Why does happiness make a killing ?

We’re back, and after a long hiatus—did you miss us?  We could say we were on a Kundalini retreat in Tibet, but not really!  It was just vacation, the return a bit agitated, but no real excuse.  OK, let’s get ready for a new year of trends…

To get off on the right foot, we wanted to buy ourselves a bit of happiness.  Which isn’t the same thing as to offer ourselves a bit of happiness, in case you didn’t read it right…this little pinch of nastiness grabbed us in the personal development aisle of the corner bookshop, a very edifying place.  The star of this autumn, that everyone’s talking about is Nunchi, “the Korean Wellness Concept”.  And what exactly is that?  Oh, nothing much except for being a lifestyle guide over 5000 years old, a mere nothing.  In brief, it’s the act of grasping what other people are thinking and learning how to anticipate their needs (Nunchi means eye measure in Korean).  So, nothing too crazy.  Keep quiet before speaking and try to gauge the signals sent by others before responding, it could be the least you need to do in societal life…but we’re not here to judge Nunchi, actually we don’t really care.

Just how many happiness recipes, from other cultures, have they tried to flog us with in the last three years?  Let’s recap.  In the beginning, around 2016, it was Hygge…you remember that one!  An avalanche of subjects all over, about the voluptuousness of hanging out by the fire in slippers, a mug of herbal tea in hand.  And it was an enormous editorial success (you can decline ad nauseum, deco, cooking and knitting, Hygge is good for everyone!) considering that it was nothing more than a Danish rehash of that good old idea of cocooning…Those clever little editors immediately said, at least we imagine that they did, “Let’s fill the gap, Nordic happiness, they’ll eat it up, these schlubs!” In 2017 it was Lagom, a Swedish concept this time, a form of happiness equilibrium, founded on the idea of the happy medium, not too much or too little.  Just good sense:  less clothes, less objects les techno, less junk food! Lagom worked less well than Hygge, but enough so that the happiness vents remained open.

Stepping in to the breach of 2018, just to change a little, the Scottish Cosagach (yes indeed, a Gaelic remake of the Danish Hygge), the Nippon Ikigai (the Japanese secret to a long and happy life, we’ll let you figure that one out on your own), the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono -- lots more difficult to pronounce than Poke Bowl– where the main principle is to internalize the magic formula “Sorry, thank you, I love you” in every potential conflict.  I think we got that…

In 2019, with eco-anxiety rising, they’re proposing a new Nordic shot, the assiduous practice of Norwegian FriluftslIv (an unpronounceable name that advocates the saving grace of fresh air), just a bit hard to remember!  Next came Coori, another plan from the decidedly verbose Scots, vaunted this time as champions of connection with nature! Which brings us around to this autumn’s Nunchi…nothing but happiness!

And what’s next?  The excellent @philosophyissexy attracted our attention last week about the Keyif, Turkish term which describes a way to be peaceful.  Keyif, we read, is about finding a moment to be yourself and to quietly live the moment.  You’ve actually said nothing, but we really like the idea keyif, or as the French say, we kif keyif (the first being clearly the etymological offspring of the second). 

Does this litany of abstruse names exhaust you?  Us too…we could do a number on the disarray of occidental societies, their search for lost raison d’être, their need for points of reference, yada, yada, yada which often drives them to tragic extremes, but sometime it’s only to order books on happiness in a kit, preferably exotic. But actually, it exhausts us even more! We suggest that if you want to tire yourself out seriously, enroll in the free on-line course of happiness from Laurie Santos, Yale professor and founder of Happiness Lab.  It goes for 10 weeks, in English, and there’s even homework!  As for us, we’re going to have a drink, our personal recipe for moral and physical happiness, and for which we’re looking for a catchy name.  All contributions are welcome!