The consolations of pessimism

We have tended to cast such gloomy messages aside. The modern bourgeois philosophy pins its hopes firmly on two great presumed ingredients of happiness: love and work (more specifically, a healthy bonus). But a vast unthinking cruelty lies discreetly coiled within this magnanimous assurance that everyone will discover satisfaction here. It isn’t that love and work are invariably incapable of delivering fulfillment—only that they almost never do for too long. And when an exception is misrepresented as a rule, our individual misfortunes, instead of seeming inevitable, weigh down on us like curses. In denying the natural place reserved in the human lot for longing and disaster, this philosophy denies us the possibility of collective consolation for our fractious marriages, our unexploited ambitions, and our exploded portfolios, and condemns us instead to solitary feelings of shame and persecution for having stubbornly failed to make more of ourselves.