Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Satisfaction Not GuaranteedDilemmas of Progress in Modern Society$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter N. Stearns

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783627

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Being Cheerful and Modern

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Satisfaction Not Guaranteed
Author(s):

Peter N. Stearns

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.003.0001

This introductory chapter ponders on the optimistic notions of modernity posited throughout history, noting that while in some ways these predictions have been accurate modernity has seemed to fail in its promise of promoting happiness and contentment. As a matter of fact, the innovations and conveniences that modernity offers have brought forth new complications. By the twenty-first century, modern life has generated an almost frenzied sense of compulsions—to keep up with consumer standards, to maintain a vigorous pace of work, to keep track of often overscheduled kids. Modernity itself tends to distract from contemplation, replacing it with a barely concealed impatience or fear of boredom (two relatively recent products—boredom as an identified state is only a bit over two centuries old—that are not the most attractive products of the modern condition). An examination of what a meaningful life entails, therefore, becomes worthy of study in this light.

Keywords:   modernity, history, twenty-first century, happiness, contentment, meaningful life

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.