In our era, the idea that we should
lead happy, balanced lives carries the force of an
obligation: We are supposed to push aside our anxieties in order to enjoy our
lives, attain peace of mind, and maximize our productivity. The cult of “positive
thinking” even assures us that we can bring good things into our lives just by thinking about them…

There is something quite hollow about the ideal a life unruffled
by anxiety. It’s why I think that underneath our quest for vibrant health lurks a tragic kind of
discreet death: the demise of everything that is eccentric and messy about human life. Our society sells us the quick fix:

If you get a cold, take some decongestants; if you get depressed, take some antidepressants; and if you get
anxious, take those tranquilizers. But what are we supposed to take when we lose our character?”

From the Chronicle of Higher Education at: