Research

Happiness, seriously

To be concerned with happiness is to risk the perception of frivolity. Happiness is not perceived as a subject worthy of serious attention, particularly in contemporary art, in my experience. But as positive psychologists argue, the search for happiness is neither common sense nor thoroughly understood; additional inquiry is warranted from this point of view.

For those who cherish their notion that art about pain is more weighty or more serious, have a look at Italo Calvino’s short story, “The Adventures of a Poet.” The author describes the struggle to write about pleasure, and the familiar ease of writing about ugliness. In this way, perhaps it could be said that making art about happiness is more challenging.

Emory University features an archive of Calvino’s writings on their website. Have a look around.

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