The sadness conspiracy, and what to do about it

I lived through the truly obnoxious Nixon presidency, and people then were not as sad, or as angry, as they are now about President Obama. Mr. Obama was criticized recently for playing golf in California.

Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve, said it was misguided to criticize the president’s choice of golf destinations “given his incredible environmental record.”

“The one thing that’s going to really affect Southern California more than any other environmental effect is climate change, and this president has done everything in his power” to reduce greenhouse gases, Parfrey said. “The best way to participate in achieving environmental goals is not by wagging the finger.”—Los Angeles Times

We thought the Vietnam War was sad, and it was, but rather than learn from it we found a way to prolong sadness for ourselves in the Middle east. We are addicted to sadness. We send soldiers into harm’s way, and then we ignore them when they return with injuries. We have become masters of sadness.

Sadness, on a large-scale shared level, has been increasing throughout my life. We have a couple of problems embedded in this shift. One is that we do not acknowledge that our sadness is increasing. Another is that we do not inject ourselves with joy, and we do not contemplate success that can bring us relief.

Yuri and Kai are both fond of joy. I am fond of photographing them.

Yuri teaches Enakai the experience of joy. I wish we all would do that.

Our shared vision of the future is more bleak than at any previous time in my life. The remedy that I recommend is to reconnect with joy. There are some ready examples of joy that are available to us on YouTube. We did not have anything like YouTube when I was young.

I particularly recommend watching clips of dancers such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Here are some links. Most of the clips run less than four minutes.

Fred Astaire.  Fred Astaire with Eleonor Powell. And one more with Eleonor Powell. And Bob Hope dancing and clowning with James Cagny. And here Fred Astaire dances with the amazing Ginger Rogers.

It was once said of Ginger Rogers that she did all the same moves as Fred Astaire, but backwards, and wearing heels. I can’t argue with that.

I think it is important for young people to know that sadness has never been as intrusive as it is today. It has never had so many advocates, many of them are in the form of businesses that want to sell us toxic compounds to “cure” our ailments.

My advice is to restore joy to a place of prestige and honor. These little video clips are a source of inspiration. Let me know what you think of them, and of my message to you about the increase in sadness in this world. Thanks.

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