Why do I see no happiness in pain
interviewPhilosopher Wilhelm Schmid No luck without bad luck
Does this uncorrected concept of happiness mean that everyone is considered a failure who does not lead a successful life according to this definition?
The concept of a successful life alone is as devastating as the concept of happiness. Because there is no such thing as a successful life. Life always fails to some extent. Relationships, professional activities, sometimes children, small everyday things fail. Nobody has yet found the switch to make everything work.
You see yourself as a philosopher of the art of living. Then what is this art?
It doesn't mean living a successful life. It's about living a full life.
But isn't it also important for people to have a dream of happiness?
Not really. It would be more important to look for a great challenge and master it. For example, starting a family, you have a lot to do and you can despair enough often. And the older you get, the happier you are with the children. But there are also other challenges that you can look for, for example a demanding job. And the same applies in this field: it not only makes you happy. In my job I had long unhappy phases, I just had to bite through. But that didn't interest me because I had never asked about happiness, I just wanted to be what I am.
Would you be just as happy if you were a poor eater without your books?
Yes sure. It was never certain that anyone would be interested in my books. I wrote it anyway. Much more important than happiness is meaning.
How do you define meaning?
Felt connection - to a person, to a job, to a being, to nature. It makes sense when we have a relationship with someone.
Why do we have such a hard time accepting the truth that bad luck is part of it?
Because modernity has promised people that paradise could be realized on earth. And science and technology have made every effort to make that happen. Not without success - medicine and technology today, for example, allow us to cure serious diseases. From this people have concluded that life can ultimately be controlled.
But it is more about averting unhappiness than the presence of happiness.
Yes, but people believe that the positive automatically breaks out the moment they have eliminated all negative. What is wrong. It won't work. We couldn't take it either. Goethe already said that nothing is as difficult to endure as a series of good days.
The perfection of oneself and one's own happiness is a social claim - whoever does not manage it has failed. How did we get this strange way of looking at life?
This is because modernity does not recognize fate. While premodern society is fatalistic, the modern dream of happiness harbors the opposite idea. The truth is somewhere in the middle. In any case, the idea of being able to determine everything contradicts reality. Coincidences happen all the time, we can't turn them off. It is a crazy idea that, for example, one has systematically searched for, found and occupied one's own life partner. That doesn't apply to anyone.
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