Perpetual Euphoria: On the Duty to Be Happy

Perpetual Euphoria: On the Duty to Be Happy

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by Pascal Bruckner
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691143730

ISBN-13: 9780691143736

Pub. Date: 02/13/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Happiness today is not just a possibility or an option but a requirement and a duty. To fail to be happy is to fail utterly. Happiness has become a religion—one whose smiley-faced god looks down in rebuke upon everyone who hasn't yet attained the blessed state of perpetual euphoria. How has a liberating principle of the Enlightenment—the right to pursue

Overview

Happiness today is not just a possibility or an option but a requirement and a duty. To fail to be happy is to fail utterly. Happiness has become a religion—one whose smiley-faced god looks down in rebuke upon everyone who hasn't yet attained the blessed state of perpetual euphoria. How has a liberating principle of the Enlightenment—the right to pursue happiness—become the unavoidable and burdensome responsibility to be happy? How did we become unhappy about not being happy—and what might we do to escape this predicament? In Perpetual Euphoria, Pascal Bruckner takes up these questions with all his unconventional wit, force, and brilliance, arguing that we might be happier if we simply abandoned our mad pursuit of happiness.

Gripped by the twin illusions that we are responsible for being happy or unhappy and that happiness can be produced by effort, many of us are now martyring ourselves—sacrificing our time, fortunes, health, and peace of mind—in the hope of entering an earthly paradise. Much better, Bruckner argues, would be to accept that happiness is an unbidden and fragile gift that arrives only by grace and luck.

A stimulating and entertaining meditation on the unhappiness at the heart of the modern cult of happiness, Perpetual Euphoria is a book for everyone who has ever bristled at the command to "be happy."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691143736
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/13/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
815,050
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Invisible Penitence 1

Part I: Paradise Is Where I Am 7
Chapter One: Life as a Dream and a Lie 9
Chapter Two: The Golden Age and After? 27
Chapter Three: The Disciplines of Beatitude 39

Part II: The Kingdom of the Lukewarm, or The Invention of Banality 67
Chapter Four: The Bittersweet Saga of Dullness 69
Chapter Five: The Extremists of Routine 84
Chapter Six: Real Life Is Not Absent 106

Part III: The Bourgeoisie, or The Abjection of Well-Being 129
Chapter Seven: "The Fat, Prosperous Elevation of the Average, the Mediocre" 131
Chapter Eight: What Is Happiness for Some Is Kitsch for Others 149
Chapter Nine: If Money Doesn't Make You Happy, Give It Back! 163

Part IV: Unhappiness Outlawed? 181
Chapter Ten: The Crime of Suffering 183
Chapter Eleven: Impossible Wisdom 206
Conclusion: Madame Verdurin's Croissant 227
Index 233

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Perpetual Euphoria: On the Duty to Be Happy 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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