« Robert Rowland Smith On Being Happy | Main | Alain de Botton on Gratitude »

March 08, 2010


Daniel Snell

Mark we have met and 'hello' to you.

i was contemplating this very thought just this weekend.

i realised, i don't even have to come into contact with someone, just sense them, or see them from a far, and i consciously and unconsciously pick up and mimic things.

perhaps their purposefulness, their pace, their annoyance, frustration, tempo. but perhaps at a deeper, and cellular level, their ideas, their beliefs, their cultural values. hidden in their body posture, the muscle tone, their gate, their clothes, the way their wear their clothes.

literally thousands of signals, we pick up, messaging at ways we just can't fully comprehend.

Trisha de Borchgrave

I think the essense of wishing others well and enjoying their successes is easier to attain in more equal societies. Where the divide between have and have-nots is great, such as the UK (materially but especially still class-ridden) the prevailing sense of resentment (it is the UK media that often mentions individual incomes when writing about a particular person) dominates the cultural relationship in society. There is a dinstict lack of sympathy, let alone empathy, for those who might be enduring hardships if they are generally considered "well-off" and for those from un-educated backgrounds because they probably "brought it upon themselves".
In other countries with a greater social equality, for example the United States, there is a general positive regard for those sharing the same country - a feeling of "citizens of the same community" which palpably creates a sense of well-being wished upon others. Having lived in various western countries for significant periods of time (The UK/ the US/ Spain/France), the only one where I watch what I say in case I sound a little too happy is the UK. In all others, I have not only celebrated friends' successes but I have been genuinely congratulated in my own moments of good news because, as you say, the joy in someone else's life, is a joy shared.

The comments to this entry are closed.