segunda-feira, janeiro 26, 2009

"The pursuit of happiness" (não é literatura de auto-ajuda)

«Although I have no intention of attempting anything so rash as a 'history of mankind', I do believe that a history of happiness, at least initially, should be an intellectual history, a history of conceptions of this perennial human end the strategies devised to attain it, as these evolved in different ethical, philosophical, religious, and, I would add, political contexts, For whatever else might be (and it is, assuredly, many things), happiness in the West has functioned above all as an idea - an idea and aspiration that for particular reasons has exercised a powerful hold on the Western imagination. Given, as Freud recognized, the immense difficulty, even impossibility, of ever judging another's state of happiness with precision (indeed, of judging our own), I have chosen instead to focus on representations of the term and concept as these have developed over time. The changes [...] have been dramatic - so much that the "happiness" of yesterday bears only a scarce resemblance of the happiness" of today. But by charting the history of this development, and tracing the genealogy of what is now an overarching aspiration, I hope to show that there are important connections nonetheless.»
Darrin McMahon (prefácio, p. xiv)

Darrin McMahon. The Pursuit of Happiness. A History from the Greeks to the Present. Penguin Books / Allen Lane, 2006.