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Happiness Paradox

This chapter, titled Feeling Free, is all about freedom and humans need to feel it. Ziyad Marar begins the chapter comparing happiness to freedom, saying how “[freedoms] current expression has a relatively recent and local” (Marar 39), which is similar to his view on happiness. Marar goes on saying how people have been striving for freedom, but claims more freedom brings bad consequences. People are blinded by mass media, the consumer society, management gurus, therapists and Hollywood who all relentlessly preach about freedom and self-expression.

He ends the first section by stating that people need to “celebrate freedom without denying its corrosive qualities; even to admire those very qualities” (Marar 43). Since freedom is a something humans naturally strive for, and the main driving force in modern civilization, it has a strong impact on most things that humans do (Marar). The next two sections talk about how humans find freedom in the wild and in self-creation. Society is a form of conformity, which “loses you time and blurs the impression of your character” (Marar 46) and it is human nature to not be held down by conformity.

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This creates a need to be in the wild, away from everything society has to offer, an escape. Marar connects this to the idea of becoming lost in one’s imagination, or the lack of it. As children we are consumed by our world of imagination, using our creativity and self-expression in its purest form, something lost in adults. Children are free to do and say as they please, they are not tied down by the conformity that adults are.

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This lack of freedom and expression in adults can be compared to a restriction of our humanly instincts, since it is human nature that we find the need to be free (Marar).

Marar goes on to relate freedom to sex, death, and the ‘search for strange’. “Perversion, obsessions, the apparent mutability of the most mundane objects into the stuff of erotic fantasy, all remind us that the realm of eroticism is dominated by the need to walk on the wild side. ” (Marar 53). Sex is something that, like freedom, is something humans instantly strive for, and like freedom is restricted through civilization trying to make us conform to the social norm. Humans seek freedom in sex, it is a time when our inner most instincts come out. This freedom comes in two forms, the freedom to and the freedom from.

We all have the freedom to discover, create, and fantasize, but only some are free from structures, schemes, codes, and above all other people. Freedom of people opposes the claim that humans need to feel justified, since justification is all about other people. The section ends by stating how death is the ultimate form of death, and agrees with Freud and his though of the death instincts and how all human life is striving towards death, for it is the final escape to freedom (Marar). The last section of the chapter is about the freedom from language, or the perspective of others.

He uses the holidays as an example, the way we remember them though pictures and stories. Through retelling we move away from the personal aspect the memory has, it seems “to create a concept to flee from language” (Marar 57). To pursue this freedom, to the point when you are uninterpretable to others, is when people start to see you as crazy or insane. This is where the paradox lies, for we seek freedom and justification but to be free is to stop caring for the justification of others. On the other hand with justification of others you are giving up your freedoms (Marar).

Cite this page

Happiness Paradox. (2018, Aug 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/happiness-paradox-essay

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