In ‘A Guide To Happiness’ – which was a recent British Channel Four documentary series presented by Alain De Botton – attention was given to Ancient philosopher Epicurus. This Greek had the idea that material things will not bring happiness, even though we are powerfully drawn to them. What we want does not necessarily make you happy.
His recipe for happiness was
- Friends – not just occasionally, but constant companionship
- Freedom – economically, and from having to work for a salary from an employer
- Philosophy – quiet time to retire and consider carefully you anxieties
The philosophy behind this idea was fairly involved, and spawned large communes that existed for long after the Greek culture itself.
Towards the end of the program, the presenter approaches an advertising firm called St Lukes to think up some anti-materialist banners, which would counter the usual advertising that seeks to stimulate greed and desire for more material things. Their response was a sarcastic campaign satirizing the materialistic bent of most adverts:
Banners for the Mall
Shop your blues away
Don’t Worry – Shop
Cheer up – Spend
Bad Day at Work?
Take it out on your Credit Card!
Or summing it all up:
Be Happy with Shopping, TV and a yearly Holiday
Fill that void in your life with a product.
The final choice however, was a clever one, that points out material things are ok, but do not assume happiness: