Scandinavian Happiness

Sofia Helin

Reading Sofia Helin’s thoughtful interview in the Guardian this morning, I am disappointed to hear that Scandinavian happiness is “more a matter of class whether you can afford to take time to take care of yourself”.

Sofia Helin
By Sofia_Helin_2012: Gus Kaage, Film i Väst.derivative work: Elinnea – This file was derived from  Sofia Helin 2012.jpg:, CC BY 3.0,

I am really not too sure about the “class” aspect but you have to be correct on the “afford”. We humans need some basic level of material comfort to be “happy” although of course this is not of itself bound to result in “happiness”.

In my ignorance when I watch the many excellent Scandinavian dramas available on Netflix or the BBC, I always work on the naive assumption that the world of smorgasbord is a happy socialist paradise. Rather like The Culture but without the Minds. I am disappointed to hear that it is not.

Happiness or its lack is, currently, part of the human condition for most of us. Perhaps all of us. There are so many things we need to put right but my belief is that in the end “all will be well and all manner of things will be well” to quote Julian of Norwich.

No amount of thought or cathartic writing or goodliness will save us. In the end, I fear, the worst and most serious aspects of melancholy have to be a medical affair. And on that front I believe eventually suffering will be abolished.

I am sorry I can not share your faith in a god. But perhaps eventually my faith in human ingenuity and an eventual triumph of “good” over “bad” will come to amount to the same thing.

An enjoyable and thoughtful interview. Thank you.

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