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Why the Americans So Unhappy: Two Articles Review Essay

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2022

Introduction

Eric Weiner’s “The Geography of Bliss” and “The Creation of Discontent” by Juliet Schor illustrate various aspects of pathos. The two authors spent a significant amount of time reporting from discontented locales as foreign correspondents like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Indonesia. This paper aims at analyzing the aspects of pathos according to the two authors. It also describes the cause and effect analysis of the reasons why the Americans seem to be so unhappy. Lastly, the paper will focus on what makes happiness so elusive to other people according to the commentaries by both Schor and Weiner.

Main body

As illustrated in “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner, unhappy people who live in the intensely unstable states though inspire pathos and make “for good copy,” do not make “for good karma.” Due to this, Weiner did research all over the globe and came up with “unheralded happy places.” The aspects of pathos resulted. According to him, equal parts of the world laugh out loud philosophically. This is a journey to both the destination for and definition of true contentment. “The happiest places in the world through unexpected include Bhutan, India and Iceland” (Small, p. 344). In Weiner’s visit to Moldova, he found merit worth claiming. The question that the two authors are tackling remains: What makes people happy? They try to check whether this happiness is a result of the myriad restrictions of Singapore or the freedom from the West, whether it results from the glittering shopping malls in Qatar or just the simple ashrams of India. Eric Weiner and Juliet Schor offer profound observations on how people relate to fate and circumstances. The two authors do this from the drunkenness of the youth of Iceland and the despond of Slough (Weiner, p. 98).

Americans seem so unhappy at least according to Eric Weiner and Juliet Schor. According to the two, happiness is an emotion and/or an idea. Different people have different ideas about what happiness is to them. I.e. what happiness feels like, what constitutes a happy day and who is involved. Americans have always been a head-on our life as a whole beyond what one can achieve. Therefore happiness is something that is out of our grasp. The Americans seem so unhappy; this may be due to the heavy burden the people of America feel they owe to the economy. The standards of living are now unpredictable and some anticipated the worst living standards for future children compared to their current standards of living. The aspect of fixing the economy seems to the people of America as just creating a positive environment. They feel there is a lot of uncertainty in putting the industry of health care in limbo which may result in some negative aspects of the economy (Small, p. 346).

According to Eric Weiner’s “The Geography of Bliss,” other people form the greatest source of our happiness. He asserts that money only isolates people from their colleagues and builds walls around us. This to him is a reason why the people from America may seem unhappy. He says for instance that people move from mere college dormitories to apartments and great houses. In case of great wealth, these same people may move to estates, and “this only wall them off to themselves and not make them climb the socio-economic ladder” (Schor, p. 54).

According to the commentaries of both Eric Weiner and Juliet Schor, happiness may be so elusive. This may be due to certain misguided ideas about the meaning of true happiness and how it is nurtured. The two authors assert that people do not take time to contemplate the meaning of happiness neither do people create time to contemplate the kind of actions and thoughts that would create happiness in their life. This makes happiness so elusive because people are usually uncertain in the manner in which they articulate the feelings they have. According to the two authors, happiness is merely an emotional experience and a feeling that is common with distinct experiences. For instance, when one solves a crossword puzzle or helps tourists in finding a museum, they have a feeling that is common (Steinbeck, p. 207).

Happiness however remains elusive since people have failed to predict what makes them happy and even remember how happy they were at an experience. People are only good at telling the happiness they feel at the current moment if you ask them how they feel. Eric Weiner in his commentary asserts that people are not good at predicting how they will be happy in a future situation or occasion. He goes ahead and argues that this may be due to the bad theories we have about happiness. “The people’s culture and genes have misinformed them on what brings them happiness” (Weiner, p. 100).

Conclusion

In summary, the aspects of pathos in this paper according to Eric Weiner and Juliet Schor have been included. The paper has analyzed the aspects of pathos according to the two authors. It has also described the cause and effect analysis of the reasons why the Americans seem to be so unhappy. In the above paragraph, the paper has placed focus on what makes happiness so elusive to other people according to the commentaries by both Schor and Weiner (Steinbeck, p. 210).

Works Cited

  1. Schor, Juliet. The Creation of Discontent: The overworked American. New York: Basic Books, 1993. Print.
  2. Small, Meredith. The Culture of our Discontent. London: National Academic Press, 2006. Print.
  3. Steinbeck, John. Winter of our Discontent. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Print.
  4. Weiner, Eric. The Geography of Bliss. New York: Black Swan, 2008. Print.
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