Textile View #128
WINTER 2019 CRESCENT MOONLIGHT
Are we living in a post-happiness world? The question is being raised. According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 countries based on inhabitants’ perceptions of their wellbeing, happiness in the United States is declining. Americans said they were less content in 2018 than a year earlier, ranking at number 19 in the list, behind Australia (11) and Canada (9). The UK comes in at number 15. The 24-hour news cycle, combined with the onslaught of natural disasters, social upheaval, political strife and economic uncertainty is challenging much of the world and psychologists say anxiety is on the rise.
Experts define happiness as a positive state of overall wellbeing combined with a sense that one’s life has meaning. Joy, by contrast, is delight in moments that, by their nature, are fleeting: we don’t need to be happy to feel joy. That could be why consumers are in love with ephemeral events and moments, such as the Hanami cherry blossom viewing festival in Japan or catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Certainly, marketers have caught onto the concept of ‘joy’. It is used to sell boxes at Ikea. It is included in ads for drinks at McDonald’s and as a prescriptive for female hygiene. There are T-shirts that shout joy as an ‘act of resistance’. There is the Chasing Joy podcast. And a number of books are being published this year devoted to joyful living, covering topics such as marriage, productivity, and positive thinking.