I don’t think this article or comments are very fair. I do not think we live in a culture of mandated happiness. We do partially, but we also live in a culture of victims. We also have a fetish with unhappiness in our contemporary culture. We have evolved gruadally from being community-oriented beings to being very individualistic beings. This causes al sorts of effects. One of them is that people feel less safe, and less comforted. The essence of humans in the early ages of our existence has always been community. Look at how tribes live. Now we are more and more focused on personal accomplishments. That creates all sorts of changes, and turmoil. One of them is that people feel more anxious, insecure, pressured. Another is that we are desperately looking for an identity. This can also create an overidentification with one’s own sadness and sedbacks. And like Zygmunt Bauman said indiviualisation is a defensive-mechanism to our fast-changing culture. Sadness and fear is human, but our modern experience with it is cause by sociological changes. So many people are dissatified with their existence. Both because the way humans always have lived is falling apart (community, nature, spiritual practice,…) and is being replaced by a relentless belief in progress and self-realization. But also because we cling to our sadness for identification. Nobody knows what this constant progress will bring and this causes fear. Being this unsatisfied like a lot of people are is not the human condition. So it is also a normal human reaction to look for positivity. Just like sadness is a normal human reaction to live events, so is the need for positivity/hope, positive social encouters. Nowaday we are just bombarded with negative news, with negative encouters. Gwendolyn Brooks said “one reason why cats are happier than people is that they don’t have newspapers.” We hear about the destruction of the environment, we here about war, we hear about animal abuse, we hear about civil rights abuse, we hear about disease,… That is a lot to bear for a person with empathic abilities. Also we are surrounded by concrete. Our most fundamental need for community is not there. So how can we as humans with a strong need for hope and postivity get that feeling? So many people do not feel well these days, so if you should listen to everyones pain one would have to hear misery constantly on top of the worldwide misery. Very few people are saints. Secondly, so many people who spill there misery on you are capable of providing care back to you. I have met so many people who just drop all there shit on you without giving anything back. There are so just occupied with theirselves. (the indivualisation-the defense mechanism) It is a viscious circle. I have had so many negative people in my life who are only occupied with themselves. After a while you feel so completely drained. I am a human and I have a basic need for the positive, I have a basic need for reciprocity. I try very hard to find meaning in this world. Otherwise I start feeling like killing myself. I have been really critical of the consumer culture, which indeed is also active in human relationships nowadays. However, I came to notice that you also have to protect yourself. Sadly, I cannot be a saint. Some people can and I admire them. Some people just expect everything to go right in life and today this is even more the case. We cannot expect to use people as our garbage bin for our own negativity. However, I have met many people how behave like that. We should support each other in a mutual way. Listening to each other and trying to find a silverlining in life. We crave connectedness so much. If we want to decrease suicide we have to get back to the basics. Nature, community, manual work, … The connection between civilization, modernity and alienation and depression have been documented and discussed by many anthropologists and sociologists and other thinkers. Anyway the point I want to make is that the need for happiness is a basic human need and that we are nowadays subjected to so much negativity on so many levels. There is nothing natural or human about it. There is a darker side to life, but there is also a brighter side to life and to be able to live is a balancing work between the two sides. The way humans have lived for thousand of years tells us something about our needs and human nature. Why are suicide rates increasing? Why were suicides rates so small in certain communities in the past ? Mandated happiness is not the cause. Mandated happiness (if it exists) is just like individualism a defense-mechanism and not the cause of the increasing suicide rate. The cause is more likely the increasing negativity, the constant progress and change, the lack of nature/the environmental destruction, the decreasing sense of community and therefor security,… So express yourself to your friends and family, but also let them express themselves to you.