The Conquest of Happiness #79
Bertrand Russell on what makes us unhappy (1)
Hello and welcome back to another post in our year-long challenge to live six philosophies of happiness in our everyday lives! Today’s post comes two days later than usual because I had a lot of work to do on the Daily Philosophy website to make it load faster. Google was complaining that it is too slow, and, after breaking it a few times, I think that I managed to improve that a bit. Also, I re-recorded all “podcast” episodes in a more natural talking speed and tone, with new music, and I already updated the first three. I’m now editing the rest and putting them up one by one. By the way, this week is Chinese New Year — and we’re entering the year of the Ox. Seems that, according to traditional beliefs, oxen are hard-working and reliable, so that’s the year to earn recognition through hard work. Just in case you thought that after the vaccine has done its thing, you’ll be able to chill on some summer beach. No, the Chinese tell us. It’s the year of hard work and earnest duty. Which brings us, fittingly, back to Bertrand Russell.
“My purpose is to suggest a cure for the ordinary day-to-day unhappiness from which most people in civilised countries suffer, and which is all the more unbearable because, having no obvious external cause, it appears inescapable,” writes Bertrand Russell in his 1930 book ‘The Conquest of Happiness’. It is not a book on philosophical theory. Instead, Russell draws on his own life, his own experiences as an unhappy child and young man, to try and understand what makes us unhappy — and how we could be happier.