The Conquest of Unhappiness #80
Bertrand Russell on what makes us unhappy (2)
Welcome back to our year-long challenge to live six philosophies of happiness in our everyday lives! In the first part of this post, we talked about what are, for Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness, 1930) some of the reasons people are unhappy: fashionable pessimism, competition, boredom, and fatigue that comes from anxiety. Today, we will examine four more factors that contribute to unhappiness: envy, the sense of sin, persecution mania and the fear of public opinion. Let’s go!
“Of all the characteristics of ordinary human nature,” Russell writes, “envy is the most unfortunate; not only does the envious person wish to inflict misfortune and do so whenever he can with impunity, but he is also himself rendered unhappy by envy. Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has, he derives pain from what others have. If he can, he deprives others of their advantages, which to him is as desirable as it would be to secure the same advantages himself.”