From his interview yesterday on the Diane Rehm show, starting at about the 3:30 mark:

AD3: “Frankly, I have this belief (that) if you scratch the surface of any human being, across the country, across the world, at any moment of any day, even right this moment, everybody’s in some kind of trouble. It’s normal. It’s just part of human existence. I think that in America, we freak out about that. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods, that we think we’re supposed to be happy all the time, especially if we’re successful.”

DR: “It’s in the constitution!”

AD3: “Yeah. ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ And I think that’s done a disservice. I think the older cultures know, the ones we all come from, that life is hard, life is beautiful, life is joyous, life is tragic. Life is that, all at once, every day, and I think that if we just accept that we’re a symphony and not a one-note band of a smiley face, we can accept the fact that there are challenges that we’re supposed to face and supposed to overcome.”

I lose him a bit at the end there, about the need for us to overcome challenges, but Dubus (son of Mbird fave Andre Sr.) is right on when it come to the tyranny of happiness in America and the devastating impact it is having on us in the areas of anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc. Ironically, people are happier when they know that they don’t have to be happy all the time. Furthermore, in my opinion, it is impossible to understand the Bible, the ministry of Jesus, yourself or people in general unless the essential tragedy of human existence is understood and accepted. He came for sick, suffering sinners…