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Why Italians Are So Unashamedly Unhappy

Why Italians Are So Unashamedly Unhappy

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Published by Anthony St. John
Unhappy Italians
Unhappy Italians

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Published by: Anthony St. John on Mar 31, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Why Italians Are So Unashamedly Unhappy 
The 2013 World Happiness Report 
, sponsored by the Sustainable Development SolutionsNetwork and edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs, lists Denmark asthe happiest nation in the world with a “happiness score of !"#$%" &o'o, the least happy country on the list of ()# nations, scored *"$%#" +our southern uropean countries were'raded so- %.
 Spain /#"%**01 2)
 3taly /#"4*(01 !4
 5reece /)"2%)01 and, .)
 6ortu'al/)"(4(0" &he document based its findin's on the followin' criteria- trust of anonymousindividuals1 the consciousness of bein' able to make chan'es1 income1 life e7pectancy1freedom to make life choices1 social support1 perception of corruption1 and 'enerosity" &he concept of happiness was divided into two varieties- at8the8moment emotionalhappiness and lon'8term, 'enerali9ed happiness" &his written document concernin' the theme of happiness brou'ht me back to anothertime and place- :n () ;arch ($!., under the auspices of the
Instituto Venezolana-ritani!o
and &he <ritish =ouncil, =aracas, >ene9uela, at “&he &ute,3 presented a lecture,
"n the Road to Happiness #ith the $o%elist and the Analyst o& the 'ind(
probably thinkin' at the timethat 3 would open a window to the world and permit it to understand a concept?such asfreedom, liberty, democracy,
that no one else in the history of philosophy had hadsuccess in definin'" /3t mi'ht be said, however, that <ertrand Russell@s
The *on+uest o& Happiness
is the very best ever written on the topic of happiness" 3 purchased a copy of itin a =aracas, >ene9uela bookshop in Au'ust ($.(" 3 have lent it to many friends over theyears, and one was my >ene9uelan alter e'o and student RamBn scovar Salom, onceminister of forei'n affairs in the =arlos AndrCs 6Cre9 administration" 3 underlined bits of Russell@s wisdom in red a habit 3 had picked up from Eilliam + <uckley, JrF, and RamBnunderlined them in pencil" >ene9uela, in the
2013 World Happiness Report(
scored !"4%$, *4
in the world, and 3 wonder now how many other >ene9uelan citi9ens read Russell@s classic work which has been reprinted many, many times since its ori'inal publication in ($%4"0Here is the introduction to my futile, somewhat chesty
concernin' the substance of happiness-
“Happiness brin's to mind a term which is difficult to define but easy to intuit" &he word very often attracts attention in Literature and ;oral 6hilosophy, and it has been deliberatedupon by Aristotle, John Stuart ;ill, Jeremy <entham and by the here and now authoritiesof psycholo'y?to name a few" ;ost of us will admit that happiness is, as a 'oal, eGuivalent in value to the hi'hest 'oodattainable by man, and to seek happiness is the mandate implored by family, friends, lovers,the cler'y and politicians"  Ehen one thinks about it, the term happiness conures for us a myriad of meanin's" Ehatever, it is possible to be happy in different de'rees" 3 may be happier than one of 
you1 a year a'o, 3 mi'ht have been less happy than one of you" 3t is possible that happinessmi'ht become less happiness or even unhappiness" 3t is possible for someone to be happy  when he or she is not happy with certain conditions of his or her life" 3t is possible forsomeone to possess numerous sensory pleasures and still not be happy"6hilosophers a'ree that two elements are constituents in makin' us happy- 3n order to behappy it is necessary that one likes those parts of oneIs total life pattern and thecircumstances surroundin' it which one thinks are conseGuential1 and, happiness mustpossess certain feelin's or emotions" &he first component implies a “measurin' up of themany facets of a personIs life, and the second precludes, obviously, continuous states of depression, 'uilt, an7iety, restlessness, confusion, an'er, and other antipathetical emotionalresistances"Happiness is not an all8or8nothin' condition, for sure" Ee may love our work but hate ourmana'er" Ee may adore our children but not love their mother or father" Ee may takepride in our country but wish to live in another" Here, a problem presents itself to thephilosopher" &o be happy do we have to be happy with all the attributes of life weconsider of 'reat conseGuence &hen too, how happy do we have to be with each featureNonetheless, philosophers do a'ree that a life which adheres to moral principles, is not'iven to e7cess, and which is imbued with some understandin' of the world and oneIsposition in it, makes for a happy life" And it helps if we are interested in other people, in'ood causes, in positive 'ratifications, and in life itself" Ehether this happiness is valid or invalid poses still another philosophical subect of dispute" +or instance, our children mi'ht find a delusive happiness in the adventures of some cartoon character when they try to satisfy an ur'e for a “non8violent violence, orattempt to allay an7iety by identifyin' with a deplorable character rather than his or her victim or even the heroic prota'onist" Happiness, when well8'rounded, subscribes to thoseconditions which represent, in a fair way, the tendencies in man to seek validity in what isunderstood to be the 'ood?to seek it in such a way that it obectifies our place in the world" Eho makes us happy /3@m happy 3@m not happyK0 :urselves, naturally" our happinessdepends on yourself /;arcel 6roust0" <ut let us not assume we are prevented fromlookin' for happiness in others" Ee poke around for lifeIs touchstones all the time" ;an isa social animal, an imitative bein'" &he universal consent of millions of people throu'houtthousands of years, has handed down to us innumerable truths, “happinesses, about life" Ee probe for happiness every day" &raditionally, individuals have 'ravitated to the leadersof institutionalised systems of reli'ious attitudes, beliefs and practices or even to politicalparties in order to satisfy their spiritual and social hankerin's" <ut, modern society hasfreGuently reected these persuasions" Eith no sect to fall back on, association with oneIsfellows has become a disinheritin' retro'ression?often nihilistic, often steeped in despair,certainly confused, certainly an7ious" And always increasin'ly unhappy"
M M M3t is probably honest to say that happiness?and other philosophically va'ue concepts suchas freedom, liberty and democracy?is a co'nitive content that cannot be adeGuately defined" Nevertheless, we all a'ree that we know what the meanin' of this word means? at least up to a point" Ehether you a'ree with me or not, please bear with me?and JohnHelliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs?in this essay that ar'ues that 3talians are very much unhappy" 3f 3talians would know that they are unhappy, perhaps they will dili'ently stru''le to arrive at a way to eventually become happyK3 will use the ei'ht criteria employed in the
2013 World Happiness Report
to “9oom in on3taly in an attempt to both enli'hten 3talians and then help them find happiness?or, atleast, a bit of it?and enlar'e the scope of the
2013 World Happiness Report,
3t is difficultenou'h to determine the import of the word “happiness,much more how Helliwell,Layard and Sachs accomplished this for ()# nations?somethin' beyond my comprehension" Nevertheless, the seriousness of this unhappiness difficulty in 3taly should not beundervalued" +lorence /+iren9e0, near where 3 live, is sufferin' an epidemic of clinicaldepression" Ehat would be the behaviour of +lorentine citi9ens if they had not access tothe le'al and ille'al dru's and medicines that they now e7orbitantly consume" !,444,444 of the (*,444,444 3talians who are over #) years of a'e?twenty percent of the 3talianpopulation /#4,444,4440?take at least four different prescribed medicines each day" Do3talians live e7ceptionally lon'er because they are dru''ed to do so How many billionshave Swiss and 5erman pharmaceutical con'lomerates earned by keepin' 3talians da9ed to what is 'oin' on in this world Ehy are 3talians so infelicitous knowin' that they mi'htlive lon'er than most others in the world A startlin' observation here must be considered" As many other chauvinistic uropeannations proclaim, 3taly, too, boasts of its *4448year herita'e with brio and e7cessive pride"Superbia re'ardin' its art, cuisine, architecture, poetry, novels, and traditions is constantly headlined for all to note" Ehy then has 3taly, and others, not been able to discover how tobe content &hey have had ample time to do so" (
 Trust of Other Nameless Individuals
 As so much of uropean history has been a chronicle of conflict and violence, it must besaid that 3taly has to be included in this dire itemi9ation" 3nvasions and wars spotli'ht3taly@s history" &hese periods of ferocity have indelibly marked the character of the 3talianpeople" &he maneuvers of maraudin' allies and their enemies in the Second Eorld Earstill pervade the memories of the 'randfathers and 'randmothers of 3talian citi9ens" &hereare war monuments wherever one looks" Hardly a week passes that a newspaper does not

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