Is Good Mental Health About Learning to Live Better with Fewer Resources?


An op-ed in The Advertiser begins with a quote from Carl Jung: “The foundation of mental illness is our unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.” Vic Hummert then asks, in a world of diminishing resources, is our mental health going to become increasingly dependent on our ability to adapt to living with less?

“Over a decade of encountering Hong Kong squatters who lived without conveniences we take for granted, I was struck by the spiritual resilience of deprived, impoverished people in comparison with the exasperation of privileged people (like me),” writes Hummert. “Jung’s observation on mental illness alludes to where we might be heading in a small, exhausted world of diminishing resources as advertisers urge all to have the most comfortable lifestyle… How will children remain mentally stable without the latest smartphone or smart watch; how will adults stay sane without luxurious homes in the suburbs?”

Basic human rights and their relation to mental health (The Advertiser, September 19, 2014)


  1. Sure. Take drapetomania – some slaves had difficulty to adjust to “legitimate suffering”. Had they have therapy they surely would have accepted it and live better lives as slaves, right?
    The whole idea is insulting and arrogant. Especially when perpetuated by people who live comfortably enough.

    Btw, it’s not the objective standard of living that causes people to feel worse or better about their lives but the amount of inequality between them and others. It’s a well known sociological phenomenon known also as the need for social justice. A completely insane idea of course.

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