by Frank Furedi
Politicians, educators, celebrities and cultural entrepreneurs frequently insist that happiness is the solution to our problems and that we have a responsibility to be happy. The BBC’s new six-part series, The Happiness Formula, which began last week, is yet another contribution to the promotion of the happiness crusade.
Policies that are designed to make us happy have little to do with a genuine emotional response to our experience. They attempt to persuade the public to think positively and adopt forms of behaviour deemed appropriate by enlightened “experts”. Like Happy Meals, happiness has been turned into an easily digestible formula that can be taught by teachers, learned by the masses and managed by policy makers.
Frank Furedi is professor of sociology at the University of Kent and author of Politics of Fear; Beyond Left and Right, published by Continuum.