Episode: BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021
Extract: What do you want from life? You’ve probably had the opportunity and the cause to ask yourself that question recently. Perhaps you want to spend more time with your family, or get a more fulfilling and secure job, or improve your health. But why do you want those things?
Chances are that your answer will come down to one thing: happiness.
“Happiness is not an emotional state so much as it is the excellence of the relations we cultivate with other people.”
“A life with loving attachments has been shown to be linked to happiness but it can also cause us great pain.”
Like the two quotes above, is life too a bed of contradictions?
Extract: When the pandemic shuttered city centres, he says, it showed how important social links are – but through a different prism. “Many people never visited shops close to their homes before because they were busy. They didn’t know their neighbours or the parks nearby. The pandemic made us discover this. We have rediscovered locality, and this has improved quality of life.”
The two-month lockdown that began confined her to a 1km radius of her home gave her a nuanced, enriching view of her neighbourhood. “I discovered it’s possible to feel like you’re in a small village in Paris,” she says.
“To get to know your neighbours, to maintain good links with shopkeepers, to favour local craftsmen and shops over large supermarkets. I even joined a citizens’ movement where people prepare food baskets for homeless people. I thought I would have a hard time living the lockdown, but I was perfectly at home, in a quiet place.”
“We know sometimes large cities can be tiring and can create a sense of anonymity,”
“Unexpectedly, this experience strengthened the bonds I had with some people. It led me to criss-cross the small streets of my district more than usual and thus to discover magnificent places just a stone’s throw from my home.”
The ‘15-minute city. The concept is to improve the quality of life by creating cities where everything a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike. The 15-minute city requires minimal travel among housing, offices, restaurants, parks, hospitals, and cultural venues. Each neighbourhood should fulfil six social functions: living, working, supplying, caring, learning, and enjoying.
Extract: In Japan, you can pay private agents called ‘wakaresaseya’ to seduce your spouse or their partner.
Hiring a wakaresaseya helps you avoid confrontation. It’s a way in the short term of resolving a difficult situation without conflict. There’s a market for everything in Japan. This includes a variety of relationship-based services like renting faux family members. There are additional services offered by wakaresaseya firms, such as assistance with romantic reconciliation, separating a child from an unsuitable girlfriend or boyfriend, or preventing revenge porn.
The continuing existence of the wakaresaseya industry suggests that money and deception may be uncomfortably threaded into relationships more often than people recognise.
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Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series. BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021