«Don’t worry, be happy!»



«Don’t worry, be happy!» I’m hungry. «Don’t worry, be happy!» I’m cold. «Don’t worry, be happy! I have a rubbish job with a salary that doesn’t make ends meet. «Don’t worry, be happy! I have a son who needs me and I can’t be with him. «Don’t worry, be happy! I have to take care of my parents, who are old, dependent, and sick. «Don’t worry, be happy!» I am alone, my family is far away from here, and I am going crazy. «Don’t worry, be happy!» «Everything will be all right «If you follow your dreams…» But… How is it possible to be happy like this?

How is it possible to assume the painless discourse of happiness and satisfaction amid real scenes as desperate as the ones we know exist? What makes us capable of wearing the smile of a selfie with such nonchalance in the midst of so many personal and family catastrophes as we live and know? What prevents me from thinking that there are tons of suffering amid a tide of people loaded with recyclable bags, filling all the bars, the terraces, the restaurants, and the branded shops of all the shopping centers?

We don’t have very reliable answers. Perhaps a few intuitions. G. Rovirosa, to whom we celebrate an annual tribute in the Christian Cultural Movement, used to say that when the essence of a person, vocational and supportive by nature, is stolen; violence of such a caliber is inflicted that it can only be falsely compensated for by prostitution, prison, and asylums. Rovirosa sensed that we have lost our awareness of reality and we have lost real freedom, which is the source of duties that precede rights. And that means that we have ended up living outside reality – remember Coca-Cola’s «sensation of living»? – and in a false freedom that is based on the paradise of self-indulgent pleasure.

Let’s read the article in the central section of this magazine:

«The violation of dignity is only supported by ever higher doses of evasion and all kinds of drugs: those of substance, with alcohol in the first place, and those that do not require substances. The physical and the virtual. It is about the individual not confronting the darkness of his mind, for if he does, he will realize that he is in a deep crisis».

We endorse it. And we submit it to dialogue. Compulsive consumerism of manufactured desire is at the top of this list of addictions.

And we do not want to be right. If we are talking about Spain, it has long been strikingly striking that we hold mind-boggling records for escapism and drugs. In other words; of self-destruction.

We are the country in the world with the highest consumption of benzodiazepines, sedatives with an anxiolytic effect. We also lead the world in the consumption of antidepressants. The drug business has reached historic levels in Spain. Our country is also the largest consumer of prostitution in the world and we have become one of the main brothels in the world. The latest report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2023) places Spain as the second country with the highest alcohol consumption in the world. We could go on.

If we add to this spiral of self-destruction (slow suicides), in which we have not included addictions that do not involve substances, the negative birth rate data (pure and simple distrust of the future with many or few reasons for it), or mortality by suicide (the leading cause of unnatural death among young people), the product to which we aspire with the label of «happiness» is, to say the least, suspicious.

No one should question the legitimacy of a life that yearns for meaning, for happiness. And that is precisely why we should be very wary of what is being exploited in the name of this aspiration. In its name, every stable and lasting relationship is a heavy burden; a child is a problem and a negligence; strong bonds and commitment entail sacrifices that are not worth making; inevitable suffering, meaninglessness that dignifies death; slavery and conformity, the honorable price to pay for security, power, and pleasure.

No one, we repeat, should question the legitimacy of a meaningful life. We all have the intuition that this is possible when, perhaps because someone or something has awakened in us the awareness of our infinite dignity, we stop looking for ourselves and can give the best of ourselves to others. We then receive a hundredfold, that is to say, the joy that comes from the conscience of the one who knows he is indebted to Life. Happiness is not a product. Perhaps it is more like a search. A tireless search, not without doubts and sufferings, for truth, beauty, and goodness that finds on its way rays of light, and friends, luminous enough to keep on walking with true hope.