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Personal Growth

The Thing Is We Don’t Really Want What We Think We Desire

Slavoj Žižek considers the pursuit of happiness to be dumb because we don’t really want it anyway.

Right at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence there’s that phrase: “pursuit of happiness.” But is that really what you want? Philosopher Slavoj Žižek has his doubts


“Let’s be serious,” Žižek says about being in a heightened creative, AKA flow, state. “Happiness doesn’t enter it,” he says, “You’re ready to suffer.” You may feel intensity, yes, excitement, yes. But happiness suggests satisfaction, and there’s nothing satisfied about a creative fever. It’s much more akin to a desperate want.

In any event, Žižek has decided, “We don’t really want what we think we desire.” He says that this is not an unusual event, either, but instead just the way human beings function.

I imagine Žižek would agree with the untraceably old adage: Be careful what you wish for. Meanwhile, you may need some Pharrell Williams right about now.

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Headline image: Henry Burrows


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