount will be enough as it is never put to use to drive cars.

In 'american' economics, consumption is both a means, the promise of even more consumption in the future, and an end, the ultimate end for 'americans' when they consume is to consume.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 03:45 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

AnAnonymous, do you know why you are such an extreme douchbag?  It is because you do NOTHING but make sweeping, simplistic and bigoted assertions with utterly no facts, no arguments, and no logic behind any of them. Just repeating the same tired claims endlessly does not make them true.

Nor do you ever try to engage in any form of honest debate here --- you just monotonously dump your blanket anti-American accusations and generalizations in this forum and then run away like the anti-intellectual coward and troll that you are.  And the few times that you do ever respond to other posters, we get nothing from you but circular arguments, evasion and diversion, with NEVER any attempt to either defend your blind assertions and accusations or to logically challenge other posters' condemnations or refutations of those same naked assertions.  Clearly, you are here for no reason at all other than to spread your sick and obsessive anti-American hatred.

You idiotically attempt to blame Americans for every single thing wrong in the world today, while never acknowledging the role that your own consumption-mad nation of China, for example, plays in the madness that is the economic and political world of today.  No, according to you, EVERYTHING that is bad in the world can be laid at the feet of the citizens (each and every one of them) of only one nation in the world, the USA --- never our sociopathic leaders in Washington, never our financial overlords, but ALL of us collectively.  That kind of irrational thinking is known as prejudice and bigotry, and is your (only) stock in trade.

There are plenty of posters, most of them in fact (myself included) who are perfectly willing to condemn our psychopathic leaders in Washington, our hopelessly corrupt political system, and many perverted aspects of our US society and "culture" (such as it is). But you are not content with limiting yourself to such logic --- no, according to you, EVERY American alive today, or who has every lived, is responsible for ALL the sins of the world.  That is collectivism in its most perverse, extreme and idiotic form.

You are dishonest, irrational, hate-filled and close-minded, and that is why no other sincere poster here ever agrees with you or upvotes your ridiculously bigoted and nonsensical comments.

Fri, 10/12/2012 - 09:07 | Link to Comment Orange Pekoe
Orange Pekoe's picture

The business cycle is now explained. People slowly grow stressful, hateful, and psychopathic as they please themselves with stuff. Then they destroy their stuff, murder each other, feel better and start the next cycle.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!