Withering Heights

thenewinquiry:


Can a government really teach people to be happier? And what gives governments the right to indoctrinate people in their particular version of happiness in the first place? Policymakers’ answer to both these criticisms is “we have discovered the scientific formula for happiness. It’s been proven to work, therefore we have a moral obligation to teach it to our citizens.”

Jules Evans, “Solving Happiness”

Wellbeing as defined by the State - there’s an interesting (and troubling) parallel in the adoption/co-option of Recovery by the mental health sector, in which people are supported to lead “meaningful” lives in the presence or absence of symptoms. If what is meaningful is left to be defined by the individual, without an exploration of the those social and political factors (poverty, trauma, stigma) that both predispose people to developing mental illness and prevent people from recovering, there is a risk of colluding in a hopeless acceptance of what is, that - from a distance - might look like Wellbeing. At the same time, if services or the State define the goals of Recovery, this becomes an externally-imposed framework with no room for individual discovery.

thenewinquiry:

Can a government really teach people to be happier? And what gives governments the right to indoctrinate people in their particular version of happiness in the first place? Policymakers’ answer to both these criticisms is “we have discovered the scientific formula for happiness. It’s been proven to work, therefore we have a moral obligation to teach it to our citizens.”

Jules Evans, “Solving Happiness”

Wellbeing as defined by the State - there’s an interesting (and troubling) parallel in the adoption/co-option of Recovery by the mental health sector, in which people are supported to lead “meaningful” lives in the presence or absence of symptoms. If what is meaningful is left to be defined by the individual, without an exploration of the those social and political factors (poverty, trauma, stigma) that both predispose people to developing mental illness and prevent people from recovering, there is a risk of colluding in a hopeless acceptance of what is, that - from a distance - might look like Wellbeing. At the same time, if services or the State define the goals of Recovery, this becomes an externally-imposed framework with no room for individual discovery.