Magical voluntarism alert!
Just spotted a book from 2011, the title of which particularly struck me. "The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work." Happiness no longer the ends but merely the means, happiness not as a byproduct or result but a prerequisite, attainable through the right techniques: you just need to think about things the right way. The ultimate goal, beyond any trivial personal considerations: success and performance. Happiness gives you the edge, that’s its value, that’s the only value something can have. Having kids improve your happiness? Do it, just to fuck over John in accounts when it comes to promotion. Loving relationships with a group of like-minded friends? Go for it, the uptick in your productivity might get you noticed by the boss. A wide range of hobbies and interests? Necessary to ensure that you can continue to obey the injunctions of the market past the point of any personal gain and on into the realms of some weird kind of transcendent asceticism.
“Finally Peter, I feel, I have conquered my demons, grown, know myself more and have attained happiness”
“Well it’s a bit late now! Honestly Deborah, couldn’t you have done this twenty years ago when we were applying for a mortgage!”
Of course If it was all about State and Party and being an Agent of History you’d say that was an ideological tool and a brainwashed population, if it’s all about Work, and Lifestyle and becoming a twinkling star in the “cosmos” of the competitive market it’s just a practical guide to getting on in the real-world.
No doubt there’s a million similar books out there. “Using Empathy to beat the crowd” “Compassion for CEOs: outcompete through caring” “How a Genuine Love of Humanity helped me asset strip and drive down wages without lingering remorse”.
“I found it hard to make the tough decisions that ruined thousands of people's lives on a material and psychological level. Problem was, I wasn’t happy enough. Through these six simple steps i boosted my happiness to the level where I could work 23 hours a day 365 days a year devastating the economies of developing countries through reckless speculation AND remorselessly bully , intimidate and undermine everyone below me on the corporate food chain through a ceaseless flow of contradictory, pedantic and wilfully incoherent emails. Finally I had understood what happiness was truly for.” Lyle R Gambas CEO, INVESTATECHMEDIACORP