The Tyranny of Happy: On Contemporary Over-Performance
Where: The Strand
212-473-1452 Price: $20
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Jeanne Proust has studied Philosophy and Visual Arts in Bordeaux, Berlin, and Paris. Her research focuses on Théodule Ribot’s Diseases of the Will, both in philosophical and psychological perspectives. While teaching at different universities here in New York, Jeanne is advocating for a widening of philosophical education beyond the frontiers of academia.
To the conventional “How are you?”, most people would automatically answer the emphatic “GREAT” we all know, and rarely question.
Why display such a positive attitude towards the people who inquire about our wellbeing, even when our life might be falling apart?
In this Olio, we will explore the manifestations and possible reasons for the repulsion people feel for their suffering peers, and how that repulsion might be connected to the pressure for performance in a narcissistic “burnout society” we live in.
We’ll try to redefine what a more “authentic joy” could be and the benefits of a certain type of laziness, by discussing views we can find, for instance, in the essay “The Agony of Eros” by Byung-Chul Han, but also in several classical works of continental philosophy by Bertrand Russell, Pascal or Epicurus. Some quotes to ponder before our conversation: