Happiness Order And Happiness Disorder

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The concept of happiness "disorder" is one that is rarely discussed in the emotion literature. Perhaps it is because, in Western society, we are more tolerant of variations and extremes within the parameters, both cognitive and physiological, that define a particular individual's positive emotions, and are thus less likely to "label" the emotion as disordered in comparison to the case of extreme variants of negative emotions such as anger, fear, or sadness. In other non-Western cultures happiness or joy are regarded as far less socially acceptable than in the West. For example, the Ifaluk, whom we discussed in Chapter 7, equate happiness with a tendency for the individual to disregard others and the needs of the social group. For the Ifaluk, then, happiness is a negative emotion, whereas sadness is encouraged as a positive emotional state. Despite the paucity of discussion in the literature on abnormal happiness, we propose that extreme variations in the cognitive or physiological parameters that contribute to the emotion of happiness may be usefully conceptualised as types of "happiness disorder". It is these varieties of happiness disorder that we discuss in the present section, and again the aim is to provide some pointers rather than any comprehensive analysis.

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