Ashley FrawleyApr 10, 2020
Ashley Frawley on Happiness and the Present
New Books Network 2020
“In a society that has no future, the present gains exponentially in importance.” In the time of Corona, what are we to do with happiness? Today’s guest is an expert on the subject and the well-being industry. Dr Ashley Frawley studies the relationship between the ideology of self-care, technologies of the self and wider social policy and practice. In her book, The Semiotics of Happiness, she explores the roots of happiness and its inclusion as a goal of wider society. We discuss Mindfulness, its rise, and possible wane, and the ideas that underpin the culture of self-development, as well as what might come after the Mindfulness fad. We talk about the current pandemic and the impact if might have on the obsession with the self. “If your purpose in life is emotional well-being then any upset is an attack on your whole purpose in life.” Topics covered include; • Is happiness increasing or decreasing after decades of experimentation with practices such as self-esteem, self-development, and Mindfulness? • What happens to a society that has no future, or no real collective future goals? • Mindfulness as the acceptance that we cannot change the world, or resolve social problems: a commitment to passivity. • Is mindfulness on the wane? If so, what magic bullet comes next? • Spiritual narratives and the one cure to save them all; how technologies of the self escape critique. • Mindfulness promoted as a magical bullet • Have we given up on solving social problems in meaningful ways? • The role of tradition and our commitment to something greater than ourselves vs freedom to apparently do whatever you want. • Self-obsession and centering happiness within yourself leads to misery • Our search for meaning and truth have turned inwards; as there are no external projects for meaning making people seeking meaning from self-help books, rules for life, quick cures. • Humans need collective, future orientated projects, where we have agency and can act on the world • Misanthropy as a consequence of the focus in on the self; profound distrust in humans. Music: Odd Nosdam.