Friday, April 23, 2010

Anna Karenina and Privatization of Misery

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Jared Diamond arrives at his principle of domestication of animals (Anna Karenina Principle) by alluding to what Tolstoy said in his "Anna Karenina." But Diamond may be ignoring a very existential core of what Tolstoy said. What Tolstoy is saying is the "delusion" of being uniquely alone or being "self" in one's misery. Pain is very uniquely personal. t is privatized. In a way, pain is "I." Happiness is not something to do with "I." The statement "I am happy" is rather superficial, because when one is happy, one does not worry about if he himself or someone else is happy.
Happiness is universal. Tolstoy is basically transplanting Buddhist existentialism into Christianity. Rightfully, therefore, he was excommunicated from the Orthdox Church. Suffering (unsatisfactoriness) is universal which is characterized by the delusion of personal suffering. Anna Karenina's misery is universal. The tragedy arises because of attributing such universality to uniquely personal self.

This way of looking at Anna Karenia opens a new perspective on current controvesry of health care reform.

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