Happiness Csars & HBR editors

March 15, 2009

nero and fiddle.pngReaders may remember my concerns about the focus on symptom management implicit in the UK governments seemingly blind adoption of CBT out of the many talking therapies that exist. Mind you are government that can contemplate the appointment of a happiness czar and then give the post to an economist are probably themselves in need of therapy. There are a couple of excellent  letters in the Observer today (the size 6 shoe is especially good). Now I am no advocate of personal self interest as my three month ban from direct editing of the Ayn Rand article on WIkipedia testifies. I think government has a role to play, but that role is not to massage the symptoms of a wider set of problems with one simplistic and cult like solution.

Mind you this desire for the simplistic seems to be an excuse for thinking. Mary Boone and I are encountering a problem with some (my emphasis) editors of the HBR who thought our last article was too theoretical (Isn’t Harvard meant to be a major centre for learning?) and seem to only want material with a few quick 1,2,3 step recipes using the familiar in the face of the unusual. This despite facing a series of problems that require a paradigm shift in the way we think and conceive the world let along create meaning. It is very similar to the CBT issue, wanting something really simple that avoids having to address difficult and substantial issues.

In both cases it’s rather like a conclave of dinosaurs sitting down in the wreckage of their world post impact, demanding more simple articles on dental hygiene to cope with the fur of these strange new things, the early mammals. Or if you want another illustration, playing that old familiar fiddle while the world burns down around you.

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