Wilderness Survival, Tracking, and Awareness

Happiness

Jensen: If you're not happy, it's your own damn fault.

Edwards: If life is tough and difficult, then that must be the way life is. You're born, you suffer, and you die. This idea is deeply ingrained in people. Our society really doesn't believe it's possible to be truly happy.

Jensen: Which is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Edwards: This system breeds a deep cynicism, because on some level we know it's the culture that's awful, not life. But because negativity about the culture isn't allowed—

Jensen: —because it would call into question all of the lies on which we base our lives—

Edwards: —it gets transferred over to life itself. People remain unaware that there are many other ways of life on the planet. I work with Helena Norberg-Hodge, who spent many years in Ladakh, the trans-Himalayan region of Kashmir. One thing she said in her book Ancient Futures is that, when she first got there, she couldn't believe the people were really as happy as they seemed. She thought, My God, how can they go around putting these smiles on? It's a social pathology. Eventually, however, it dawned on her: they really were that happy. You read the same thing time and again in the accounts of the European explorers. Columbus's primary impression of the Tainos—an aboriginal people in the West Indies that he and the Spaniards slaughtered—was of how happy they were.


Source: "Nothing to Lose But Our Illusions", an interview with David Edwards by Derrick Jensen.

Read more from the book Ancient Futures - Learning From Ladakh
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