In response to several surveys that attempt to quantify happiness, Ryan, Adam, and Aneil spend this episode of This Anthro Life exploring happiness through the lens of fetishism. They discuss Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, the film Happy, and more! They seek to answer the following questions: What kinds of things make us happy? How does happiness inhere in objects and how do we use objects to display our happiness? They end on a positive note by concluding that we have control over our happiness and suggesting a happy community may be a key part of being happy.
In the episode we use the term fetish, made famous by Sigmund Freud, to mean something that points to something else. It masks what is there (I.e. a statue of a deity that seems to be what people are worshipping, but it is just a material thing that is pointing to the deity). It can be any material type of the thing that points towards an abstract idea.