Monday, June 06, 2016

Joy Alert

Things like Marie Kondo’s book about owning only items that ‘spark joy’ and articles like “Arrange Your Morning around Tasks that Bring You Joy” make it seem like joy is some kind of everyday commodity, within reach just by a trick of organization. 

That’s not joy. That’s what the marketing department and the cereal packaging designers are telling you to sell books and smart phone apps and Coca-Cola. 

Beware of products that promise you joy. It isn’t something you buy or pencil into your schedule. 

Joy is a mystery. Joy is a very welcome but unexpected guest. Joy is going to surprise you when you didn’t make careful plans for it.

Joy is exaltation. Joy is overwhelming, discombobulating happiness. Joy is emotional and/or spiritual. It isn’t a glutton, a hoarder or a hedonist. It does not appear on the menu. 

Joy is not a voluptuous blouse or a silk tie or an almond chocolate bar. Those might be a pleasure. They might give you satisfaction, even deep satisfaction, but they will not exalt you. Joy is of another order. 

Here’s a goofy listicle hellbent on debasing joy at your expense: “100 Things That Can Bring You Joy.” Among the supposedly joyous activities here are things like Go Shopping, Have More Sex Than Your Friends, Organize Your Bedroom, Eat More Steak, and Make a Gigantic To-do List.

If Starbucks brings you joy every morning, what word are you going to reach for when your underappreciated, much-beloved, deserving daughter against all odds wins an award for bravery? I feel sorry for you if you group these two things in the same category: joy.  

It is exaggeration that cheapens value.


alphabet soup said...

Yes. Yes. Yes to your post. The two women watching the sappy movie don't look over-joyed to me....

Ms Soup

mittens said...

I read most of the suggestions, and noticed that the links all go somewhere else, probably to get you to buy stuff. And many of those suggestions are basically showing off to your friends in a strange game of belt notches (having more sex than your friends? really? Let's make them all envious and miserable, too...) and one upsmanship. Go spend money in a fancy store, max out your credit card. Now that may bring joy to a sales clerk on commission, but...

and I must admit, eating broccoli, while making me into a veggie warrior, does not fill me with joy. Only with broccoli.

In looking at it with my jaded eye, it seems to be a manufactured site along the lines of "eat raisins to lose belly fat!" places.

jasmine jasmine said...

Good to read your writing again Sarah.
I hate these oversimplified lists '5 steps to a flatter stomach/ God/ more productive mornings etc in the same vein.

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