Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés

Aged 15, in RE class at school, our teacher asked whether we considered the world to be primarily friendly, or unfriendly. The class split roughly into friendly and unfriendly camps. When the teacher asked me what I thought, I remember saying “neither“, and that the world largely was “indifferent“.

I’ve always had that view. As the old pop song puts it:

Don’t tell me your troubles
I got troubles of my own

The mass of people primarily are focussed on themselves. They barely notice you. Even when they do, their attentions are fleeting, shallow, and invariably lightly-informed.

So the vulgar modern urge to take photographs of your own face and post them online, while earnestly banging on about whatever personal issue you may or may not be having, always struck me as illogical, and futile, stemming as it does from both a vast over-estimation of: (i) one’s true significance in most people’s lives; and (ii) the acuity of any advice they might offer.

Essentially, I consider that therapy is a waste of time. Faced with a personal dilemma, go for a walk by yourself, write down your options in private, sleep on it, then act. End of. You sort out your own stuff, and you should seek to bring fun to others, not intractable problems.

This is not a popular attitude nowadays:

I know from my own healing journey that silence has been the least effective remedy,”

– Prince Harry.

There’s no escape, folks. Harry is a product of his insecure and over-sharing times, and he is convinced that, when in doubt, letting it all hang out is always the best policy. Like half the world nowadays, I’m not sure that Harry has any clear concept of privacy.

(And, frankly, if you ever hear of anyone speaking about their “journey“, reach for your gun.)

The contrast with his late grandfather, Philip, is instructive – from a Daily Express article::

That said, I know from someone close to him that he thought Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was ‘madness‘ and ‘no good would come of it’.

What did worry him was the couple’s preoccupation with their own problems and their willingness to talk about them in public.Give TV interviews, by all means,’ he said, ‘but don’t talk about yourself.’

He told me more than once: ‘It’s a big mistake to think about yourself. No one is interested in you in the long run. Don’t court popularity. It doesn’t last. Remember that the attention comes because of the position you are privileged to hold, not because of who you are. If you think it’s all about you, you’ll never be happy.’

As the French say, “pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés“. (To live happily, live hidden.)

Even if you do so in plain sight.

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