Existentialism: sour grapes for smart people


Existentialism is envy and sour grapes for smart people.

SAD FACT: There are people who love their vocation and who look forward to getting up in the morning. There are people in love with their bad faith, who meld blissfully with their constructed identities, and who love their lives. They love their invented relationships, their invented stories, and the series of temporary invented self-identities.

“It’s fake happiness!” we (existentialists) say. “The true self is freedom. All meaning-making is story-telling. Identities are fabrications. And an established daily routine is bad faith.”

That all may be true. Yet it still does not follow that the story-less and identity-less way is best. To be a story-less center of wise negation (to be an Arhat?) may be authentic, but is it livable?

Here are some articles showing that we hate other peoples’ happiness:

Boyce, C. J., Brown, G. & Moore, S. (2010). Money and Happiness: Rank of Income, Not Income, Affects Life Satisfaction. Psychological Science, Vol. 21, No. 4, 471-75.

Happiness comes from differential social status.

Firebaugh, G. & Schroeder, M. (2009). Does Your Neighbor’s Income Affect Your Happiness?. American Journal of Sociology, 115 (3), 805-831.

People are happier when they live among the poor, as long as the poor do not live too close.

Haushofer, J., Reisinger, J. & Shapiro, J. (2015). Your Gain Is My Pain: Negative Psychological Externalities of Cash Transfers.

Happier neighbors strongly decreases life satisfaction.