Happiness In Charles Siebert's An Elephant Crackup

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Joy is contagious. However, the definition of happiness varies between each culture. “The Mega-Marketing of Depression in Japan,” Ethan Watters analyzes the concept of depression and methods of treating it in Japan. Ironically, in “Wisdom,” by Robert Thurman, he argues that what the West views as depression in the East is actually happiness. In order to change these cultural beliefs, the Western civilization is putting the Eastern civilization through depression, much like it does the elephants. In Charles Siebert’s “An Elephant Crackup?” Siebert analyzes the reason for animal distress, leading it to humans. While the Buddhists view happiness as external, Western civilizations view it as internal while animals view it as a mixture of both…show more content…
The “Western psychology helps somebody who feels they are nobody become somebody,” and thus it is centered on one’s own self and accomplishments (Thurman 442). The Western civilization focuses happiness as depended on the individual and independent of all other factors, such as the environment or other people. Thus happiness is obtained from meeting certain desires and traits that can help one recognize himself or herself to find the preferred personality. American definition of depression depends on terms like “loneliness, sadness, ” while Japanese terms depended on terms such as “rain, dark” (Watters 521). Through this it is evident that the Japanese view of depression is affected by external stimuli while American’s view it as affected by an internal stimulus. The varying definitions of depression are due to the varying definitions of happiness. For Japanese people, happiness is dependent on the outside world and thus depression would be dependent on it as well. However, since the Western definition of happiness is dependent on pursuit of finding oneself and one’s own feelings and goals, the definition of depression also depends on that. According to the Western philosophy, the outside world is separate from the self. Depression is a result of not meeting a desired goal, which for Japanese would be not being selfless while for Americans it would be being…show more content…
Thus, like GlaxoSmithKline in Japan, their definition of happiness is treated like depressions, which give the Western civilization the incorrect understanding of the Japanese culture and therefore leading to wrong treatments. However, it is important to remember that cultures have different definitions of certain terms due to their cultural beliefs, which have been affected by the culture’s history and religion. The Japanese form of happiness is dependent on others and not being able to find oneself, while the Western form is dependent on ones’ own self. Due to such distinctions, the Western civilizations view the Japanese form of happiness as depression. Watters states “Typus melancholicus mirrored a particularly respected personality style in Japan: those who were serious, diligent, and thoughtful and expressed great concern for the welfare of other individuals and the society as a whole” (520). While these types of people were considered happy in Japan, they were viewed as depressed in the West. When GlaxoSmithKline thought they were treating depression in Japan, they were instead creating depression. In Japan, the company was promoting the idea that depression was dependent on internal imbalance and caused by not giving enough attention to oneself. However, for Japanese, depression was dependent on giving too much attention to oneself and external

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