Last month a friend sent me email of a book review from the Wall Street Journal. The book under review was “Against Happiness” by Eric G. Wilson, professor of English at Wake Forest University. The reviewer states the following: In America, happiness is what makes life good, and unhappiness is what makes it bad. … The "happy types," as he calls them, are apt to be bland, superficial, static, hollow, one-sided, bovine, acquisitive, deluded and foolish. … Mr. Wilson's basic thesis is that, without suffering, the human soul becomes stagnant and empty. We can only reach our full potential through pain -- not a pathological kind of pain but the kind that comes from a recognition of death, decay and the bad day (or decade). We must live between the poles of sadness and joy and not try to expunge misery from our lives.
The review reminded me of a theme of one of my favorite books, “Brave New World.” It records what happens when we ”try to expunge misery from our lives.” We end up with a “bland, superficial, static, hollow, one-sided, bovine, acquisitive, deluded and foolish” existence.