Is the world really happy ~ being so … seen?

Are we okay?

Is being seen really about being … seen? Or, is it about money. Have we traded in our soul for profit?

Everyone is profiting from the positivity movement. I’m not so sure it’s a good thing. Except for those who sell it like a knock-off-designer bag on the streets of NY or whatever city you live in.

Is this then, how humanity now works?

Oliver Wolf Foster ~ resident performing artist @InkHoneyPub

Steve from Blue’s Clues came back to ask that. Researchers scrambled all year to produce their product … their research … on thriving, staying positive, and how to develop grit. Pft

We’ve turned chefs into celebrities and sports figures as celebrities and now? Positive Psychology writing Pop Culture books ~ celebrities?

In 2020-2021 I dissected and deconstructed everything in my life. I was part of the positive psychology movement since it’s inception but always considered an outsider ’cause I wasn’t wealthy enough or connected enough. I could have been. Both. I knew everyone. I worked with everyone who was anyone but hated that it was turning into an exclusive world for the wizards, without anything truly magical. I bought in right along with the rest of them.

Then one day, many moons ago, I was teaching a segment on happiness (my doctoral dissertation) when a student asked the question:

“Why Happiness? Isn’t contentment good enough. Why do we strive for happy when we are content with being content.”

Shit. She was right. I couldn’t disagree. I didn’t disagree.

That same class and same year, my personal life was already falling apart. That’s another story. But sort of relevant.

I was working in a state university and honestly? I think the state universities are just as well rounded as the Ivy League and private schools. I’d absolutely recommend them. The stuff I was teaching was mirroring the stuff I was talking about with my peers (who considered themselves superior based on rank and status).

The info. was coming directing from the Ivy’s. We idolize those schools ’cause they know how to market. They create a desire to want them by being so far removed from what we can obtain. Humans want what they can’t have while those that reach the top, boast and brag ~ it opens doors. That’s just a fact.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on

The Ivy League fellas are commanding $50,000 per speaking engagement. They have groupies and minions and hangers on.

When someone says, “no” to being in awe of them, they aren’t very happy about it.

Has this study of psychology gone to their heads or were they always that entitled?

I woke up and saw it and them completely differently.

I studied happiness. They studied happiness. I spent a chunk of change on education. They spent a chunk of change on education … or, they got a full ride fellowship ~ yeah, like the ring … yes, I’m speaking of the chosen ones who had to deliver the ring without corruption or fall into the pit of doom.

Working in higher education was a lot like Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.

I was a hobbit. I’m still a hobbit. I’m happy as a hobbit. 2nd breakfast and a simple journey w/delicious food. It’s perfect for me.

For me, I don’t want the ring, the top of the mountain or any gilded Ivy around me.

I’m more Bourdain than all the glittering golden rings of celebrity lecturing.

That’s okay. Just like, it’s fine and okay for those who are top side on the mountain. As long as they do no harm. Some are harming and that is where I stopped following.

Ego driven work always leads down the wrong, dark path.

But I digress. Some of us were set up for success.

Nepotism tastes sweeter then the lone journey while pinching pennies.

See there? Got all emotional and mixed up my metaphors.

I mean, the Ivy League has always had that reputation, so it would make sense.

Carefully cultivated juicy fruit, plucked for ripeness ~ delicious for the grooming. They write and research savoring, yet many have never fully lived outside of academia. How the fuck would they know what it is to suffer? To taste the bitterness of war, or digest the reality of living as a financially challenged single mother on the fringe of a nervous breakdown ’cause society tosses her out with the left overs? They can’t and they don’t.

But they keep writing as the authority on it. As if they are entitled to assume.

I like the bold, nutty flavor of a person unapologetic to get their hands dirty as they explore the world first hand.

I was still thinking of my celebrity chef shows on the Food Network and the Travel channel.

Did I sound like Anthony Bourdain? He was my favorite. RIP Tony.

I doubt it. Nobody wrote like Tony Bourdain. He was more of a positive psychology practitioner than any other researcher I’ve ever met.

Anthony Bourdain ~ we lost one of the greatest essayists/storytellers/fuckery-maker of all time.

To be fair to the Ivy’s and their snowy white pure research/theory/writing ~they DID in fact change the way we talk about the world. Was it enough? Not really. It, like everything else before it, took on a dark side.

Unless you were in war for two or three duties ~ please don’t try to convince me that you have any notion of how to create grit for soldiers based on a theory. Get a person who went to hell and back, then wrote about it.

We learn more from literature than carefully measured psychology when it comes to the hard lives our fellow humans go through.

Greed seeped in through the floor boards. The Ivy is poison in some cases. It’s a glorious luxury item in others.

What I wouldn’t give to absorb a lecture from a Harvard professor or ask them questions without being puffed at by some of the folks I used to work with.

We are in fact all equals in measure. It’s just that, not everyone can bake a cake like a master baker. I also acknowledge that.

Life is art. Teaching, and learning are an art form.

Education, like every other product out there, is selling us something.

As consumers worthy of truth, we should be asking a lot more questions.

I don’t think of education as a consumer market as much as an investment market.

Charlotte Louise Foster.
Tiny dancer in residence @InkHoneyPub

The education machine lured me in & SOB, I have to own all of it.

Higher Education is very very important. I fully believe that without a college education, we will continue to go down the slippery slope of uneducated, ill informed, narrow minded opinion pushers.

Higher Ed. teaches critical thinking, emotional intelligence, while broadening one’s mind to a new way to look at the world at large. That’s where the final stages of the frontal lobe finish forming.

Sure, some of it is dumb ~ unnecessary ~ rediculous ~ and unnecessarily wasting valuable student dollars. Overall? I’m for it.

Yes, I know they hate it when we call it a product.

They hate that concept that education is also a money-making industry.

Sorry. Not sorry. It is big business.

My second daughter was offered an $85,000 scholarship to attend a 4-year school. Sounds amazing right? Wrong. That was over Four-years ~ the total tab for that BACHELOR’s degree was $250,000.

A quarter of a million dollars for a BS?


Reform anyone? Can anyone hear kids everywhere screaming? Reform the system so they too can even think about getting an education?

Why else would little pop up colleges be all over the place? Why else would the online universities be popping out graduate degrees, making billions … many many billions of dollars.

And, why else would our student loan debt be crushing us into the ground.

Know what it’s actually doing?

It’s forcing our next generations to think outside the box when it comes to education and learning. They are starting businesses in high school. They are becoming celebrity YouTubers in their 20’s. They are leveraging their talents and skills to earn as they learn.

They are using social media to craft a life that we, the boomers, aren’t paying enough attention to.

We need to be seen. We need to stay relevant. We need to boast about heading back to nature, but ironically, we also post bundles of pictures of ourselves IN nature to prove that we were there.

An entire industry popped up around creating envy, desire, greed, and this ‘savoring’ ~ just ask the celebrity chef’s or, Emily in Paris. [Netflix]

Narcissism is on the rise. Or, are we all creating the ugly side of humanity for … faux connections; pretend likes or maybe it’s … a deep need to know that we are seen in the world.

People are developing higher levels of anxiety, depression and even PTSD because violence is also on the rise.


What do we do about it.

Stop kvetching about stuff that doesn’t actually matter to our lives. That’s one way to make ourselves happy.

When society puts out puffy fluffy content, we can appreciate it for what it’s worth. We don’t have to “dislike” things. Unless they offend us so deeply, we need to talk about it.


We are being invited by the universe to change the identity of the paradigm of so many things ~ how we are seen ~ how we see ~ how we learn and how we live in the world.

We are being challenged to head into the parts unknown that will change us for ever more. To explore the world for ourselves is more enticing but do we HAVE to be out there, on social media, being seen in all our raw experiences?

Here’s to the journey along with all the mountains we’re being asked to climb at the moment.

In peace and savoring,

(c) @happinessnoir @inkhoneypub @K.ArenHenryMiller ~ a writer’s journey

Published by happinessnoir

Writer | Advocate | Free Range Female | Change Agent | Essayist

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