CHR Fellow Ali Ridha Khan invited to write the Editors’ Note for ODD Magazine’s December 2021 issue on Joy.
When asked to write about the subject of Joy I first had to ask how joy distinguishes itself from happiness? For happiness is my subject of interest, or rather political happiness, as I’ve come to call it. Much can be said about how joy distinguishes itself from pleasure too, how happiness is different from pleasure, and how each are neither polarizing concepts nor have a polar opposite.
For now, I will focus only on the distinction between happiness and joy. Within the domain of emotion and affect, happiness has carried many meanings to scholars and thinkers alike. Joy, or the image of joy, at least through a literary contribution, that permeates my mind is that of the Dalai Lamas’ Book of Joy – for many years it has served as a faceplate to start to consider joy distinguished from happiness. I intend to use this editorial note to comment on what joy means, to ask what joy looks like and why it means more than happiness, that the pursuit of the commons is the pursuit of joy rather than the pursuit of happiness.