on 10 April 2011
This is such an brilliant book, an excellent antidote to all those nauseating self-help books which purport to tell us all how to change our lives and make us all so happy. This book may indeed change your life and may well make you a happier person.
Saying all that though it is not a zippy slogan ridden read. It's a work that requires effort, thought and time. It is also a grown up scholarly piece. From someone who usually sticks to fiction it has made a delightful change.
on 12 March 2011
It is not often these days to be mesmerised by the language of great orators and writers.
Pascal Bruckner, and Steven Rendall (translator) have produced a masterful book for the English language readers, who will love the use of the words, even when disagreeing with some of the content.
In song we have had a range of people prescribing happiness: Bobby McFerrin: "Don't worry, be happy"; and Mary J. Blige's "Be Happy". Bruckner's language is no less melodic.
Bruckner declares: "I am opposing not happiness but the transformation of this fragile feeling into a veritable collective drug to which everybody is supposed to become addicted in chemical, spiritual, psychological, digital and religious forms. The most elaborate wisdom and sciences have to confess their inability to guarantee the felicity of peoples and individuals. Felicity, every time it touches us, produces a feeling of having received a grace, a favour, not that of a calculation, a specific mode of behaviour. And perhaps we experience the good things of the world, opportunities, pleasures, and good fortune to a degree that we would have abandoned the dream of attaining Beatitude with a capital letter.
To the young Mirabeau, we would like to reply: `I love life too much to want to be merely happy'" (Bruckner, Perpetual Euphoria, 2010, p. 6).
This brilliant book is worth reading several times, and unlike most books, it gets better each time.