Will the hunt for money bring me luck

The hunt for happiness

Who had the idea of ​​having Dieter Althaus of all people open the 15th Philosophicum with a so-called "keynote speech"? This unlucky fellow! Dieter Althaus, the former Prime Minister of Thuringia who had a serious skiing accident in Austria in 2009, the politician who comes from the federal state that brings up the rear in the recently published German Fortune Atlas, he should tell something about happiness.

Cynicism? No, Dieter Althaus gave his speech as a sponsor, after all he is now "Vice President Governmental Affairs" at a large automotive supplier, which subsidizes the Vorarlberg Philosophicum. Perhaps, as a manager, he is now devoting himself to what is being propagated today as the "economics of happiness". In view of "happiness lessons" in schools, happiness research at universities and many bestsellers on the subject of happiness, the Erfurt philosopher Wilhelm Schmid speaks of rampant "happiness hysteria". The 58-year-old worked for a long time as a philosophical pastor in a Swiss hospital and there he saw how much the happiness doctrine has become established.

"What actually happens to the people who are unhappy and who notice that the whole of society is only discussing happiness? Can you imagine how these people feel? I got an impression while working in the hospital, because there are me met a lot of people who are unhappy and say: Yes, but everyone else is happy! And you have to be happy in life. The happiness discourse has meanwhile acquired a normative meaning, ie to paint people a norm on the horizon: You have to be happy, otherwise your life is not really worth it, you can actually go away voluntarily. Part of the happiness discourse today is antisocial, to put it very hard, it no longer cares about the part of society that is unhappy and lives in unhappiness. "

Schmid advocated a right to melancholy and discussed the fact that depression is becoming more and more of a widespread disease, especially in affluent societies. Once again, the Viennese philosopher Konrad Paul Liessmann was invited to the mental hunt for happiness in the mountains of Lech, and when the weather was beautiful, he took up the darkest topics:

"To this day, one thought that only Friedrich Nietzsche dared to utter seems unbearable to us: That there could be happiness for the bad. As long as we want to think happiness and morality together, this thought will have to irritate us. That the big and small criminals are not only happy, but, horribile dictu, are possibly happier than the virtuous. That is deeply contrary to our ideas. You can check it out for yourself immediately: Can we look at the rapists and child molesters, the mass murderers and serial killers, the racists and deceivers and exploiters, the greedy, the Really imagine violent criminals as happy people? "

The Feldkirch psychiatrist Reinhard Haller answered this question clearly - with yes. He pointed out that every crime is a search for happiness and referred to the bliss of Anders Behring Breivik, who was reflected in his smiling face after his massacre in Oslo and Utøya.

"With many criminals - and for them the luck of evil undoubtedly applies - there is still something else, and that is the exercise of power. For severely narcissistic people, the motive for their actions is not the gain in sexual pleasure, not even in the gain in material pleasure, it lies therein To dominate others, to rule over them, to be able to be godlike, so to speak, to rule over life and death, to indulge in their fear and thereby to stand out from everyday life, that means they do not seek happiness in such a way that they strive for something special, but rather that they depress everyone else and stand out as unique themselves. "

The Norwegian assassin - a "quiet, gloomy, evil person", to put it in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche - and, as unbelievable as it sounds, a happy one too. One of the many findings of this interdisciplinary symposium.