Friday, September 10, 2004
Mental illness and cultural relativism
I'm incredibly fascinated by this. For the full text, please visit here.
"...how people narrate their own experience will be influenced by culture. Happiness is a particular cultural value. In North America, it is important to indicate your success by exclaiming your happiness. In many other cultural contexts, however, people don't view the point of life as being happy; they may view it as being productive, as being honorable, as being a contributing member to society or to a family. I think the idea that we should be happy is a particularly American value. It fits very well with consumer capitalism, where the route to happiness is the consumption of products. It's certainly possible that the strategies someone uses to pursue well-being (such as through economic productivity) have built into them inevitable unhappiness, but we're not really encouraged to question our value system."
E-mail me at Currer1013-at-yahoo-dot-com if you have any thoughts. I'm not sure where it goes from here, but it's going somewhere.