Wise words by British novelist Matt Haig (@) from his extraordinary book Reasons to Stay Alive – the true account of his struggle with and finally, triumph over the life-threatening illness of depression.
The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind.
To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.
Yet we have no other world to live in. And actually, when we look closely, the world of stuff and advertising is not really life. Life is the other stuff. Life is what is left when you take all that crap away, or at least ignore it for a while.
Life is the people who love you, the author continues – “No one will ever choose to stay alive for an iPhone. It’s the people we reach via the iPhone that matter.”
You can find more extracts from Matt Haig’s simple and beautiful memoir in this Guardian article from February 2015: “Men do cry: one man’s experience of depression.”
Featured: Times Square by User “MK Feeney,” CC BY 2.0, Flickr