A few years ago, the federal government had investigated what the Germans mean by “living well” and a “Good life”. Selected citizens have given insights into their state of mind for this “report on the quality of life”. For the respondents, the “good life” includes, above all, the absence of war and decent pay. Who would have thought that? So the ideas of the “good life” did not seem to be as post-material as it is often claimed. The whole thing was reminiscent of a debate that has been going on for decades: Is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the right indicator for the well-being of a country and its people?. This was also the case back then on Bavarian television, where the talkshow round table met every Sunday at the fictional film village Lansing under the moderation of the former FOCUS editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort. An illustrious group was invited, including the actress Cordula Trantow, an zealous member of the Green Party. The group focused on the causes of migration and the disruptive factors in the economy, whereupon Ms. Trantow suddenly remarked that one should take Bhutan’s new economic system as a model. The constitutional goal of Bhutan was the Gross National Happiness of the population. Embarrassed faces, nobody really knew what the lady was talking about. Bhutan has abandoned the previous concept of Gross Domestic Product of the economy and replaced it with the much broader concept of Gross National Happiness. The criticism of the Gross Domestic Product as an essential economic indicator is as old as there are economic sciences. Above all, it is criticized that the GDP does not take qualitative aspects into account, so it is more a ton ideology that subsumes destruction as well as construction under economic growth. Defenders of the Gross Domestic Product point out that this is true, but that GDP is still an important indicator of economic activity – and that it also included holistically other economic indicators in an overall view. That is not enough for supporters of Gross National Happiness. Gross National Happiness includes balanced growth, taking into account the ecology, the mental and physical health of the population and the preservation of tradition, religion and customs, folk culture. This includes, among other things, the smoking ban imposed in Bhutan, which applies to all subjects, except for the king, who can continue to live well as a chain smoker.
But there are also other fundamental questions: How do you measure the mental health of the population and their happiness?
Are these just psychiatrically clearly defined diseases? Or is happiness here compulsorily prescribed to a people who should feel happy?
Should one increase Gross National Happiness through positive thinking prescribed by the people, eternal Asian smiles, avoidance of conflict-laden discourses, state-certified compulsive optimism, general cheerfulness and supposed harmony?
Which government agency should measure the people’s mental health using which criteria? A Ministry of Happiness?
What about those people who do not feel happy – are they then disruptive factors and saboteurs of the prescribed Gross National Happiness? Do they have to be made happy by government measures?
Such a popular happiness totalitarianism exists, for example, in North Korea, where everyone pretends to be the happiest inhabitant of the happiest country in the world. There is an obvious danger of forced happiness and psychiatric treatment by the state. The Greens should actually be the first to protest against it (although they often advocate state paternalism and sometimes enforce it politically). Would those affected by the widespread people´s disease depression be erased from the statistics? So that Gross National Happiness is right and growing again in the statistics?
In India, for example, the Hindu nationalist Modi government is already subsidizing World Yoga Days and World Laugh Yoga Days in order to make human happiness perfect. The Gross National Happiness in Bhutan also dictates the preservation of folk culture. It is remarkable that the Greens are working hard for this, because what is seen as positive for the small Buddhist state in the Himalayas is nothing more than the constitutional obligation to a binding guiding and lead culture (Leitkultur) , which the Greens in Germany reject as CSU racisms and nationalism. It is also interesting that the Dalai Lama speaks out against mixing Western cultures with other cultures. The Green multicultural people do not see this coments of the Dalai Lama as as ethnic or cultural racism, since it grew on the trunk of the universally adored Buddhism. In any case, the Dalai Lama and the Gross National Happiness of Bhutan are pretty close to the conservative CSU when it comes to the guiding and lead culture (Leitkultur) .
Let’s see how the discussion about Gross National Happiness evolves. A study commission of the German Bundestag was set up on this subject in the Merkel era. Perhaps the Chancellor will come up with the idea of promoting Gross NationalHhappiness through a Ministry of Happiness. As part of the “Gut Leben”( Good life project, the federal government wanted to develop an “indicator system” that would show how high the quality of life is in Germany. “That doesn’t suggest anything good,” warned the FAZ in a comment. This debate is now a thing of the past. The Merkel government has canceled such „Live well“ and “Good life”alibi events, which should rather show that the rulers are concerned about a happy life for their subjects, they no longer care and one is again interested primarily in opinion polls on voter behavior as such desires and questions within the population might encourage real demands for a change of society. The Ethics Committee also had no effect, and no opposition party spoke of Gross National Happiness, fortunately a Ministry of Happiness was not created either, but a Homeland ministry under which the subjects should find their happiness in the concept of home and homeland (Heimat) and however they imagine home always imaginary in view of the alleged uprooting. individualization and supposed homogenization of globalization. After the lead and guiding culture(Leitkultur) debate failed, because one could not agree on what as lead culture actually was, the discussions about roast pork, beer, the Christian image of men and the constitution, including the constitutional patriotism of the inevitable Heribert Prantl, wavered and no one wanted to stipulate or enforce it by the state , the discussion then turned to the abstract concept of home and homeland (Heimat) , in which the subject should find the general connection and a projection object that promotes the feeling of togetherness of his own individual power of imagination and decoration for the happiness of the subject. Especially since the lead and guiding culture was enriched by Rammstein and bands and their contributions such as “Germany/Deutschand”, Leni Riefenstahl music videos like “Stripped” or songs like “This is deutsch”/This is German” gained more attraction among young listeners in Germany and worldwide, many critics claimed that this sort of Leitkultur profaned, vulgarized and obscenized the culture of the People of the poets and thinkers (Volk der Dichter und Denker) , as Germany was not the People judges and executioners (Volk der Richter and Henker) , although Rammstein is better known and more popular in the USA than Goethe and all the Goethe Institutes worldiwde.
Therefore the lead and guiding culture debate (Leitkultur) has been replaced by the home and homeland debate (Heimat) , home affection, emphasis on alleged regional peculiarities and mentalities have enjoyed inflationary popularity since then, from regional crime novels and crime thrillers and aslo the left tried to use Heimat and homeland for their own purpose, whether Left Party, Greens or SPD. In his book „Linke Heimatsliebe“, Thomas Ebermann shows quite well how subjects should find their supposed individual happiness in their homeland and that this was a broad reaction from government agencies and mainstream parties since the emergence of the fascist „home(land) parties“ FPÖ and AfD, which is why the CDU / CSU immediately managed to create a home(land)/ ministry (Heimatministerium) , which, in the opinion of conservative critics, cares too much about digitilaization and transport policy instead of the real home and the homeland (Heimat), while for left-wing critics, based on socio-economic categories, home and homeland (Heimat) is perceived as lack of critical infrastructrue of rural communities as the lack of public transport, hospitals, kindergarten, schools. and broadband networks socio-politically.
Otherwise, the state government leaves the happiness of the bourgeois individual and subjects to private providers, who work as motivational speakers, life coaches, fitness and health trainers, life phiolsophers and happiness distributors. Personality developers and happiness counselors of positive thinking and whatever else there is on the all-promising esoteric psycho-happiness market to find or to find private happiness in a partnership or individually in work-life balance. Common goal: to internalize the imposed constraints of capitalism and in its increased form of neoliberalism as supposedly natural law and inescapable factual constraints and to adapt to them socially Darwinist.
Some do not behave better than state-regulated North Korean subjects, only that they do this voluntarily and individually and have internalized it, in fact always wanting to outperfrom each other in their struggle and competition for indicidaul happiness .. Recently, however, the Corona crisis, like other crises and Friday for Future, has again sparked the question of a different life style and a happy life, with few thinking about a change in the economic and political system, but the majority more on a change in their own lifestyle and their individual attitude. The market adjusts it, adapt to it and it is up to you as your own self-optimizer of social constraints. But more than enough realists see that after the corona crisis these questions can or will recede, given the decline in economic growth in the Gross Domestic Product (nobody speaks of Gross National Happiness anymore), mass unemployment and precariousness, there will be no change in the economic or political systems but rather to its complete affirmation in order to compensate or overcompensate for its loss of growth and consumption renouncements and then to develop an affinity for authoritarian political systems. in order to make human happiness perfect.
Furthermore, in view of the Covid pandemic, there are also ideas for a new health totalitarianism. While the post-war period was mainly characterized by eAting wave 8Fresswelle9, a fat Wirtschaftswunderkanzler” / economic miracle chancellor Ludwig Erhardt also drank and smoked a cigar, the entrepreneur and capitalist were imagined as a cylinder-wearing, cigar-smoking, pale privy councilor with a waistcoat, the proletarian as a muscle-packed, tanned counterpart,but this relationship is now reversed in perception. The new generation of managers are slim, sunbrowned, health-conscious, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, while the cliché of a worker is now more nourished in a Hartz4 recepeint eating chips, smoking and sitting with his beer belly on the TV couch in an undershirt and sweatpants, who beats his wife and has the next of the numerous beers fetched from the refrigerator paid for by the social welfare office and treats the children badly. In addition, nobody wants to be a worker anymore and one wonders how these millions of wage earners want to define themselves. But the workers and the working class have long ceased to be regarded as the world historical subjects of the coming world revolution, as they were in earlier times, but as uneducated, and deeply inactive proletarian scum of the earths, especially as they have not carried out any major mass strikes in recent years, apart from the blackmailing industry unions , The number of DGB members has shrunk from 11 million in 1990 to 6 million today, Agenda 2010 promoted precariousness, wide areas of low wages and the lifting of collective union treaties by means of contract work and other subcontracting.
In any case, managers and senior executives are more in line with the idea of a healthy role model. You can also see this at the old talkshow “International morning pint” “Internationaler Frühschoppen” in the 60s and 70s.. While journalists and politicians met there over a lot of wine and cigarette smoke, as the programmatic title already suggested, to discuss world affairs, today ist TV talkshow successor “ Presseschau” “Press Review” is an event for non-smokers and fanatic water drinkers. Helmut Schmidt was the last archetype of this era who only allowed himself to be invited to talk shows if he was allowed to smoke contrary to the new health puritanism. Accordingly, Maischberger and Lorenzo’s book about him was also called programmatically “On one last cigarette”. At the latest since the fitness wave that began in the 70s as a result of the German Olympics and the body building and aerobic wave since the beginning of the 80s with the avant-garde aerobics Jane Fonda and Conan and Terminator and Conan the Barbarian Arnold Schwarzeneger, a trend wave for society as a whole was initiated, which then expressed itself in body cult, fitness studios, physical and non-intellectual self-optimization and health fanaticism. If the Greeks and Romans had propagated Mens in corpore sane, a healthy mind in a healthy body, now the body in particular seemed to replace the mind. This exclusive emphasis on the body, which then triggered the wave of wellness since the 2000s, was probably also too much for some health fanatics, in order to do something good for the soul, albeit not the mind and education, even though they probably thought the emotional and spiritual balance was spiritual and not purely physical. First body, then soul, maybe spirit or now with the mindfulness movement mind, but please no brain.
As a result of the corona crisis, health fanatics have also spoken out about biological selection. Why should healthy people restrict themselves when Corona allegedly only affects residual risk groups, whereby the previously tolerated 1/3 of the population was meant with diseases of civilization illnesses and unhealthy behavior that was previously tolerated due to some tolerance. Now it’s time to live or let die. The whole health apps are now also being considered in order to install and control public health nationwide and en masse and, like the CCP, to record and sanction them using a euphemistically named social bonus system which is using artificial intelligence, algorithms and big data – be it through increased health insurance contributions , bans and other sanctions such as letting people die or maybe even then a new people’s euthanasia. Health and a healthy, eternally young body is then seen as happiness and the exclusive primary basis for a happy life in a revitalized public health dictatorship, which in social Darwinian terms sees the higher productivity and productivity of healthy people in working happiness and a hoped-for eternal life. This total conception of the perfect, healthy, eternally living person is also partly addressed by Yuval Noah Harari in his book „Homo Deus“, which has a more posthumanitan touch. And who wants to live unhealthily, especially since a healthy life is also scientifically and biologically proven and legitimized? Everyone has to understand that and whoever is mentally and physically unhealthy and should be sorted out as unworthy and immoral life. It’s not a far as that yet. Hence a personal commitment. I’m more of a cozy couch potato, like to relax, read and write, like to lead intellectual and interpersonal discussions, also smoke and drink some light wheat beers and then take a few relaxing walks, maybe with someone to talk as the pure and lonely enjoyment of nature is non-communicative, boring and dreary and I stick with Churchill: Sports is murder or with George Orwell: Sport is war without the shooting. . Meanwhile, I am constantly receiving WhatsApp messages from friends who tell me the latest record kilometers of their bike tour, their daily profile of skiing routes, their best body indicators from oxygen content to heart rate on their health bracelets, their altitude and distance meters. as if they were wanted to be quoted in the Guiness Book of Records. At least I was able to prevent a neighbor from wanting to climb an 8000 meter mountain in the Himalayas. On the one hand I said him that the 5400 meters of altitude that I climbed at Torung La were risky enough (now a little sporty self-indulgence), on the other hand with the reference that he is the father of two children. His wife thanked me. In any case, these sporty and health extremes obviously do not answer the question of what a good and happy life is. Those guys never ask themselves this question, especially not in social or even political contexts, but they just think in their social Darwinist way of life like an egomanic, selfcentered and selfloving, narcist lonley wolf warrior who believe that everyone was the blacksmith of their health and happiness. And it even makes me even more unhappy if you see that it is becoming a mass phenomena- all those lonely wolfves as a mass mobement.#. The best way to remain happy is to keep distance to this healt ideology fanatics and artifical happiness lunatics.