enjoyment of life

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Pure joy of life of a child

Joy of life is the subjective feeling of joy in one's own life. In the literature, the term is often combined with other positive attributes that are worth striving for, such as self-confidence , vitality, optimism , creativity and happiness . Joy of life is described as the opposite of anhedonia and depression , or as what people strive for if they want to overcome their own depression.

Epicurean joie de vivre

The Greek philosopher Epicurus (* around 341 BC on Samos, † around 270 BC in Athens) described the joy of life in his consideration of the pleasure-displeasure principle. In his opinion, fear , pain and desire must be overcome in order to achieve joy in life. He sees independence from the outside as a great good, not in order to be content with the little in every situation, but in order to get along with it when most is not available. So that bread and water can give the greatest pleasure if you eat them when you are hungry. According to Epicurus, in order to enable joie de vivre, the basic needs for food, drink and protection from the cold must be guaranteed, everything else he describes as luxury needs that one can do without in case of doubt. Luxury needs (in the sense of need generation through demand-awakening economy) are based on “empty opinion” and can result in harmful dependencies .

Joy of life and economy

The economist Tibor de Scitovsky devoted himself in particular to the relationship between the joy of life and consumption . In 1976 he combined the development of increasing consumption without a correspondingly increasing satisfaction of people in affluent societies with the term joyless economy (joyless economy). Scitovsky tried to clarify the concept of the “quality” of life, referring in particular to art as an example of goals that people fulfill. In his book The Joyless Economy , he criticized modern values ​​and the modern economy. He advised investing money in "amusements" that are not perishable or that generate lasting memories, such as: B. in joint activities with family and friends. No money should be wasted on ephemeral "comfort". People quickly lose the joy of objects that they have acquired because of their novelty and unspentness, and often after the act of buying they regret having followed the seduction of the buying experience.

See also


  • Martin Euringer Epicurus. Ancient joie de vivre in the present. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-17-017957-8 .
  • Peter Hersche: Serenity and zest for life. What we can learn from the baroque. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2011, ISBN 978-3-451-30403-3 .
  • Francois Lelord: Hector's Journey or the Search for Happiness. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2006, ISBN 3-492-24828-4 .
    • French original edition: Le Voyage d'Hector - ou La recherche de bonheur. Jacob, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-7381-1397-4 .
  • Ulrike Pramendorfer: voice, language, joie de vivre. 4th edition. Trauner, Linz 2006, ISBN 3-85499-000-6 .
  • Tibor Scitovsky : The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1976/1992, ISBN 0-19-507347-9 . (Translated into German by Gerti von Rabenau: Psychology of Prosperity: People's Needs and Consumer's Needs. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York, NY 1977, ISBN 3-593-32210-2 ).
  • Ulla Sebastian principle of joie de vivre. Guide to Developing a Positive Self. Walter, Düsseldorf 2000, ISBN 3-530-40104-8 .
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca: De vita beata / From the happy life. Reclam, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-001849-1 . (Latin / German, translated by Fritz-Heiner Mutschler).

Web links

Wiktionary: Joy of life  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gabriele Pitschel-Walz, Gabriele Pitschel-Walz: regain joie de vivre. Guide for people with depression and their relatives. Verlag Urban & Fischer bei Elsevier, 2003, ISBN 3-437-56440-4 .
  2. Stanley E. Strauzenberg: Healthy and joyful into old age. 1st edition. Verlag Edition Sächsische Zeitung, 2006, ISBN 3-938325-25-9 .
  3. Hildegund Fischle-Carl , Marina Fischle-Lokstein, Hildegund Fischle-Carl: Self-confident and cheerful. Psychology for an easier everyday life. Herder Verlag, Freiburg 1994, ISBN 3-451-23123-9 .
  4. Letters to Menoikeus. cited in Nickel 2005, pp. 119f.
  5. T. Scitovsky: The joyless economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1976, ISBN 0-19-507347-9 .