Self-help movement in Kuwait needs help

Jeri Al-Jeri

Universally, people seek infinite happiness – a natural desire that nobody would want to debate whether or not it is a worthy goal. However, cultures have always had their special “sketch” on what is the perfect definition of a happy individual. China, statistically, houses the least happy demography. It has a complex concept of happiness that demands the loss of one’s self in the service of his or her society. Denmark has the highest rates of happiness and the most simple standard of who or what a happy person might be, summed up in the word “lykke” (being joyful), by simple treats of the likes of a chocolate bar or an appealing scent. It used to be that way on the other side of the new world – “happiness” is enshrined in the American constitution as a human right. And the UN considers it to be a “fundamental human goal”.

Things have changed, and globalization has made this earth of bustling continents into a small village with “copy-paste” education. So has this inestimable human value of happiness changed the way it used to effect economies.

Keeping in mind the rule of thumb that dictates that the more rare the concept of happiness is in a given culture, the more costly it gets. For example in America, the Merriam Webster definition of happiness is facing changes. The classical definition of happiness used to be “the state of being happy”. But is predicted by researchers to be radically changed to “the act of preserving a goal”, all due to the over whelming flow of books and seminars of the self-help movement that has a more Asian religiosity base orientation to it, or as a Canadian psychology professor labeled it – a kind of “self-deification”. “Change your life, fate and casualties with your positivity by simply paying this fee for that seminar or this book” is simply based on the grandiose assumption that all is acceptable for the sake of peak self-confidence.

The decline of religiosity in the West made the meaning of life an enigma and the way of life to be simply measured by “how efficient I can be to reach my goal that only my likeness led me to seek”. This attitude generates a readiness to be beguiled by seductive exaggerations. This self-help movement has been packed and sold to Kuwaitis along with the rest of what logistics has brought to us to Kuwaiti shores.

Fortunately, the same movement of professional psychologists in the West and other academics, who are fighting the self-help movement, have found Kuwaiti and Saudi colleagues who keep explaining to the masses how damaging these self-help “products”, as they are trademarked, can be for our cognitions and psyche. Tagging along the “soda-pop culture”, the self-help seminars have tagged themselves to the level of energy drinks that disregard how insanely hazardous they can be for the heart and the nervous system. Its marketing slogans can be summed up in this statement – “be infinitely happy now”. It is impossible to debunk such a quote because of its failure to conform to universal grammar and logic. In the end, “Money makes the world go…crazy”.

By Jeri Al-Jeri
[email protected]

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