Happiness as an act of resistance

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Is it right to be happy in a world that’s broken? That’s the question Simon de Beauvoir went to Albert Camus with. Beauvoir was worrying that being focussed on one’s own happiness meant one had to detach themselves from the political reality around them. But as long as our happiness isn’t born out of ignorance or apathy, as long as it’s authentic, even existentialists are allowed to be happy. In fact, they should be. Happiness can be a form of resistance against the injustice and absurdity of life, writes Skye Cleary.  As doom scrolling on social media becomes an addictive daily ritual, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed with feelings of unhappiness and helplessness. Given the relentless onslaught of pandemics, incessant political buffoonery, climate change, discrimination, exploitation, and generalized torment, in the wise words of Audre Lorde, “what depraved monster could possibly be always happy?”One defensive mechanism is apathy. There is so much suffering and horrors in the world…

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