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Happiness and postmodernity

In today's world, happiness is perceived as a fragmented idea. Finding people equate happiness with success, material possessions, and social media popularity is common. The pursuit of happiness has become a constant rat race, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Happiness is often portrayed as an unattainable ideal that can only be achieved through external validation. Social media platforms have made it worse by creating unrealistic standards of beauty, wealth, and success, fueling the belief that we are not happy unless we meet these standards. This constant comparison game takes a toll on mental health and leads to feelings of inadequacy, disconnection, and emotional dependency.

From a psychoanalytic perspective, happiness is closely linked to personality and the process of psychic organization—a byproduct of what Wilfred Bion called the alfa function. Anpha function refers to the ability to create meaning out of unconscious raw contents; the process in the mind transforms chaotic sensory experiences into cohesive and thinkable mental representations. At the heart of alpha function is the ability to tolerate frustration and uncertainty. This is critical because life is often unpredictable, and circumstances change quickly.

"The price we pay for our advancement in terms of civilization is a loss of happiness…”—Freud in Civilizations and Its Discontents, 1933.

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